Kewell, Emmo boost for rivals

They may be household names themselves in the Hyundai A-League but for the likes of Travis Dodd, Adrian Leijer and Tarek Elrich playing against or alongside the likes of Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton this season will be 'a dream come true'.

They may be household names themselves in the Hyundai A-League but for the likes of Travis Dodd, Adrian Leijer and Tarek Elrich playing against or alongside the likes of Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton this season will be 'a dream come true'.

With the longer build-up to this seventh season of the competition following the decision to start the new campaign after the end of the AFL and NRL seasons, there has been plenty of buzz generated by the arrival of Kewell at Melbourne Victory and Emerton at Sydney FC.

And for Elrich he is still pinching himself at the thought of facing up to the two Socceroos, who will go head-to-head when Victory host Sydney at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

"As a young kid I looked up to these guys and to be playing against them on a regular basis is going to be a dream come true for myself," Elrich said at the season launch in Sydney on Tuesday.

"It's always going to be great when you've got current Socceroos playing in your league."

"The A-League's getting better and better every year and I've been here from day one and the difference from the first day to now is just amazing."

"It's only heading in the one direction and that's up."

Dodd, who has a new home himself in 2011/12 following his off-season move from Adelaide United to Perth Glory, is just as positive about the arrival of the two stars.

"It's an exciting time for the game for sure with players like Kewell and Emerton coming back and hopefully lifting the profile of the game," Dodd said.

"It's a boost not only for the teams they're at but for the league in general and certainly fans that I've spoken to already can't wait to come and see these guys play and I'm sure they will contribute to the game and it can only be a good thing."

"Yeah without a doubt, it's great to be playing against these guys that have played at the top level and to be able to get out there and play against them and test yourself against them as well, so it is going to be a big season for everyone."

For Leijer, the reality has hit even closer to home sharing the dressing room with Kewell at AAMI Park in Melbourne but he says Kewell has settled in well and is raring to go.

"Yeah it's been fantastic, in Melbourne they're buzzing but when we went to Adelaide it was chaos at the airport," Leijer said.

"It's a bit of an eye-opener for most of us but Harry takes it in his stride."

"The thing that Harry loves most is playing football, that's what he said from day one and that's where you'll see the best of him."

"A guy like Harry walks into the change room and it's a bit intimidating but he's just been one of the boys from day one and it's made it so much easier for all of us."

"Him and Archie (Thompsos) do have a good laugh together."

"At the end of the day he's a good bloke, that's important and he gets on well with all of the boys."

After joking that Kewell and Emerton are Aussies 'so are we supposed to get excited' about their arrival, Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was full of praise for the pair.

"(They're) two fantastic signings for the league and they've come out of two huge competitions, (two) great clubs that they've been with and (they're) icon national team players."

"It can only be good for the game and hopefully from our point of view they're fit and injury-free when they travel to New Zealand."

"It would be good for the game for the fans to come along in our country and see players like that too."