‘We’ve got no excuses’: New skipper Halloway wants Wanderers to end their finals hoodoo
It’s a stat that just doesn’t sit right with Western Sydney Wanderers attacker Erica Halloway.
As she heads into her fifth season with the Red and Black, Halloway has never played in the Finals Series with the club.
In fact, the Wanderers are still aiming to reach the Westfield W-League for the first time in their history.
After finishing rock bottom in 2018/19, new coach Dean Heffernan has assembled a formidable squad that will give the club a strong chance to end their finals hoodoo.
“We did struggle [last season]. I would say we were in it last season but we just couldn’t quite get there,” Halloway told w-league.com.au.
“We had a good team, we had good coaches, it just wasn’t there.
“This year we’ve got no excuses. We’ve got great training facilities, we’ve got a great stadium, we’ve got great coaches, great players, great signings, no excuses this year we’re going to do a lot better.”
To get to the top of the Westfield W-League, the Wanderers are going to have to usurp crosstown rivals and defending champions Sydney FC.
The Sky Blues have dominated the Harbour City clashes in recent seasons but Halloway says the Wanderers are determined to buck the trend.
“Everybody looks forward to the Derby. I don’t think you’re human if you play for Wanderers and you don’t look forward to the Sydney Derby,” the 34-year-old said.
“It’s always a good match, both teams go at it.
“Sydney got one up on us last year but we’re expecting to do a lot better this year and won’t let that happen again.”
One of the bonuses for playing for the Wanderers this season is the chance to play some of their home games at the club’s new home ground at Bankwest Stadium.
The Round 2 clash against Newcastle Jets will be played at the Parramatta venue, as well as the Sydney Derby in Round 6 just five days before Christmas.
“I can’t wait, I’ve heard it’s the best facility we’ve got here, it’s the best place to play and when we are playing we’re obviously playing before the [Hyundai A-League team],” Halloway said.
“The atmosphere should be unreal, the RBB will be there in force I’m sure.
“They’re always there and always supporting us so I look forward to seeing them this year and I can’t wait to play there.”
Halloway, who played with the Illawarra Stingrays in the NSW NPLW in 2019, also splits her football career with a job as a fire fighter.
“I love my job, I love the community spirit of my job and then the Wanderers is exactly the same really,” she said.
“It’s a community-based club and really ties in with what I believe in, my morals and working in the community.”
It's that sort mindset that convinced Heffernan to appoint Halloway as the club's new captain for the upcoming campaign.
The Wanderers boss made the announcement on the eve of tonight's clash, a reward for Halloway's leadership on and off the field, which is inspiring a new generation of Wanderers players.
“It wasn’t a hard decision, she’s been at the club for such a long time. She’s a top person and gets the team together, helps with the type of environment and mentality we are trying to build here,” said Heffernan.
“We’re very lucky to have Erica as a leader and she has virtually taken on the role over the last few weeks anyway before we announced it.”
The Wanderers open their Westfield W-League tonight (Thursday) with a home clash against Adelaide United at Marconi Stadium.
Both sides are looking to be big improvers from last season, adding some extra importance to the season opener.
“We’re going to be ready, we’re in pre-season everyone is fit and raring to go,” Halloway said.
“Night games just feel like they have a different atmosphere to them, I really enjoy night time games so I’m really looking forward to that one.”
The match kicks off at 7.30pm AEDT and can be seen live on Fox Sports.
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