He’s fast building a reputation as the A-League’s master poacher, but Western Sydney Wanderers coach Carl Robinson insists there are deeper reasons why James Troisi and Bernie Ibini chose to quit their respective clubs.
Troisi broke his contract with Adelaide United earlier this month to sign a two-year deal with the Wanderers.
A few days later Ibini paid out the rest of his Newcastle Jets contract in order to also sign with the Wanderers.
And Scottish defender Ziggy Gordon quit Central Coast to ink a deal with Robinson’s outfit.
The three defections have been a major boost for Robinson, who himself quit as coach of the Jets in October to take up the head role at the Wanderers.
Ibini has been recruited twice by Robinson previously – at Major League Soccer club Vancouver Whitecaps in 2017 and the Jets earlier this year.
The Jets were furious at the nature of Ibini’s departure, while Adelaide were also left with a sour taste in their mouth when Troisi left.
Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna was forced to apologise after questioning whether Ibini faked mental health issues in order to break contract.
Robinson, who first tried to sign Troisi in 2015, has been criticised in some quarters for poaching the players, but he said people didn’t know the full story.
“It makes me laugh,” Robinson said when the topic of players defecting to him was raised.
“James in Adelaide – he’s a good person, a good player. He had a contract there. If they wanted to keep him there, I’m sure he’d still be there. So it’s not always what it (seems) on the outside.
“The same situation with Bernie. People say people have got contracts, but there’s always a reason why a player leaves – like I said with my No.1 goalkeeper (Sweden’s Daniel Lopar who left for family reasons).
“Whether it’s family issues, whether the coach might be the problem, whether it’s a salary cap reduction, whether it’s a personal salary reduction that they’re talking about – there are reasons.
“It’s not just as simple as, ‘Oh, James Troisi signed for Robbo because Robbo was tracking him in 2015′.
“There’s a reason behind it, and once you get the reason behind it and you understand why, you’ll realise it was the right move for James, and the right move for Adelaide as well.”
The addition of Ibini and Troisi has given the Wanderers a much-needed dose of star power after their ninth-placed finish last season.
The Wanderers’ season gets underway against expansion outfit Macarthur FC at Bankwest Stadium on Wednesday.