Working in tandem

Three games as a central defensive pairing with only one goal conceded; the James Donachie and Rhys Williams combination has started well.

It’s a budding partnership which has clicked early on in Victory’s pre-season, and Donachie is relishing the ability to play alongside someone of Williams’ stature.

“Through the Socceroos and Middlesbrough, he’s had a top career,” Donachie said of the 29-year-old Williams.

“I don’t look at him as being an old boy but he’s been around, so I can learn little things off him and playing with him has been really good.”

With the off-season departures of Alan Baro and Nick Ansell, the opportunity is there for Donachie to consolidate the spot in the starting XI he earned late last season.

The 24-year-old started each of the last five games on Victory’s run to the Grand Final, and he’s using that knowledge to help Williams settle into the side as quickly as possible.

“We’ve had three games together and he’s getting to know the ins and outs of the system we play,” Donachie explained.

“Rhys will pick up things quick, but like every team, every club has specific ways they want to do things.

“He’s nice and loud and he knows what he’s doing. We’ve got a pretty young back four so it’s good to have him in the middle there.”

Most importantly for Donachie and Williams, it’s about spending time together.

“Centre backs have a partnership, so you’ve got to get to know each other,” Donachie explained.

“Me and Rhys are quite similar in the way we want to play, so it’s knowing when to do things and when not to do things.

“It’s about getting to know the little things each other does.”

A series of interstate trips so early in pre-season has helped things along.

Travelling to Brisbane for the FFA Cup Round of 32 clash against Roar, combined with an upcoming journey to Adelaide for the Round of 16, will bring the team closer together.

“You get to know each other through these games and it was a sharp hit-out against Roar.

“It’s good for team morale and off the pitch to get away, out of the surroundings.

“We’re all in the hotel together, eating together, and spending time together.”