Elrich hoping for happy homecoming


On Friday night the Reds will take to the field in an area that defender Tarek Elrich knows all too well.

On Friday night the Reds will take to the field in an area that defender Tarek Elrich knows all too well.

Born and raised in Sydney-s western suburbs, Elrich was one of the faces of the Western Sydney Wanderers when the club was born prior to last season.

It all made sense – a talented footballer with years of experience under his belt after a long stint at the Newcastle Jets, but just as importantly a local with Lebanese heritage who the people of western Sydney could associate with and call their own.

As proud as he was to play for a team that represented his region, after 11 games with the Wanderers in the club-s remarkable inaugural campaign which saw it claim the Premiers Plate, 26 year old Elrich decided to pack up and make the move to Adelaide.

Now he is preparing to grace Parramatta Stadium (or Pirtek Stadium as it is now known) for the first time since departing Wanderland, and he can-t wait for it.

“It-s my first game against my old club there and there is no bigger team to play against than Western Sydney – great fans, a great style of football, and with what we-re trying to achieve here as a football club I think it will be a good hit out,” Elrich said from the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, where he was visiting some of the kids at the wards with a number of his team mates.

“I get nervous before every game, but it-s good nerves. That-s why we play sport, to play against the best teams in the league and against teams you-ve played for in the past, so for me it-s another game, I-ll make sure I do what I-m here to do and stick to the game plan.”

“I-m looking forward to it, back playing in front of my friends and family for Adelaide United.

It was widely heralded in the media that Wanderers fans changed the sporting landscape last season as they constantly packed out their home ground and created an atmosphere rarely seen in national sporting competitions in Australia.

Elrich knows exactly what this atmosphere is like and how intimidating it can be for opposition teams, but he is confident his Reds team mates will not be daunted by the reception.

“It-s a part of football. Being at home you-ve got your home supporters but obviously when you-re away you expect them to follow their team,” Elrich said.

“When I was there last season their fans were amazing – very loud, very vocal, and very passionate about football.

“It-s a great atmosphere. Even when we played them in pre season there were 8,000 people at the game and it was a great atmosphere, so I can just imagine a packed Parramatta Stadium on Friday night.”

Kick-Off is at 7pm Adelaide time and you can see it LIVE on Fox Sports 1 and SBS 2.