Australian Four Four Two - - HYUNDAIA-LEAGUE -

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.

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