How Ipswich striker hopes to become an A-League Bolt-er
BRISBANE Roar A-League recruit Dylan Wenzel-Halls welcomes the opportunity to play against one of the world's fastest men if that eventuates later this month.
Although Wenzel-Halls and Olympic champion Usain Bolt would be at opposite ends of the field, the Ipswich product said it would be fun making his debut against such a famous sportsman.
"It would be a different experience if he gets to play,'' Wenzel-Halls, 20, said.
"I'll just focus on what I can do and my team.''
Whether sprint ace Bolt plays for Central Coast Mariners against Roar at Suncorp Stadium on October 21 remains to be seen.
However, Wenzel-Halls is thrilled with his early progress at Roar, encouraged by a breakthrough goal in last weekend's 3-0 win over a Brisbane Select combination.
"It took a little while,'' Wenzel-Halls said, happy to have contributed one of his trademark bullet shots.
"It's good to score my first goal in my new career and hopefully many more to come.''
Since signing with the Brisbane A-League club in May, he has played in all Roar's pre-season trials.
Before last Saturday's clash with Brisbane Select, he received opportunities against Melbourne City, Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory, Wellington, Mackay and Logan.
"It's just about making sure that I'm doing all the little things and working hard at training,'' Wenzel-Halls said, excited about his first A-League season prospects.
"And when the boss gives me the call to say I'm playing this week or I'm in his squad, I'm ready to go.''
The former Western Pride sharpshooter was confident he had made a smooth transition to Brisbane Roar.
"It's been good,'' he said, having scored 23 goals in 11 games for Pride before moving from the state league competition to Roar.
"It's very professional, the coaching staff, the facilities.''
While Wenzel-Halls thrived in the semi-professional set-up at Western Pride's Briggs Road base, the Golden Boot winner said being with Roar was another step up.
"It's a full-time environment,'' Wenzel-Halls said of Roar's training headquarters.
"Everyone is working to achieve the same goals of winning games, winning leagues and you've got your own individual goals as well.
"It's what I expected plus more.
"It's just the little things like you go to training every day and not worried about being tired from work.
"That is your work and you go in there to improve every day.''
Wenzel-Halls is one of seven attacking players in contention for Roar's new A-League season. He joins experienced players like Adam Taggart, Henrique and Eric Bautheac.
"It's good to just go in there and train every day and learn from them,'' he said.
"Physically I'm fine.''
Wenzel-Halls welcomes any attacking role head coach John Aloisi sets him so he can help "influence games''.
"I've played numerous positions (during trials),'' he said.
"I've played as a 10, I've played as a nine, I've played as a winger so I like to think I'm versatile. But I'll play wherever the boss needs me to play and wherever he needs me to come on and do well.''
The Ipswich born and bred footballer grew up watching the Socceroos play, including star attackers like Aloisi.
"He's great and all the (Roar) coaches are great to work with,'' Wenzel-Halls said.
"The boss is one of the best strikers in Australia.
"He's played everywhere in the world, internationally and at club level. Just learning from him is a great opportunity.''
Turning 21 in December, Wenzel-Halls watched his former Pride teammates play in state league matches when he didn't have Roar commitments.
The former Silkstone State School and St Peter Claver College student was thrilled to see Pride reach another final series, one loss short of back-to-back grand final appearances.
"I speak daily to some of them. Some of them are my best mates,'' he said.
"To remain in the top four and it wasn't easy for them to have coaches leaving, players leaving.
"They all struck together and they did really well.
"I'm happy for them and hopefully it's bigger and better things for next season.''
As Wenzel-Halls prepares for his A-League debut, another Ipswich-bred talent is also back for the 2018/19 national league competition.
Former Ipswich City Bulls footballer Allira Toby is among the "home-grown'' players who have re-signed for the Roar team keen to successfully defend the W-League premiership they won last season.
Toby has committed to Roar along with Katrina Gorry, Abbey Lloyd, Summer O'Brien, Natalie Tathem and Kaitlyn Torpey.
Roar's evergreen captain Clare Polkinghorne is also returning for another W-League season, after a stint with Houston Dash in the United States.
The Roar women open their 2018/19 W-League campaign against Perth Glory at Suncorp Stadium on October 28.
Roar are chasing a third championship in the W-League.
Before then though, it's the Roar men facing Central Coast Mariners on October 21 at Suncorp Stadium.