It was "just a matter of time" before Western Sydney Wanderers rose to the top of the Hyundai A-League again, according to Melbourne Victory utility Leigh Broxham.
After reaching successive grand finals in their first two A-League seasons, the Wanderers struggled in the 2014-15 campaign and finished second-bottom with just four wins, following their energy-sapping AFC Champions League triumph and subsequent Club World Cup campaign.
But after reigning champions Victory lost 2-0 away to Wellington Phoenix last week, Western Sydney defeated Brisbane Roar 2-1 to claim pole position with their sixth straight win.
Victory will face the Wanderers on Saturday night in a top-of-the-table clash.
According to Broxham, the Wanderers were always going to bounce back with Tony Popovic at the helm.
"It was hard to say last year. They didn't do too much wrong," he said on Wednesday.
"They haven't changed a whole lot, they've brought in some good quality players and things have gone right for them this year and Popa's a good coach.
"So I think it was just a matter of time until they started doing well again."
Broxham underlined the importance of Western Sydney's recruitment, with the likes of Mitch Nichols, Andreu and Scott Jamieson flying in their first season at Wanderland.
"They're playing well and recruited some good players and it's making all the difference for them at the moment," Victory's vice-captain said.
Victory's loss in Auckland last week was marred by a patchy pitch and a confusing kit clash as Phoenix played in light grey, while a late change saw the Big V wear white shirts.
With those contributing factors, Broxham reckons "there's probably not much to look at" when reviewing the game.
Ahead of his team's trip to Pirtek Stadium, Broxham claimed captain Carl Valeri has almost overcome the virus that saw him miss the loss to the Phoenix.
He also remains confident striker Archie Thompson's recovery from a knee injury is on track despite the veteran limping off the training pitch on Wednesday.
"I didn't see anything, to be honest," Broxham said when asked about Thompson.
"Like I said, he's been going well and I think he was just a bit stiff.
"He's pulled up a couple of times a bit stiff in his recovery. If you were here last week, you would have seen he was flying last week, so I'm sure he's just a bit stiff."