Mr HUSIC (Chifley) (20:59): I want to reflect on a remarkable event that occurred yesterday, played out in front of 50,000-plus fans in Adelaide. I refer, of course, to the A-League grand final featuring Adelaide United versus a team that both the member for Mitchell and I are proud to support, the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Mr Hawke: A great team!
Mr HUSIC: A great team indeed, the member for Mitchell. Congratulations to Adelaide United on their victory. Their fans have had to wait 13 long years for their day in the sun. But I do want to use this opportunity to salute the Wanderers. It is my absolutely firm belief that the team, backed by their passionate legion of phenomenally supportive fans, have singularly transformed the A-League in four short years. Many of us know how far the team have come in a short time and how warmly they have been embraced by a region that they not only represent but that many have grown up in—a team described by The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Cockerill in the following way:
… the Wanderers are made of steel …
This was a tough loss, but it is too easy to forget where they have come from and who supported them to get there, many behind the scenes at the Wanderers—the management, the staff, the trainers—everyone who has contributed in their own way, to combine with the players themselves to forge one of the A-League’s most formidable teams. So many of us are proud that the team is based at Rooty Hill in the Chifley electorate and in the heart of Western Sydney but that they spend so much time across the region. They are there at the footy clinics and they are there in the shopping centres; they are there in the community doing everything they can not only to promote the game of football but, importantly, to strengthen the pride of the Western Sydney region. They do a fantastic job at that.
I also want to pick up on the powerful words of football giant Craig Foster, who wrote in The Sun-Herald yesterday:
So much of life is about the average, just getting along, doing enough, waiting for the bus home, but sometimes people come along who can sell a vision, who can create the platform, rules and environment to bring it to life and have the authority, drive and energy to enforce high performance. Popovic is one. Otherwise, a new club does not win a league title, an Asian Champions League and make three season deciders in four years.
So true. The team have had a remarkable run for just four years of existence, in an environment where many would have thought that they would not be able to achieve in a short space of time with the budget that they had, against well-seasoned rivals who had been there, done that and built their own management structure. A lot of that, as I said, is credit that can be shared across a number of people, but Coach Popovic deserves singular praise. As he said yesterday:
It’s never nice losing a final but you’ve got to get into a final to win one.
Again, so true. This team has much to offer. We are proud of what they have achieved and what they will achieve. When Western Sydney residents are asked who we sing for, we will always reply, ‘We sing for Wanderers.’
In the short time remaining tonight, I would also like to offer congratulations to a newly formed community group that will cover parts of the electorate of Chifley—the Blacktown Nepalese Community. They held their first AGM on Saturday at the Marayong Community Centre and welcomed their newly elected executive members as well as office bearers—President Krishna Niraula and Chairman of the Advisory Board Mr Nirmal KC.
The Nepalese community in New South Wales is quickly becoming established. According to data by the Nepalese consulate office, about 10,000 Nepalese people are currently living in the city of Sydney, and this will grow. I want to congratulate the group on their initiative and hard work to create this network and encourage the support of the wonderful Nepalese community we have in Western Sydney. I was enormously pleased to attend the Marayong Community Centre and see so many families there so proud to join together to make sure that the next generation is well served and looked after and to promote the heritage of this great group. Congratulations.