Was Marrone completely at fault?

Nikola Pozder Roar Rookie

By Nikola Pozder, Nikola Pozder is a Roar Rookie New author!


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    Sporting fans around the country are horrified after the Westfield FFA Cup. Many of these fans have never watched a football match in their lives.

    In what was arguably the best Westfield FFA Cup final in it’s short history, Sydney FC’s extra-time win over Adelaide United was marred by an incident involving the Reds’ Michael Marrone.

    Now known as ‘the ball boy pusher’, Marrone was sent off in the second half of extra-time on Tuesday night in Sydney.

    Marrone has been slammed from all corners of the country with Today Show co-host Karl Stefanovic even weighing in, suggesting the Adelaide right-back should be banned for months.

    United coach Marco Kurz apologised post-match to the ball boy and his father but reiterated that this isn’t in Marrone’s nature.

    ‘Mickey is a quiet boy’, he said.

    ‘I can only say Mickey is very down in the dressing room and I think he spoke with the boy after the game.’

    Michael Marrone Adelaide United Football FFA Cup 2017

    (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

    Marrone did react in the wrong way no doubt, but if we look at the video footage closely, a few things appear that the FFA must take into consideration when handing out any suspensions.

    Instead of rolling the ball to the defender, the ball boy refuses to in an attempt to waste time, resulting in Marrone moving forward to get the ball off him.

    As he reaches in to take the ball, the youngster turns his back to Marrone, leading to the child falling over.

    ‘Player-ball boy’ issues aren’t new to the football world, with Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard getting muddled up with one in 2013.

    Hazard’s confrontation seemed worse, where he even kicked the ball boy, coming away with a three-match ban from the incident.

    When looking at ‘the ball boy pusher’s’ past, he has an almost impeccable record as a defender.

    According to renowned German transfer website transfermarkt.com, in close to 200 professional games, Marrone has picked up 27 yellow cards and only one red.

    These statistics speak enough about who the right-back is and is one that very rarely is seen making any untoward scenes or problems on the football pitch.

    Hopefully the FFA looks at all aspects of this incident and does not fall to media pressure on a ‘lengthy’ ban.

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    The Crowd Says (70)

    • November 23rd 2017 @ 9:34am
      Andrew said | November 23rd 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

      Your breakdown of the incident is reasonably accurate.
      But. You left out one bit – he is a man, the boy is a boy, and he man handlled him resulting in the boy going to the ground. I would even concede that if the boy had studs on and was standing on the artificial turf area near the tunnel, his footing could easily be lost with some force applied to him. But the boy’s responsibility, or job, are completely and utterly irrelevant – that is the bit that shouldn’t be lost. If the boy had sworn at him, would it have given the player the right to smack him? Of course not. There is no circumstance where a player should be touching a child on the sideline. Period.

      If this incident occurred in the NRL or AFL, media and fans from every club would be demanding a contract be torn up.

      If it were an under 16’s match at a local ground and a coach or team manager grabbed at a young child on the sideline who picked up the ball – you would have an all-in brawl and parents banned for life – no matter what code.

      He can be apologetic, he can have very few yellow cards in his life, but at the end of the day, what he did was beyond wrong. He should be sat down for 8 weeks to send a very clear message and reassure parents that football is not a sport where violent behaviour will be tolerated by anyone.

      • November 23rd 2017 @ 11:35am
        chris said | November 23rd 2017 @ 11:35am | ! Report

        Think of the children!

        • November 24th 2017 @ 12:32pm
          g said | November 24th 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report


      • November 23rd 2017 @ 12:02pm
        vin said | November 23rd 2017 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

        Marrone’s objective was only to get the ball quickly back into play, he wasn’t reacting and striking the child.

        this is the Jerry springer show, you have Karl stefanovic calling for a ban on national tv, and the kid was treated like a hero when he should be disiplined for interferring with the game instead of assisting.

        give the kid a medal and a place on the podium, what a farce.

        do you see Marrone punching, kicking or striking the child?

        im a sydney fc fan mind you, i dont wish to see that ball boy again.

    • November 23rd 2017 @ 9:43am
      BigAl said | November 23rd 2017 @ 9:43am | ! Report

      child abuse ?

