Orlando Engelaar and Jonatan Germano enjoyed successful returns from injury on Sunday, featuring for periods of approximately 30 minutes each in the Club’s 3-1 win in the Foxtel National Youth League.
Orlando Engelaar and Jonatan Germano enjoyed successful returns from injury on Sunday, featuring for periods of approximately 30 minutes each in the Club-s 3-1 win in the Foxtel National Youth League over Melbourne Victory.
Engelaar, who had been sidelined since his pre-season set back in August, played his first competitive match since the fateful friendly against Brisbane Roar, in which the former Dutch international suffered a fractured tibia.
The Club-s marquee played 30 minutes in the first half of Sunday-s match and looked comfortable in a holding role in midfield, controlling play from deep with measured distribution, while shielding the back four.
Germano, who has endured a difficult spell after suffering a hamstring injury in training, coupled with a second set back following a calf complaint, came on in the second period for the final half hour and make an immediate impact, scoring with virtually his first touch.
Melbourne Heart-s NYL coach Joe Palatsides said he was pleased with both players' performances in a dominant display by the young Red and White.
“I think we won the game all over the park, and the midfield was very good, and it was good to see Orlando get his first 30 minutes, and it was good to see Jonatan Germano get his first 30 minutes and even Luke O-Dea who came on,” Palatsides said.
“I think everyone was happy with Orlando-s cameo, he-s important to the Club.
“It was so disappointing early in the season to see him go down in the first practice game, a lot was expected of him.
“But he-s worked hard to get back and he-s probably got back quicker than what was expected.
“The plan was always to play him for 30 minutes, as was Jonatan Germano and Luke O-Dea… once he gets fit, it-s something for the fans to look forward to.”
Palatsides said the impact of senior stars, including Engelaar and Germano, playing alongside his developing charges was immeasurable.
“They help the younger players immensely, just by them talking, warming up and having a joke with them and then when they see them play and the way the go about it, they are true professionals and they learn from them," Palatsides said.
“So it-s great to have those players around the Club, and especially helping the young boys in the manner that they do.”
While the return of Engelaar and Germano stole the headlines, Palatsides said the 3-1 win over Melbourne Victory had been a collective effort.
“It-s one of the pleasing results we-ve had recently; it was just good to see the boys enjoying their football and playing at a very, very good level and that was what we have been concentrating on the last month,” Palatsides said.
“We want to win and I keep saying that to the boys that one of the parts of their development is to learn how to win.
“We-ve played quite well over the past month and we haven-t had the results, [but] over the last two weeks it-s starting to turn in our favour and we are dominating games, we-re creating a lot of chances, and now we are finishing them off as well."
Palatsides said he was pleased with the team-s intensity and concentration, and praised the side for carrying momentum into the second half and preventing Victory from working its way back into the match with the score line at 1-0.