Sydney there for the taking, says Victory's Rhys Williams
MELBOURNE Victory star Rhys Williams has declared Sydney FC there for the taking, as they plot to up-end a seven-game, 27-month Sky Blues losing streak.
A Sydney FC domination has unfolded since January 26, 2016, when Matt Jurman's own goal at Etihad Stadium gifted Victory a 1-0 win in a season Sydney FC struggled.
Since that ordinary campaign, when they finished seventh - seven points and one place behind Victory, who lost the elimination final at Brisbane Roar - Graham Arnold's changed persona has prompted an epic reversal of fortunes.
Sydney has lost just four of 56 A-League games (42 wins and 10 draws) on its way to claiming two Premier's Plates (top spot) and a title, in addition to the FFA Cup.
That has included a domination of Victory with six wins and a 1-1 draw effectively seven wins after the Sky Blues prevailed in last season's grand final via penalties.
Williams, who almost signed for Sydney FC at the start of the season, has only been exposed to it this season after crossing from Perth Glory and was confident that tide would turn.
"They're up for the taking,'' Williams said.
"The three games this season we've actually played some of our best stuff against them, we just haven't finished them off so hopefully a fourth time lucky.
"Not at all (doubt doesn't creep in). Every time we've played them, it's not as if they've flogged us or played us off the park - in my opinion anyway.
"It's been about them taking their chances and we didn't on the day.
"The magnitude of the game is a big thing for us. We knew tonight they would come out as well and we woke up late on.
"(Saturday) we have to be at our best for 90-95 minutes to make sure we come out (on top)."
Williams, who is hoping to launch a late push for a Russia 2018 berth, is thrilled with his 32-game season in all competitions, the most he's played since 2011-12 for Middlesbrough.
"I feel like this season I'm close to where I want to be. I think I'm just getting fitter, that's all it is,'' he said.
"I don't know if I've evolved, but it's certainly helped to get to where I was, obviously with my injuries it was tough."
Williams' decade in England meant he'd never played finals, but he may be Victory's lucky charm.
"One from one, I'll take that,'' Williams said.
"The crowd was low (against Adelaide) but it was loud and we look forward to next week."