At times it appeared it was never going to be this way.

There were persistent doubts over Corica's ability to take over the reigning Premiers. Did he have a strong enough personality? Could he manage a side thought to be inflated with egos after Graham Arnold's bravura man-management? 

Was he going to be an Arnie clone or his own man, and who exactly would that man be?

There were so many uncertainties over Corica's role entering this season that after a shaky start, in which a direct style wasn't flattering the likes of Adam le Fondre and results were patchy, many began to write him off.

Now, however, the Sky Blues are second to only a rampant Perth side. They've shown incredible resilience and, as Alex Wilkinson noted after last night's clinical 2-0 drubbing of Adelaide United, they can "grind out results".

“It was always going to come,” Corica said.

“It’s about getting the combinations right and the attitude, the attitude’s been fantastic all year but we’re probably playing at 43 per cent at the moment and we’re going to get better.

“We’ve got a long way to go, a lot of points to pick up and it’s getting better with Reza in the squad, looking forward to having Brosquey back and Danny [De Silva] back and once we get Sim [De Jong] back as well I think we have a very strong squad with great depth in it.”

Corica's confidence stems from a squad - much like their bitter Big Blue rivals - that has been unsettled all season due to a plethora of departures and injuries. But while Melbourne Victory have drawn the focus, Sydney have flown under the radar.

Whether they'll be able to replicate this quite-achiever mentality throughout a dramatic finals run-in and the Championship rounds themselves is going to be a whole new challenge for the Silver Fox.

But Corica's Sydney are no Arnold copycats. The recruitment of Reza Ghoochannedjad alongside Adam le Fondre is a notable departure from the days of Bobo and Matt Simon.

There is a similar emphasis on lock-down defence in the latter stages of matches, but a growing fluidity among the Sky Blues' style and reliance on pace - which perhaps may have been much more overt had Trent Buhagiar not torn his ACL in pre-season - offers a different dynamic.

Much like Corica's emergent personality, this team is a little quieter, a little less aggressive and quite possibly, a little more resilient than their predecessor. 

“First half was excellent I thought, probably the best we’ve played all season which was great," Corica said.

"Then the second half turned a little bit but sometimes you have to defend and we defended really well and kept another clean sheet which is great.

“It takes a little bit of time, (Reza Ghoochannedjad) hasn’t been here a long time so the combination between him and (le Fondre) is really working, both very good strikers, both will score goals.

"We didn’t have Brosquey tonight either so I’m looking forward to having him back as well to have a headache to see who starts.”