It’s been an off-season of change. As one of the squad’s leaders, how’s pre-season been under the new boss? I can’t think of any other time in my career when I’ve trained harder. That’s the mentality and philosophy of the German coach. You speak to a few boys that have been in Europe and they say, ‘You’re going to enjoy this preseason, it’ll be harder than anything you’ve ever done before’.
What’s Marco Kurz like?
He demands high standards which is good. He’s very respectful and wants that respect to go both ways. He’s approachable and he’s brought staff with him that are also approachable. He’s very thorough. He leaves no stone unturned in his approach. Everything we do is very clear. For someone where English isn’t his first language, he’s really good with his communication. Adelaide have lost several key players this off-season, including Carrusca, Cirio and Galekovic. How do you replace them? There’s been a bit said about players that should have been kept. Unfortunately it’s happened like this. We’ve just got to get on with our job as footballers. What happens off the field is up to the staff in the office. Hopefully it works out for the good.It’s a lot of players and a lot of experience out. They’re all great players. To try and compare them with players coming in is unfair. You went from Champions to wooden spoon battlers. How do you return to the top six? There are no excuses. We weren’t good enough last year and this year has to be better. We’re doing everything we possibly can in our control to make sure that happens. Every team aims to be in the top four come season’s end. In such a short competition with so many good teams this year, it’s going to be a very good competition.
The club obviously made some new signings including Turkey international Ersan Gulum who’ll be your defensive partner…
He’s a big boy. He’s tatted up like myself. He’s down to earth, he’s a natural leader and he wants to work hard. He has all the attributes to be what his CV says and that’s a very good player.
How has the Danish winger Johan Absalonsen fitted in?
He’s a left-sided player, very quick, very strong and with a great deal of experience. He knows about the league after speaking to friends like Thomas Kristensen and Morten Nordstrand. According to other Australians that have been in Denmark, Johan is a very good player. He’s also a really good guy. Just to be a good player sometimes is not enough, you have to fit in with the group and he certainly does that.
On a personal level, you seem settled back in the A-League after your stint in Malaysia, married with a child…
When I was in Malaysia, I could have stayed there and possibly made more money. This was a family decision to come back and also a football one. The football here is a level ahead of that. I still thought I had a lot to offer the league. Sometimes when you’re in an environment that’s not doing too well, you don’t look so great. That probably happened with me towards the end at Newcastle. This is an opportunity for a fresh start and that’s one I intend to take with both hands.