Fresh from helping Sydney FC back to the top of the A-League with his first league goal in almost a decade, Luke Wilkshire has challenged his teammates to maintain their ruthless edge in chasing a second-straight title.
Wilkshire's 59th-minute cushioned finish was enough to overcome the previously unbeaten Melbourne City on Friday night, in a match where Tim Cahill left the field with an ankle injury putting him in doubt for next week's World Cup qualifier against Honduras.
It was the Sky Blues recruit's first league goal since netting for Dynamo Moscow in 2008 and improved the defending champions' record to four wins and a draw through five matches before next Friday's clash with the Central Coast Mariners.
"I cruised into that position last week, pretty much the same kind of scenario, and I didn't quite hit it back across goal enough," Wilkshire said. "This week I made sure I hit it back across goal, almost too much, but she got in there thankfully.
"It was so long ago [Wilkshire's last goal], I don't remember - 2008 was the last time I scored a league goal when I first went to Dynamo.
"It's one thing to win the league but, like they say, to do it back-to-back is another thing.
"As a professional, you've got to challenge yourself and push yourself. You can't sit and say I've won the league. You're only as good as your last game, as they say.
"It's a great challenge for everyone and something that we're all up for and looking forward to doing again."
Wilkshire is proving an inspired off-season signing by Sky Blues coach Graham Arnold, who signed the veteran of 80 Socceroos caps in July.
The 36-year-old was put through an exhaustive four-day medical to prove his fitness and has already established himself as an important member of Arnold's title-chasing squad.
"Everything's fantastic, it's such a great club to be in and to be around," Wilkshire said.
"The players have helped me settle in and Arnie, this atmosphere he has around the club from top to bottom, it's just fantastic, it's very easy to come in and to fit into it."
Sydney FC's impressive away win was overshadowed by Cahill's first-half injury. The Socceroos' match winner against Syria last month tried to run off a rolled ankle, but succumbed to the injury before racing off for scans on Friday night.
Melbourne City struggled to assert themselves on the visitors, but proved very difficult to break down before Wilkshire cropped up at the far post.
"They didn't really come out to play until the goal, to be honest," Wilkshire said. "They were solid, they sat back, they were trying to close down the spaces for us, which made it difficult to try and open them up.
"We kept the ball well, we moved them side to side, we played some decent football and we were patient, we had to be patient in such a game.
"I dropped him [Cahill] a message last night to see how he's doing, I haven't had a reply.
"Hopefully it's nothing serious. You never want anyone to have an injury especially with some important matches coming up."