THE Western Sydney Wanderers have taken the first step in a 53-day marathon in which they will play 13 matches.
That's a match every four days or so, a schedule that's bound to test the limits of the club's playing resources.
Coach Tony Popovic's strategy of resting players leading up to this tough period will also come under examination.
In any case, the Wanderers passed the first hurdle with flying colours, beating the Glory 2-0 in Perth on Saturday night.
They are now just four points away from competition leaders Brisbane Roar, who were ambushed 1-0 in Melbourne by the Heart on Sunday.
The next game in the Wanderers' marathon is their first-ever Asian Champions League match tomorrow night.
They'll play 2012 champions Ulsan Hyundai at home.
Then the Wanderers will be back home on Sunday when they host the Newcastle Jets in round 21 of the A-League.
Just a few rounds ago, the Brisbane Roar seemed unassailable and certain Premier's Plate winners.
Now, after two straight losses and with seven rounds left, they are within sight of the Wanderers, who are a real chance of retaining the plate if their momentum continues.