One man’s misfortune is another’s opportunity.
The fact that Melbourne City travelled to Perth missing several first team regulars for Sunday’s clash with the disgraced Perth Glory merely opens the door to a handful of youngsters, fringe players and those who were first choices but who have been ignored in recent times.
Iain Ramsay, who has been in and out of the team and the match-day squad, gets another chance to show John van ‘t Schip – or any other A-League coaches who might be interested – what he can do by being named in the travelling squad.
For youngsters such as Stefan Mauk, Marc Marino and Nick Symeoy, it is a chance to get a taste of first team involvement. And for Jack Clisby it is a chance to return to his former club and perhaps reflect on how lucky he was to escape from the west earlier this year before the full force of the FFA’s penalty for cheating the salary cap was brought down on Glory.
Marino is a striker with some first team action earlier this season, coming off the bench in the very first game against Sydney when none other than David Villa was in the side.
An Adelaide born and raised youngster, the Reds trialled Marino but did not sign him. Instead, the AIS graduate joined City. So far the 18-year-old has made four appearances and scored once.
Stefan Mauk is a familiar face at La Trobe, having been signed by Heart in 2013 and been retained through the rebirth of the club as Melbourne City. He has made 19 appearances for the sky blues, but has yet to hit the target. Mauk is an attacking midfielder who has represented his country at under 17, under 20 and under 23 level.
Nick Symeoy is a young defender from the club’s National Youth League-winning squad who has made one senior appearance, coming off the bench in the 1-0 away win over Sydney in March.
Clisby is likely to be the only starter among this group, slotting in at left back for the injured Safawan Baharudin. With Kew Jaliens suspended, Paulo Retre is set to come into the side at right back, while David Williams could start up front alongside Robert Koren and Harry Novillo.
In midfield, Mass Murdocca could slot in with Erik Paartalu and Aaron Mooy, with Connor Chapman and skipper Paddy Kisnorboat the heart of City’s defence in front of now first choice goalkeeper Tando Velaphi.
Glory will be playing its final home match of the season and will be hoping to put on a better show than it did last week, when it crashed 3-0 to Sydney FC.
The club has been fined $269,000 and excluded from the finals this year. It will be anxious to retain as many players as possible for next season, but that could be problematic.
Still, owner Tony Sage says the club will learn from the experience and put the past behind it.
“A line in the sand has now been drawn and the club will work with the FFA to improve Glory’s administration processes and protocols and hopefully our systems will be the benchmark of the Hyundai A-League,” he said.
“I must stress that while the club has accepted the FFA’s sanctions and fines, the club does not have a culture of systemic rorting. We reiterate that all payments were made from the club’s bank account. It is important to note that for seasons 2012-13 and 2013-14 the club failed to report benefits, in relation to accommodation and vehicles but it did not exceed the salary cap.”
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