      • November 23rd 2017 @ 10:44am
        Kangajets said | November 23rd 2017 @ 10:44am | ! Report

        Child abuse. , R u serious

        Please don’t compare this with real child abuse

      • November 23rd 2017 @ 12:49pm
        g said | November 23rd 2017 @ 12:49pm | ! Report


    • November 23rd 2017 @ 9:48am
      Lionheart said | November 23rd 2017 @ 9:48am | ! Report

      the ball boy was definitely a contributor and should be disciplined. If not, then what next for ball boys? Are they part of the home team and allowed to interfere to assist their team mates? Part of the game plan? Should teams have their own ball boys now who train and travel with the team?
      Marrone was at fault for grabbing for the ball from the kid. He’ll have to face the consequences. So too should the brat who started it, and he should be banned from side-line duties.

    • Roar Guru

      November 23rd 2017 @ 9:59am
      spruce moose said | November 23rd 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

      A boy is prone to be immature. A man shouldn’t be.

      The boy was wrong to do what he did, and I’m sure he’ll now never do that again. But he is a boy.

      The man was wrong to do what he did, and there can be no excuse.

      6 weeks. Marrone is a nice man, but he does need to be the scapegoat and 6 weeks will send the message that this can never be accepted.

      All clubs will have to be crystal clear to the boys as to what their sole role is, and tell them that they are replaceable. There’s literally thousands of kids across Australia who would gladly want to do this.

      • Roar Guru

        November 23rd 2017 @ 10:10am
        AdelaideDocker said | November 23rd 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

        Yeah, fair points! Both are partial to a share of the blame, and both should be disciplined.

        I’d say three or four weeks would be more appropriate for Marrone, though.

        • Roar Guru

          November 23rd 2017 @ 10:21am
          spruce moose said | November 23rd 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

          The reason why I say 6 is primarily because ball boys need to have near to the same status of referees.

          If he did that to a referee, he’d be banned for the season.

          The punishment needs to be hefty to ensure the message is sent.

          • Roar Guru

            November 23rd 2017 @ 10:32am
            AdelaideDocker said | November 23rd 2017 @ 10:32am | ! Report

            The reason why I say three or four is you’ve gotta evaluate it in context.

            You’re right: if he’d done this to a referee, we wouldn’t be seeing him on the pitch again for a long, long while. You’d only attack a ref though, if you were psychotic or if you’d received a bad call against you, neither of which

            If he did it to the kid for no apparent reason, I’d want him banned for six weeks or more. But it wasn’t for no reason; the game was being held up by the kid, and the player was making an effort to get the ball to continue the game. It wasn’t an unprovoked action, and that should be considered by the judiciary, in my opinion.

            I’m not justifying what he did – it shouldn’t have happened – but the context is key here.

            • November 23rd 2017 @ 10:43am
              Andrew said | November 23rd 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

              Docker, not meaning to be picky, but you did justify, to some degree, what Marrone did. You said “it wasn’t for no reason”. There actually is no reason to touch the boy. Whether the boy is keeping the ball from him, giving him the finger, mooning him, there isn’t a reason to touch him. I agree that it should be 6-8 weeks.

              If your child was rude to a random adult in a shopping centre, you might apologise and discipline your child, but if someone else grabbed your child, you would be into them quick smart, and i would back you because you shouldn’t be physical with anyone else’s children with the exception of the most extreme situation.

      • Roar Guru

        November 23rd 2017 @ 11:28am
        Paul D said | November 23rd 2017 @ 11:28am | ! Report

        100% agreed with all of that Spruce. I’d also go so far as to say that ballboy never gets the gig again at an SFC game. He got his medal and his 15 mins of fame. But he blotted his copybook badly and showed he can’t be trusted.

      • November 23rd 2017 @ 12:28pm
        Lionheart said | November 23rd 2017 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

        “All clubs will have to be crystal clear to the boys as to what their sole role is”
        If clubs are providing ball boys for our professional league, we’ve got it wrong.
        The clubs should have nothing to do with the ball boys at an A League match. They don’t at internationals.

        • Roar Guru

          November 23rd 2017 @ 3:58pm
          spruce moose said | November 23rd 2017 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

          Focusing on the wrong entity Lionheart.

          It doesn’t matter who is providing the ball boys. The point remains the same.

