Sydney United coach Miro Vlastelica got an unexpected phone call this week as he prepares his side for a massive Australia Cup final against Macarthur on Saturday night.
United have become the first club outside of the A-League Men (ALM) to reach the final of the competition which was previously known as the FFA Cup.
Vlastelica’s side beat reigning ALM champions Western United on their way to the final and will likely be the crowd favourite at CommBank Stadium on Saturday with over 11,000 tickets already sold.
Among those rooting for Sydney United is veteran NRL coach Wayne Bennett, who gave Vlastelica a surprise call during the week.
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Bennett wanted to congratulate his fellow coach and urged the entire club to enjoy the occasion.
“I nearly smashed my car – had to pull over. The phone rung…I answered and they go, ‘Is that Mira?…It’s Wayne’,” Vlastelica said.
“I’m trying to work out whose Wayne and I don’t know any Waynes. And he goes, ‘It’s Wayne Bennett.’
“I was blown away. It’s touched other codes. Just to get best wishes from Wayne and to congratulate us on what we’ve achieved, it blew me away.
“He just said go out and enjoy the moment. You’ve created history with your team and it doesn’t come around often. Take it all in, make sure the boys enjoy it and as a coach, same thing, enjoy the moment but obviously when we cross the line there’s a job to do.
“It was really good. It was a great phone call.”
Never. Ever. Write them off.
— Australia Cup (@AustraliaCup) September 29, 2022
Sydney United will be big underdogs against a red-hot Macarthur in the final but believe an upset could be on the cards.
“It’s a big challenge ahead of us but we’re looking forward to it,” Vlastelica said.
“It would probably be one of the biggest days of Sydney United’s history.
“It’s not going to be an easy game. It will be a difficult challenge but it’s a one-off game, anything can happen on the day. If all goes to plan, it should be a good night for us.
“We’re not kidding ourselves, it’s difficult, but again, we’re looking forward to the challenge.”