One of the Wanderers’ keys in Sunday’s Hyundai A-League Grand Final could be Semi Final hat-trick hero Romeo Castelen, who plays down the right in front of the suitably impressed Scott Neville at full back.
The Dutchman was untouchable in the 5-4 win against Brisbane and Neville admits he loves playing behind him on the Wanderers right flank.
The pair will be hugely important at Adelaide Oval this Sunday in the season decider.
“He [Castelen] is amazing. He’s definitely the best dribbler in the league and his finishing on the weekend was scary,” Neville told reporters on Thursday .
“Sometimes I get in a tight area and I can just pass him the ball and he’ll manage to weave his way past four or five sets of feet.
“It relieves a lot of pressure from us at the back so he’s great to play behind.”
This won’t be the first opportunity the England-born defender has had to win the Hyundai A-League title.
Neville was a part of the Perth Glory side which lost the 2012 decider 2-1 against Brisbane Roar after two late goals to Besart Berisha.
That experience has taught the 27-year-old he needs to make the most of this chance against the Reds.
This season, the two sides have played out three hard-fought, defensively-minded draws, but Neville admits he’s wary of a Reds attack which is catching fire.
Bruce Djite is scoring regularly while the likes of Cirio, Marcelo Carrusca and Bruce Kamau are also threats.
“But I think it starts from the back for them. They have been so defensively sound for the last 10, 12, 15 weeks,” Neville said of Adelaide.
“It gives them a great platform if they are not conceding goals to take a few more risks going forward.
“They have some good players throughout the team that can create stuff and also get on the end and finish things.
“We’ve got to nullify the space in between the lines and make sure we’re brave and up front with them.”
And if Wanderers wins Sunday’s Hyundai A-League Grand Final, you can bet one of the first people Scott Neville seeks out to celebrate with will be coach Tony Popovic.
After a couple of injury-plagued, inconsistent seasons at the Newcastle Jets, Neville has been re-born this season since linking with the Wanderers.
He’s been one of the side’s most consistent players, locking down the right-back position and starting 27 of the club’s 28 matches this campaign.
On Sunday, he will have a key role to play again, trying to stop the likes of Sergio Cirio and Craig Goodwin on Adelaide United’s left flank.
It’s a job Neville approaches full of confidence now after a stellar season, heaping praise on the wily Popovic.
“He covers every small detail from hydration, to your food intake, to what you do on the pitch,” said Neville of his meticulous coach.
“The things I’ve learned this year, I haven’t learned in the last five years combined.
“I owe a lot to the boss for having faith in me this year. He’s probably had more faith in me than I had in myself and it’s starting to show and I want to repay him by getting the win on Sunday.”
Neville said it was “Popa” calm demeanour and belief in his side that sparked their famous semi final win over Brisbane Roar last weekend.
“When your 3-0 down after 25 minutes there’s always going to be negative thoughts flowing through your head,” Neville said.
“But the way Popa has us drilled we knew if we got one back and stuck to our structure we’d overrun Brisbane and get the win.
“The high standards Popa demands is huge and the way we’ve trained from day one to now hasn’t changed. We’ve had a goal from the start and we just want to finish the journey off the right way.”