Around the grounds: Why Durante joined Western United
Andrew Durante has revealed the reasons behind his move from Wellington Phoenix to Western United.
The 37-year-old former Phoenix talisman joined the Hyundai A-League newcomers in June.
He spent 11 seasons with the Kiwi club, becoming a naturalised citizen in May 2013 and playing 24 times for the national team, the All Whites.
It is understood that Phoenix offered Durante an expanded off-field role in order to keep him at the New Zealand capital.
However, the prospect of reuniting with former Phoenix boss Mark Rudan in Melbourne in the club’s inaugural season proved too good an opportunity to refuse.
Click HERE for Western United's Q & A with Andrew Durante
"I love the ambition, and when I spoke to them their big goals and big dreams came through very clearly," Durante told the club website.
"Building its culture and values, like we did in Wellington – to say I was here at the beginning is really important to me."
In January, the 313-cap veteran became the first player in Hyundai A-League history to reach 300 appearances, and received a testimonial in March for his outstanding contribution across the Tasman.
Durante is the third Phoenix player – after Polish goalkeeper Filip Kurto and talented playmaker Max Burgess - now plying their trade under Rudan as the taskmaster plots Western United’s maiden campaign.
The kids are alright
Western Sydney Wanderers had six academy graduates on the pitch when the full time whistle blowed in Wednesday night's FFA Cup Quarter Final against Melbourne City.
Having unveiled their multi-million dollar Centre of Football earlier this week, the fruits of that labour are already on show.
Seven of the 11 players who featured in that 3-0 loss to City at AAMI Park - Mathieu Cordier, Tass Mourdoukoutas, Keanu Baccus, Mo Adam, Fabian Monge, Tate Russell and Daniel Wilmering - came through the Wanderers academy system.
Coach Markus Babbel had given his youngsters a show of faith pre-match, stating that he was confident his charges would perform well in the absence of a number of experienced players.
He selected Cordier, Mourdoukoutas, Baccus, and Adam in the starting line up before introducing Monge, Russell and Wilmering as second half substitutions.