PROFILE: Defenders - Gerhardt, Kisnorbo, Walker

With just six days until Melbourne Heart's opening match of the Hyundai A-League 2013-14 season, we take a look at each of the Club's 24 players.

With just six days until Melbourne Heart's opening match of the Hyundai A-League 2013-14 season, we take a look at each of the Club's 24 players.

We start with three defenders - Patrick Gerhardt - who has also demonstrated his versatility in midfield - new recruit Patrick Kisnorbo and Jeremy Walker, who commences his first full season as a contracted senior player for the Red and White.

6. Patrick Gerhardt Patrick Nyema Gerhardt joined Melbourne Heart FC in June 2012 on two-year deal from Bosnian side FK Željeznicar. During his time there he played a pivotal role in helping the Sarajevo outfit to the League and Cup double.

A utility player with considerable international experience, Gerhardt was born in Switzerland and represented his birth country as a teenager. Along with FK Željeznicar, Gerhardt has played for CS Otopeni in Romania, and Brantford Galaxy in Canada before transferring to Melbourne.

While playing for Brantford Galaxy, Gerhardt helped the side win the league playoffs, where they came from 7th place to win the final. Eligible to play for Liberia through his African mother, Gerhardt accepted the call to play for the national team and debuted in 2011. N ow in his second season with Melbourne Heat, Gerhardt will look to pick up where he left off as he finished the season as one of Heart-s most impressive players.

Regarded by many for his strength, heading ability and industrious work rate, Gerhardt adds both quality and experience to rest of the young Heart team.

Head Coach John Aloisi has also been impressed by Gerhardt-s versatility and he has emerged as the bedrock of the Melbourne Heart line up. His ability to play both in defence and midfield is testament to the hard work that Gerhardt has put in over the years.

Gerhardt expects Melbourne Heart to improve on last year-s performance, saying that the team will be fitter and stronger than ever - and are ready for Round One.

“We-re very confident that we can win the game [against Melbourne Victory] because we-ve had a strong pre-season and worked hard and we-re confident in ourselves,” Gerhardt told the Herald Sun

“Now when we play we feel more comfortable so we should have a much better season.”

As part of Heart-s commitment to community development, players sometimes visit the Collingwood Homework Club, and Gerhardt-s recent appearances are a hit with kids.

24. Patrick Kisnorbo Patrick Kisnorbo, 32, returns home to Melbourne after over a decade spent in the United Kingdom where he had successful spells with Hearts of Midlothian, Leeds United and Leicester City, captaining the latter during their time in the Championship.

Kisnorbo began playing football for Essendon and Bulleen, before forcing himself into the South Melbourne lineup in the now defunct NSL, and is looking forward to playing regularly in his hometown.

While playing for Hearts Kisnorbo tasted UEFA Cup action, playing against quality clubs like Feyenoord, Schalke 04, and Bordeaux.

Kisnorbo has also played 18 times for the Socceroos, the last of which was in 2010. He can count himself very unlucky to miss the plane to South Africa, after he ruptured his Achilles tendon in a match against Milwall just prior to the World Cup.

“It was the biggest disappointment, every kid growing up wants to go to the World Cup and play for their country. But you have to get up and keep fighting and playing,” Kisnorbo said.

And that-s exactly what he-s done.

The uncompromising defender will add a wealth of experience Heart-s backline, and his strength on the ball will certainly aid Heart-s quest for its maiden premiership.

Head Coach John Aloisi is delighted to once again be working with his one-time Socceroo team-mate.

“In addition to being an excellent defender, Patrick brings tremendous leadership qualities and competitiveness to our defensive half,” Aloisi said.

“Anyone who has followed the Socceroos appreciates the energy and fearlessness with which Patrick plays and his all-round game means he can partner with anyone in central defence. Having him in the squad strengthens our spine and provides me with a number of tactical options.”

2. Jeremy Walker Jeremy Walker made a terrific start to his A-League career, starting in 13 of Melbourne Heart FC-s matches last season.

The youngster surprised many by turning in some very impressive performances.

Walker will look to build on his already exciting game and really cement his spot in the Heart defence in the 2013/2014 A-League season.

The young defender signed a professional A-League contract with Melbourne Heart FC just 18 months after joining the Club-s youth team. Heart coach John Aloisi believes that the fledgling defender fully deserves his professional deal.

“Jeremy has illustrated that he has the ability for first-team football and has a great capacity to learn and work hard,” Aloisi said.

“It-s something that we-ve been doing now for the last three seasons, trying to bring through young players, not just for the sake of it, but that we believe can benefit the team and our squad and Jeremy has proved that.”

Walker has the ability to play in a number of positions. He started out as a central midfielder, then became a right-winger, before being transformed into the full-back that he is today.

In his short career, Walker has already faced Alessandro Del Piero three times, and the Italian legend has complimented the rising Tasmanian youngster for his brave and dogged display. Fans awarded Walker their Man of the Match award in the 3-1 triumph over Sydney.

The 20-year old is the first player from the Tasmanian National Training Centre program to play in the A-League, and as a result claims the moniker of being the ‘Trailblazer for Tasmanian football-.

Growing up in Ulverstone on the island's northwest coast, Jeremy played AFL and cricket but his heart was always with the round ball game.