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Beware the rise of the unpopular Melbourne Victory

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    Marco Rojas in action for Melbourne Victory. (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

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    It is easy to dislike Melbourne Victory. For everyone but their supporters, Victory can come across as the smug know-it-all you just wish would leave the party early.

    Call it envy, call it pettiness, call it what you will – as a Sydneysider now living in Brisbane, there’s little I enjoy more than watching Victory crash to defeat.

    In fact, there’s no team I love to see lose more than the boys in navy blue and even among the most casual of A-League supporters, I doubt I’m in a minority of one.

    But increasingly Victory defeats are looking a thing of the past and after succumbing 4-2 to a rampant Adelaide United back in Round 10, the Victorian giants have since picked up seven points out of a possible nine.

    It would have been maximum points were it not for an heroic performance from former Victory goalkeeper Michael Theo at AAMI Park and suddenly Ange Postecoglou’s side are looking the team to fear most.

    Crucially the Victory have added some mettle to their undoubted attacking flair, snatching pulsating late victories against city rivals Heart and a thrilling 3-2 win over the Newcastle Jets.

    And for those who doubted Postecoglou’s ability to get the best out of players, how else to explain the scintillating form of Kiwi youngster Marco Rojas?

    The former Wellington Phoenix wizard has scored nine goals and added five assists in a career-best burst of form, despite only featuring on the periphery of the Victory squad last season.

    Perhaps the exit of Harry Kewell has helped, but Rojas’ transformation from bit-part player to key figure is nothing short of remarkable and goes a long way to showing how vital a role confidence plays in driving match-winning performances.

    His first goal against Newcastle was stunning but it was his Messi-esque second, in which Rojas sensationally jinked the ball up on the turn before pirouetting and smashing an unstoppable volley past Mark Birighitti, which cemented Rojas’ reputation as the A-League’s best and brightest young star.

    How the Socceroos could do with such an outstanding young talent – but if All Whites fans are having the last laugh in that department, spare a thought for Wellington Phoenix supporters.

    Having chipped in to fund Rojas’ trial with the Phoenix, they’re now forced to suffer the ignominy of watching New Zealand football’s brightest talent turn out for Melbourne Victory.

    It’s all part and parcel of what makes Victory the club rival fans love to hate – the Collingwood or Manly of the A-League, if you will – but it’s an absorbing narrative and one which gives the competition a wonderful sense of drama.

    And with Rojas stealing the limelight, he’s helped the likes of Nathan Coe, Mark Milligan and Billy Celeski transform the Victory from a side which capitulated 5-0 to Brisbane Roar in Round 2 into an outfit which suddenly looks capable of beating anyone.

    They’ll face a stern test against Western Sydney Wanderers on New Year’s Day in what is arguably the match of the round and with further away trips to Perth, Adelaide, Gosford, Brisbane and Wellington still to come, there’s no guarantee Victory will finish in the top four.

    What can be assured is that Postecoglou won’t rest until he’s made his mark on his home town.

    You get the sense the once-maligned Young Socceroos coach would love nothing more than to make Victory the biggest club in Asia.

    They’re certainly on the way to becoming one of the most attractive, at least in terms of their football, even if most A-League fans approach Victory’s results with a mixture of schadenfreude and envy.

    But if Postecoglou’s reign in Brisbane taught us anything, it’s to take heed of the machine he’s clearly capable of assembling.

    He could even spell out his New Year’s resolution in six simple words.

    Beware the rise of Melbourne Victory.

    Mike Tuckerman
    Mike Tuckerman

    Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he settled in Brisbane, and has been a leading Roar football columnist from December 2008.

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    The Crowd Says (53)

    • December 31st 2012 @ 6:57am
      Bondy. said | December 31st 2012 @ 6:57am | ! Report

      In relation to melbourne overall as a new south welshman this is the state to hate not queensland for mine, I feel as a football supporter and as a nsw man our great sports rivalry is with melbourne not queensland ,it must be my old nsl days watching the likes of south melb @mlb cro that i feel is nsw’s great rival there bigger than queensland on all fronts melbourne.

      Postecoglou’s got them playing some decent stuff, where what they were playing last year now sfc have taken that mantle not being able to play out from the back and losing possesion in your own third,Postecoglou I believe also has not spent this season so can arm himself for next year which could be dangerous again.

      We dont need Fussball here crowing and touting thanks. Lol.

    • December 31st 2012 @ 7:27am
      brent said | December 31st 2012 @ 7:27am | ! Report

      Like it or not, success of the big city clubs is important for the league, and MV is definitely one of those teams. I think WSW will take the mantle of Sydney’s biggest team soon. By the way, how did you know about schadenfreude?

    • December 31st 2012 @ 7:58am
      Stevo said | December 31st 2012 @ 7:58am | ! Report

      Well you gotta hand it to MV. From the outset, they proclaimed themselves the biggest, best, most shiniest team in the HAL and guess what? That attitude transmits itself throughout the club and to the players – ensuring that mediocrity is weeded out and the aim is to fill the trophy cabinet. If only my HeartFC could show the same ambition. Proclaiming ourselves in favour of youth development and community sure sounds nice but it’s low key and wimpy. The fans want trophies Scott Munn. Selling players and balancing the books is not the kind of ambition that generates new members. Well done MV (typed that in through gritted teeth 🙁 ).

