By Steve Larkin
Frank Farina hasn't played soccer for 15 years, but reckons he could have easily got touches against his hapless Sydney FC on New Year's Eve.
The Sky Blues coach watched Adelaide United tear apart his injury-ravaged A-League team, who lost 3-0 at Hindmarsh Stadium last night.
"I think I could have played out there with a red [Adelaide] shirt on," the 48-year-old said.
Farina was forced to delve into the shallow depths of his playing squad to field a team - his injured list included marquee signing Alessandro Del Piero, Jason Culina, Paul Reid, Ivan Necevski, Fabio, Pascal Bosschaart and Krunoslav Lovrek.
And when experienced midfielder Adam Griffiths limped off in the 12th minute with a knee injury, Farina summoned 16-year-old Aaron Calver as his replacement.
"We were out-experienced, we only had Brett [Emerton] and Terry [McFlynn] on the park who you would call experienced players," Farina said.
"When the 16-year-olds start to be your better players, it shows we're lacking players at the moment and lacking experience.
"As we know in football, when a team gets a goal, their intensity and adrenaline rises and yours goes a bit flat.
"When you've got a lot of young players, it's hard for them to rally and get going.
"It's giving young players an opportunity but at the same time a lesson in the brutality of football."
While Del Piero is expected to return against Perth on Saturday, Griffiths has a strained medial ligament in his right knee.
"He trained Sunday and said he was OK," said Farina. "It [the knee] was strapped but 10 minutes in, it wasn't happening.
"It's something that will linger on for the next two, three weeks ... he will definitely be out for Perth."