Around the grounds: Parsons pays homage to Roar legend, young gun eyes bigger role at Sky Blues

SYDNEY FC midfielder Calem Nieuwenhof is eager to replicate the early-season form he displayed through 2020/21 on a more consistent basis in the upcoming A-League campaign to become a more integral part of the Sky Blues squad.

The 20-year-old burst onto the scene on A-League debut in January, netting a stunning goal from long range in Sydney's 2-1 win over Wellington Phoenix.

The scorching strike secured the club's Goal of the Season honours, but Nieuwenhof's fast start would come to a screeching halt two months later when a fractured vertebrae in his back sidelined the young Sky Blues midfielder for the remainder of the campaign.

Recovery and rehabilitation became the focus for Niuewenhof as his teammates steamed home to book a spot in the 2020/21 A-League Grand Final, which the Sky Blues lost 3-1 to Melbourne City.

Goal of the Week: Calem Nieuwenhof | A-League

With German midfielder Alexander Baumjohann departing the club at the end of the season, Nieuwenhof sees an opportunity to force himself into head coach Steve Corica's thinking as a dependable midfield option going forward.

On the mend and eager to sink his teeth into a fresh A-League season, Nieuwenhof says contributing to Sydney FC's collection of more silverware is on the top of his agenda for 2021/22. 

“I’m very excited to get back playing again with the team, and I think you can expect more from me this year," he said.

"I am more excited than ever to get back on the pitch and do my best for Sydney FC.

“This season my main focus with the club is to have a successful year, and take out the Premiership and Championship trophies,” he continued.

“I want to play a bigger role throughout this season, playing more games and contributing more to the team’s success. Hopefully I can get back on the pitch and contribute with more goals and assists.

“My recovery is going well. I’m now in my third week of running and everything has been uphill, I’ve got plenty of time before the start of the season so I will be 100% ready for a big season."

Broich an inspiration for Roar gun on the rise

Brisbane Roar youngster Alex Parsons says he understands the weight of the iconic kit number 22 he's elected to represent heading into the 2021/22 campaign.

Inheriting the number once worn by Roar legend Thomas Broich, Parsons says he's ready to create new memories for the club's fans to savour, just as the German provided for Parsons himself from 10 years of age as a young Roar supporter. 

Broïch won three A-League Championships in his time in Queensland, along with a pair of Johnny Warren Medals (2011/12, 2013/14). The classy midfielder performed his magnificent feats with the number 22 adorned on his back, amazing Roar fans with his grace and ingenuity.

Thomas Broich
Big boots to fill: Parsons takes on the number 22 once worn by Roar legend Thomas Broich

But in 2021 the number 22 belongs to Parsons - and the Brisbane faithful will be eager to see what the promising talent can achieve after an encouraging inaugural season under Warren Moon.

Parsons became a prominent figure in Brisbane's starting lineup in the latter stages of 2020/21, notching three goals and two assists in 16 appearances.

Ahead of the upcoming A-League season, Parsons says he embraces the pressure that comes with being Brisbane Roar's number 22.

"Obviously I understand it's a big number," Parsons said.

"Growing up being a Brisbane fan, watching every game, I saw probably the club's best ever player wear it. It was an easy choice for me to pick 22.

"But it's also about me making my own mark and doing the best I can."

GOAL: Parsons - NPL youngster shines in the A-League