WITH their A-League title defence in tatters, Adelaide United players were not afraid to answer the tough questions when Playford Council hosted the Reds’ first Players’ Night last week.
Reds captain and goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic, along with team-mates Tarek Elrich, Isaias, Dylan McGowan and Jordan Elsey, took to the stage at the Playford Civic Centre last Wednesday night to speak to fans in an intimate setting.
The majority of the night was spent discussing how the Reds went from winning the 2015/16 A-League double in front of 50,000 people at Adelaide Oval, on May 1 last year, to being last on the ladder, currently.
Nova 919’s Jarrod Walsh was master of ceremonies on the night, and didn’t pull any punches with his questions.
Galekovic admitted the season had been a tough one, while Elrich opened up about how the players were feeling about the disappointing title defence.
“Trust me, we hurt more than anyone,” Elrich said.
The players agreed they had questions over some of the club’s off-season transfer decisions – with McGowan highlighting the departure of “super-sub” Pablo Sanchez as a major disappointment.
However, they didn’t think this was an excuse for their performances this year, which they, ultimately, didn’t have any conclusive answers for.
In more light-hearted conversation topics, Isaias, a Brazilian import, described how former Reds’ striker Bruce Djite taught him English upon arriving in Australia, while the players voted the A-League’s all-time leading goal-scorer, Melbourne Victory striker Besart Barisha, as their most disliked opposition player.
Playford Mayor Glenn Docherty said the inaugural Players’ Night wasn’t initially intended to be about the Reds’ disappointing season – having been organised before it even started – but it turned out to be a good way for fans to hear from the players, themselves, about what’s happened at the club.
“The audience responded really well to the opportunity to hear from the players about their perspectives on the season,” he said.
“Jarrod Walsh…said right up front that they’d talk about it, and they talked about it in a respectful and open way, and the players gave honest answers to the questions he asked.”
Mr Docherty said a range of Adelaide United supporters attended the event – not just from the Playford Council area.
“It was just great to see Playford and Adelaide United linking up and taking advantage of this great relationship,” he said.
Adelaide United now sits five points adrift from second-bottom Central Coast Mariners after losing 2-1 to them in Canberra on Sunday.