Filip Holosko finding form for Sydney FC in the A-League
There's a quiet but distinct air of confidence about Filip Holosko this A-League season.
It could be that Sydney FC's Slovak marquee is finally getting used to Australia's hard pitches.
Maybe too it's that his family is settled and his language skills improved to the point that the softly spoken 32-year-old swore in English after missing a header in Saturday's 4-0 win over Central Coast.
But it's perhaps Sydney's reinvented attack that's contributed most, unleashing an element of Holosko's game that lay dormant last campaign despite his 10 goals.
Where Holosko previously operated solely on the right wing, his new tendency to drift into the centre as a second striker has already yielded him a league-high three goals in the opening two rounds.
The club's decision to reunite him with newly recruited Brazilian striker Bobo has been a revelation, their rekindled Besiktas partnership already bearing the kind of fruit championship contenders are made of.
It's a relationship Holosko feels has allowed him to play with more freedom.
"Last year I played more wide but this year I am more like a second striker with Bobo, I feel this is better for me," Holosko said.
"I played with Bobo three or four years in Besiktas, so I know what to expect from him and he knows what to expect from me."
Add to the fray the contributions of Milos Ninkovic, the fulcrum of the Sky Blues' increasingly clinical attack.
The skilful Serbian was superb at Allianz Stadium, anticipating Holosko's run with an inch-perfect pass that allowed the Slovak to score the opener before netting a second from the penalty spot for his 100th career goal.
Holosko feels something is different about this season compared to the disappointment of the last.
"I'm more settled," Holosko said. "And I'm used to the pitches in Australia... but we also have a better team than last year."
Ninkovic felt most foreigners need a season to gel with new teammates and adjust to Australia's physical league.
Apart from Bobo, that is, who he was shocked to see excel straight away to the point coach Graham Arnold said the squad were still catching up to their new target man.
"Bobo makes probably 20-25 forward runs in behind per game and we're not seeing them," Arnold said.
"Ninko and Brosquey can see them because they're on that level of being switched on that way.
"But the young boys in midfield, Brandon [O'Neill] and Joshy [Brillante], every week we're looking at video showing them the runs Bobo is making."