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Oct 2, 2012

A-League stars ready for kick-off

Sydney FC striker Alessandro Del Piero is eager to make his first A-League appearance against Wellington this weekend.

• Brooks on Ono impact

The 2012/13 season was officially launched on Tuesday, with the Sky Blues joining Western Sydney, Newcastle, Central Coast and the Phoenix at Parramatta Stadium ahead of round one, which kicks off on Friday.

Sydney FC fans will be able to see Del Piero in action against Wellington and after displaying positive signs in an intra-club match last week, the 37-year-old is ready to make his debut.

"I have to take time with the team but at the moment it (my fitness) is good," Del Piero said. "The 70 minutes I played last week is good news for me and for the team.

"I'm OK for the first match and I want to improve day by day. We will have to see what happens with the flight to Wellington but I'm OK, I feel good, and this is the most important thing."

Newcastle Jets signing Emile Heskey is also confident of making an impact at his new club. Newcastle host Adelaide United at Hunter Stadium on Sunday, but Heskey is yet to discuss his involvement in the match with coach Gary van Egmond.

"I hope (I will play), fingers crossed," he said. "I have only done two training sessions and am still adjusting to the time difference but I'm looking forward to it.

"The Newcastle people have been brilliant. I have seen them walking about the streets and there is a real buzz around."

Ono also declared himself fit for the Western Sydney Wanderers' first-round clash with the Central Coast Mariners. The arrival of Del Piero, Heskey and Ono has delivered some much-needed attention to the A-League in the build-up to season eight.

Meanwhile, FFA chief executive Ben Buckley used the season launch to announce Korean motor company Hyundai had extended their naming rights sponsorship of the league until 2016.

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