New boys set the bar every high in their inagural season.
Western Sydney Wanderers claimed the A-League Premiers’ Plate with an emphatic 3-0 win over Newcastle Jets to cap a stunning debut season on Friday.
The Wanderers only needed a point against the Jets to secure the plate for finishing top of the standings after the regular rounds, and with another win they stretched their unbeaten run to 12 games, 11 of them victories.
While the Wanderers finished top they still have to negotiate the post-season top-six playoffs and the Grand Final on April 21 to go on and claim the A-League championship.
Wanderers, superbly coached by former Socceroo defender Tony Popovic, did not falter against the Jets and sealed victory through a Mark Bridge brace and a screamer from Rocky Visconte before 22,500 fans in Newcastle.
The Central Coast Mariners only a chance of leapfrogging Wanderers to win the Premiers’ Plate if Western Sydney had lost on Friday, and they won their home game against Melbourne Heart on Saturday.
The Wanderers will be presented with the plate before their fanatical home crowd in the first semi-final on April 12 at Parramatta Stadium.
Western Sydney were missing injured players, Japanese star Shinji Ono (groin) and Aaron Mooy (knee) in midfield and German defender Jerome Polenz (quad), while Italian Iacopo La Rocca is under suspension for the rest of the season.
The Jets, led by former England international striker Emile Heskey, will miss out on the finals following their defeat to the Wanderers