Goal-scoring entertainer Dylan comfortable in A-League
WHEN you are a confidence footballer like goal-scoring magnet Dylan Wenzel-Halls, having someone back you makes a huge difference in the A-League.
After last night netting his fourth goal in three games for Brisbane Roar, Wenzel-Halls said working with head coach Warren Moon this season was testament to that.
"For sure,'' the record-breaking Ipswich born, former Western Pride striker said.
"To be under a coach that has got that belief and backs you to play 90 minutes or thereabouts goes a long way.
"I feel much more comfortable in the A-League.''
In the lead-up to being recruited by Roar, Wenzel-Halls often averaged more than a goal a game playing for Western Pride in the National Premier Leagues (NPL) competition.
In 2018, the ever-lethal striker broke the club's goal-scoring record after netting a double in Pride's 3-0 win over Gold Coast United.
The brace at that stage took the young striker to 36 league goals, more than any other Pride player since the NPL competition started in 2013.
The same season, the former St Peter Claver College student scored seven goals in one match against Sunshine Coast at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
Before his A-League debut in 2018, the Ipswich footballer also converted the sensational last-gasp goal to secure Pride historic 2-1 NPL grand final victory over Moreton Bay United.
That act of brilliance in 2017 typified what Wenzel-Halls can do on a football field.
The popular sportsman made his A-League debut in November 2018 against Melbourne City.
However, limited game time in his first A-League season left the football entertainer unable to display his true talents moving up from the NPL state competition.
"People are saying that the gap's closing but it's a massive step up and not everyone is capable of doing it,'' he said.
Wenzel-Halls, 23, said A-League demands also tested newcomers having to train nearly every day compared to twice or three times a week in the NPL.
"I think the physical attributes and aspect of the A-League is much superior to the NPL,'' he said. "But the NPL is a great pathway for young players especially to make a name for themselves.''
In his third A-League season, Wenzel-Halls appreciated reuniting with Moon, having worked with him previously as an assistant youth coach.
The 2017 NPL Player of the Year said former Lions mentor Moon had encouraged him to show he belongs in the A-League.
"He identifies my strengths as well as chatting about things that I need to work on to get to the next level,'' Wenzel-Halls said.
"Warren is fantastic . . . and is someone who really shows belief in me.''
Seeing the way the Ipswich footballer celebrates after scoring is part of what fans enjoy.
"I'm a passionate player,'' he said, reflecting on his entertaining antics highlighted again in Roar's latest 3-1 win over Adelaide United.
"Scoring goals is my job and when I do score, I tend to go a little bit crazy.''
The former Silkstone State School student rated his first goal last night among his favourite.
He headed in a 37th minute cross from Jack Hingert before later scoring from a 16 metre run where he fired the ball through the Adelaide United keeper's legs.
But as the livewire striker said, all goals provide a moment to cherish.
Wenzel-Halls still keeps in touch with his Western Pride colleagues, sharing a chat, coffee and a game of golf when time permits.
That is why he's so thrilled to see former Pride teammates Alex Parsons (Brisbane Roar) and Dan Hall (Central Coast Mariners) also making their A-League debuts this season.
Parsons came on late in Roar's first game of the new season.
"He's a good young player and I think he'll only get better and better every season,'' Wenzel-Halls said.
Having savoured his latest two-goal effort, Wenzel-Halls is back to training this week preparing for table-topping Roar's next A-League clash. That is against Melbourne Victory on Saturday at Roar's new home field at Redcliffe.
"We've got a long way to go but we are all confident in ourselves and the club,'' the skilful Ipswich footballer said.