Kitto welcomes introduction of ‘Unite Round’

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Adelaide United captain Ryan Kitto has welcomed the introduction of the A-Leagues’ new “Unite Round”, which will see all men’s and women’s played in Sydney across a single weekend.

The ‘Unite Round’ is being introduced for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons, as the APL’s partnership with Destination NSW enters its second year.

As part of the updated partnership, the hosting rights for the Grand Finals will revert to the traditional format with hosting rights awarded to the highest placed qualifier from the Semi Finals, starting this season.

The extra game will see Adelaide’s Isuzu UTE A-League side take on Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on the night of Saturday 13 January, with the club’s Round 12 match against Macarthur at Coopers Stadium being shifted to Monday 8 January to accommodate the new round.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Kitto said the move was good for players and supporters.

The captain also discussed the build-up to the season opener against Central Coast on Friday night, and the club’s work improving its defence in the off-season.

Ryan Kitto on the Unite Round and change to the Grand Final hosting rights:

“Hopefully everyone’s had a chance to see the 20-year documentary that’s come out by Adelaide United. I think if you watch that, and you see Adelaide Oval in 2016, and what it brought to the state, but also what it brought to the game. Now to have that opportunity again, I think it’s only a positive thing.

“You know, obviously, they tried something (with the Grand Final hosting rights) and now we’ve gone back to what we know the fans wanted, and the game is for the fans. Now everyone has the opportunity to earn the right to host the Grand Final.  

“(The Unite Round) is also exciting – more games for us. Another great opportunity. I think we’ve seen across other codes, how it’s been successful. So I’m really excited for the group.”

Ryan Kitto on the build-up to Round One on Friday night:

“First and foremost, it’s been a long preseason. But we definitely feel prepared and there’s no better way to start than against the reigning champions.

“Of course, they’re going to be out to make an impression, but obviously, what they did last year worked, so I think we’re going to see more of the same. And it’s important that we match that intensity both with and without the ball.”

Ryan Kitto on the work put in defensively in the off-season:

“I think the most important thing is that we’re attacking and defending as a team. So obviously, structurally, we have tweaked a few things. And I think you’ve seen in our preseason friendly results, we have improved defensively. I’m hoping that carries into the season and that each player who takes the field takes their responsibility.

“I think we have obviously worked on a few things. And we’re looking forward to showing everyone then on Friday night.”

Ryan Kitto on the fitness of the squad:

“Other than the long term ones that we’re working with, everyone’s put their hand up and is ready to play and at the intensity in the last month has been really exciting, because it’s clear within our squad that no one has a guaranteed spot. Everyone has to fight for that spot. And that’s really a healthy place for our team to be in.”

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