      • December 31st 2012 @ 10:26am
        Qantas supports Australian Football said | December 31st 2012 @ 10:26am | ! Report

        I enjoy nothing more then to see the Heart beat the MBV in the derbies… It’s always great theatre to see the underdog overcome the Beast!!!… I reckon Aloisi will be more revered as a manager then Postecoglou is in Melbourne one day.. Then hope he will move to SFC to resurrect the greatest club of all, to its rightful position, as the best club of all time, in Australia… 😀

        • December 31st 2012 @ 11:17am
          Stevo said | December 31st 2012 @ 11:17am | ! Report

          LOL, we’ll do the hard yards and suffer through some (lots?) disappointment so that SFC can then poach a “revered gaffer”. Can’t wait for it to happen! 😉

        • December 31st 2012 @ 1:26pm
          vinie said | December 31st 2012 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

          LOL cos moving to SFC will be a step forward in his career wouldnt it Mr Qantas

          by the time anything like that happens SFC will be just about finished, no fans and bankrupt ($25 million loss in 8 years of operation already)

          • December 31st 2012 @ 2:10pm
            Qantas supports Australian Football said | December 31st 2012 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

            No, WSW will be dumped by the FFA because they have failed to get the 15-20k you bogans said would come on mass over to WSW this season. Only 9k at your last home game—what a disappointment and still no owner on the horizon. The WSW is the FFA’s free riding barnacle on their backside. You bogans are making the GWS look like a powerhouse in the west. Better start looking over your shoulder when you start losing a few games… Or Frank will be tempted to pull the plug—if he is not thinking about it already. Here’s a thought give Ian Rowden a ring… Go you Rovers..! 😀

            • December 31st 2012 @ 5:36pm
              NY said | December 31st 2012 @ 5:36pm | ! Report

              It could be worse. He could go to the land of the banjo playing, redneck bogans. And then be forced to play for some team with a 300 base fan club. Play for a fat mining magnate who doesn’t pay him properly or know anything about the sport he is putting his dirty money into.

              • January 2nd 2013 @ 12:37pm
                Qantas supports Australian Football said | January 2nd 2013 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

                Silly boy—-We are talking about SFC (the beautiful harbour city football club) and who is this man you speak of; Frank Lowy…?

    • December 31st 2012 @ 8:22am
      vinie said | December 31st 2012 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      As a western sydney wanders supporter that lives 5 minutes from Parramatta stadium, i have supported the Melbourne victory for the last 8 seasons since sydney didnt have a team, well sydney FC where there but didnt appeal to me at all, Actually i loved watching them lose and especially loved watching MV beat Syd fc.

      actually nothing satisifed me more than watching MV recently come from 2-0 down to beat syd fc 3-2.

      the only arrogance i see is from socceroos fans trying to claim or wish Marco Rojas should of been playing for australia, he’s kiwi and born and raised in NZ, lets stop dreaming and respect that New Zealand have an international football team and thats where Rojas rightfully belongs to.

      • December 31st 2012 @ 7:48pm
        Pauly said | December 31st 2012 @ 7:48pm | ! Report

        Hence an Aus-NZ match now has much more appeal. friendly in 2013?

      • January 2nd 2013 @ 10:26am
        Minister for Information for the Democratic People's Republic of Football said | January 2nd 2013 @ 10:26am | ! Report

        You live in Sydney and support Victory ? Please explain. Are you a Victorian expat or are you morally challenged?

        • January 2nd 2013 @ 10:36am
          Titus said | January 2nd 2013 @ 10:36am | ! Report

          Yeah, it kind of make you wonder, is MVFC the most hated team or is SFC?

    • December 31st 2012 @ 8:28am
      MV Dave said | December 31st 2012 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      Biggest club with largest supporter base no doubt however, the last couple of seasons have been very poor on the field. This season, after a slow start, the club is finally seeing the fruits of its decision to bring back to Melbourne AP. He is showing himself to be a future Socceroos coach, but not before bringing success to MV. You can have the best marquee money can buy but if you don’t have the right coach…the improvement in Victory’s on field playing style has been remarkable considering we are only 11 games into the season.
      I have no doubt that with both domestic and, so far very elusive, Asian CL success Victory could become the biggest club in Asia. The potential is certainly there and anyone who has been to recent games at AAMI Park will have no doubt it is possible.
      Long may Victory be the most despised club in the league because, as has been shown in other competitions around the world, it usually means they are the most successful.

    • December 31st 2012 @ 8:48am
      Darwin stubby said | December 31st 2012 @ 8:48am | ! Report

      With the form he’s showing – Rojas will be off soon – hopefully Europe … He has the potential to be the best kiwi export since Rufer

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