Apprentice Kruse praises master Thompson

Robbie Kruse has paid tribute to team-mate Archie Thompson ahead of this Saturday's Hyundai A-League Grand Final, saying the example and advice from the champion striker has helped him turn his career around.

Robbie Kruse has paid tribute to team-mate Archie Thompson ahead of this Saturday's Hyundai A-League Grand Final, saying the example and advice from the champion striker has helped him turn his career around.

Kruse arrived at Melbourne earlier this season with his footballing life at the crossroads. He had left the Brisbane Roar and needed to re-ignite his career with the Hyundai A-League champions.

It has been an eventful renaissance for the prodigiously talented youngster, who now finds himself confronting his biggest moment as a footballer. He heads into Saturday's decider with a renewed belief in himself and his talents and said that he has Thompson to thank for that.

"That was one of my problems back home. I was portrayed as not really caring about football that much, but I really put a lot of pressure on myself to perform and to get to a next level. Coming down here with Archie, he's happy 24/7. No matter what he always has a smile on his face," Kruse said.

"I think it's rubbed off on me. I'm enjoying my football. We're led by probably the best skipper going around. The team environment is second to none in Australia. I'm enjoying coming to training and working hard and I've never really done that before. It's definitely helped me a lot."

Kruse said he has learned a great deal from playing alongside Thompson this season and feels he is starting to emulate the Victory's marquee man.

"People say how good he is, but to actually train and play with him is great. When I got here, I just watched the runs he made, and the timing of his runs, and it really helped me out," he said.

"He attracts a lot of the defenders and it gives them more space for me and hopefully I can start to help him out. Hopefully both on the pitch we can cause a lot of havoc and get a few balls in behind and get a few goals."

Thompson's mentoring of Kruse has been part of a transformation for the Brisbane-born striker. He says the strong club culture has turned him from a sometimes wayward winger into a committed and professional striker.

"A lot of people said it was a risky move. In my mind, it was the right thing to do. I knew some of the boys down here and they had informed me about the atmosphere and the team environment down here, and I felt that was what I needed," he said.

"Winning two premierships and two Grand Finals was a good indication of how good the team is. I've really enjoyed my time here and hopefully I can put on a good show on the weekend."

The positional change from a wide attacking role to that of a central striker has yielded more accountability. He also feels it has made him a more dangerous player.

"(At Brisbane) I was so used to just trying to beat my man and get a half a yard to knock the ball in for Sergio or Reinaldo. It's been different, but I've enjoyed it," he said.

"It's helped me get into better goalscoring positions and given the chance to get one on one with defenders in more dangerous positions. It took me a while, but I finally got the hang of it. I had a few injuries that set me back, but I feel now like I'm more dangerous."