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Soccer

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A-League newcomers eye first derbies

Two games into their first A-League season, Western United are undefeated and confident ahead of two back-to-back Melbourne derbies.

The A-League newcomers defeated Wellington Phoenix 1-0 first up then drew 1-1 with Perth Glory on Saturday.

Inaugural coach Mark Rudan said the confidence his side took out of the opening two performances would hold them in good stead against Melbourne City next Sunday in Geelong, then Melbourne Victory at Marvel Stadium the following Saturday.

"For any footballer, confidence and belief are very important components and (the first two rounds) certainly has given it to them," Rudan said.

"As the season goes, on everybody will tell you just how hard it is to go to Wellington to get anything, let alone three points.

"The training is really good, the vibe is really good.

"We have got some fantastic individuals here, great human beings so I think its important we stay focused ... we will bring that second-half performance into next week's derby."

Defender Josh Risdon, who experienced the Sydney derby during his stint at Western Sydney, said he saw the clashes with City and Victory as opportunities to make a statement.

"Obviously it's great to have two derbies. It just has that different dimension here in Melbourne," Risdon said.

"We're really looking forward to it - it's good the first one is at our home.

"A bit disappointing we only got the draw (against Perth) but we want to make a statement here at home and build our fan base and get everyone wanting to come to the games."

Marquee recruit Panagiotis Kone, who scored his first A-League goal against Perth, is new to the league and its derbies.

He said he felt in time, United could own the future but had to work hard to get a result against their more-established opponents.

"Victory and City, they are very experienced teams. They have history in this league and ... they will be very difficult for us," he said.

"We are a new team, we will try to give our best and I hope we will get something. But for sure, City and Victory are the favourites."

--End of article--

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