Sydney United 58 coach Zeljko Kalac was one relieved figure when his star striker Patrick Antelmi returned to the Reds squad following his three-month A-League stint with Western United FC over the weekend.
The 26-year-old showed his class in front of goals especially, banging in two in United 58’s 3-1 victory over last year’s National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Premiers Wollongong Wolves – a former club of Antlemi’s as well.
The Prairiewood United junior was delighted with how his comeback match with United 58 unfolded.
“It was a great start personally to get on the scoresheet but even better to get the three points with the lads again, the boys played unreal and it was a well-deserved win.
“King Tom is a special place to play at and it was great to be out with the boys again having fun in front of our great fans.”
Finally getting the opportunity he has thoroughly deserved during his NPL journey, Antelmi relished his time with Western United, taking with him some key learnings from some quality stars such as ‘Alex Tobin’ Medal winner Alessandro Diamanti as well as one of the A-League’s deadliest strikers Besart Berisha to name a few.
“My three months with Western United FC was fantastic.
“I took a lot out of it in such a short period of time.
“I had great people to learn off being in a professional environment to improve my game.
“Having the best A-League striker Besart Berisha to learn off every day was surreal as those opportunities are hard to come by.
“Diamanti is different class, on and off the pitch. Great guy with a lot of enthusiasm who always wanted the best brought out in players to help the team win.
“The squad had quality all over the park and professionalism that you can take away bit by bit to add in your game, especially the experienced players.
“The staff also were a big part of that learning experience.
“The group was very special, and it showed in how far we got in the campaign.”
Former Championship winning Sydney United 58 boss Mark Rudan has made a successful impact in the A-League as head coach of Western United FC in his debut season.
Antelmi, who just missed out on Rudan’s coaching journey at United 58 when he joined from the Wollongong Wolves, stated how influential he was during his time at the A-League club.
“I was never coached by “The Boss”. I was a year too late coming to Sydney United, but I always heard great things about him.
“He is very detailed and passionate; he loves the game and it shows. He brings the best out of you and demands more day by day. He made me hungrier and I can’t thank him enough for that and giving me my opportunity when no one else did.”
Wednesday, August 12th 2020 will be a date the ace marksman will never forget.
It was that day he made his A-League debut, even if it were for a few minutes, it was a moment of pure joy and happiness for Antelmi.
“My A-League debut was very short but no matter the duration of the time, I still had those butterflies and adrenaline rushing through my body.”
Focused on the remaining NPL NSW Men’s season, Antelmi is looking forward to winning as many matches as possible for the former NSL giants amongst a couple of other important objectives and targets he has set himself.
“We want to win what we lost last season as a team because we deserve it and so do our loyal supporters.
“I want also be the best player I can be and give it a red-hot crack, as I found out anything can happen.”
Kalac and co will need Antelmi and his teammates to be on their game as they face current table toppers Sydney FC this Sunday at Edensor Park – a match that is sure to bring out some quality action against a talented batch of young guns making a name for themselves in Australia’s Premier NPL competition.
“Yeah it will be a great game. They are always fun to chase around the park (laughs), but it will be a good game, we are all really looking forward to it.
“We are looking at getting the three points as that would put us back up there chasing top spot.”