          • November 23rd 2017 @ 4:27pm
            Lionheart said | November 23rd 2017 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

            absolutely, I agree, the ball boys must be made aware, if they are not already, of their duties. I suspect they are already made well aware. But there is a massive difference if the clubs are involved in training and selecting ball-boys, as you suggest they are. If that is the case, it should stop immediately. The ball-boys should be identified in the referee ‘match officials’ group, not in the player or teams group.

      • November 23rd 2017 @ 12:48pm
        Melange said | November 23rd 2017 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

        Why 6 weeks? What did Marrone do?

        • November 23rd 2017 @ 1:30pm
          Andrew said | November 23rd 2017 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

          Sweet, So next time someone random adult walks past your brat of a child and wants what they have, you have no problem with them running up and knocking them down to take what they want…

          • November 23rd 2017 @ 2:58pm
            LuckyEddie said | November 23rd 2017 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

            Get a grip Andy.

          • November 23rd 2017 @ 3:04pm
            James said | November 23rd 2017 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

            This is a ridiculous comparison. He’s not trying to grab something from a random child – he has every right to the ball and the ball boy has no right to refuse it.

            The better analogy would be a child takes something from your bag stands their refusing to give it back while the responsible parent ignores it – do you go to take back your property or not?

            It is also very clear that he went to grab the ball not the child, and the kid was petulant in turning around and very deliberately falling over under minimal pressure (merely the act of reaching around to grab the ball – not in the slightest way aggressive). When you take this in the context of what the kid was reportedly saying beforehand “I have cramp I can’t throw the ball” – he knew exactly what he was doing and played the whole thing up.

            Watch the video of the incident and you can clearly see until the entrance of Matt Simon it was a nothing event – without that highly aggressive intervention what would have happened is kid falls over, looks stupid – Michael would have been the first to help him up – touchline staff have a laugh while kid looks sheepish, the end. Matt Simon running in at a million miles an hour and lunging for Michael Marrone’s neck is the most disgraceful act of all in this whole incident and it is disgusting that he has not been punished and will not be punished for this.

            • November 23rd 2017 @ 3:51pm
              Nemesis said | November 23rd 2017 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

              Super analogy, James. By far, the best explanation of what transpired for anyone who didn’t see it, or chooses to ignore the juvenile’s behaviour.

          • November 23rd 2017 @ 4:21pm
            Melange said | November 23rd 2017 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

            Just asking the question Andrew. People can have different opinions and I accept that. Just as often people are just plain wrong and if you think your version is similar in any way to what actually happened, I hope you never accept jury duty.

            What is spruce suggesting Marrone did that warrants 6 weeks.

            I only viewed the incident on the night, with the benefit of a couple of replays. I saw player go to get the ball; as the player reached for it the boy turned around and shielded it; player reached around to try to grab it; to me they seemed to tumble off balance – I don’t believe from the footage Marrone tried to tackle him to the ground.

            I would have preferred the player call to an official to bring his attention to it. He didn’t and unfortunately they fell over.

            I wouldn’t give the player 6 weeks. What is spruce saying Marrone actually did that warrants six weeks.

          • November 23rd 2017 @ 4:35pm
            Melange said | November 23rd 2017 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

            and my children are not brats, they’re angels, just ask their grandmother

          • November 24th 2017 @ 12:34pm
            g said | November 24th 2017 @ 12:34pm | ! Report


      • November 23rd 2017 @ 2:38pm
        Basil said | November 23rd 2017 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

        If boys are immature than maybe they shouldn’t be given the responsibility to assist in a cup final. He knew what he was doing.
        It’s never the kids fault, it’s the teachers, the coaches etc. We are raising a pampered generation, that show little respect to adults, that are excused for there actions. It’s always someone else’s fault.

        • November 23rd 2017 @ 3:38pm
          northerner said | November 23rd 2017 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

          The boy was in the wrong, but he’s a child; what’s the excuse for an adult? Or isn’t it his fault either? Maybe his parents, his coach, his teachers?

          • November 23rd 2017 @ 3:53pm
            Basil said | November 23rd 2017 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

            Wasn’t condoning the players actions.

            You’re right I guess. Children don’t need to behave because they are children.

            • November 23rd 2017 @ 8:24pm
              northerner said | November 23rd 2017 @ 8:24pm | ! Report

              Of course children need to behave. But what I’m seeing here is a lot of people excusing or minimizing the behaviour of an adult. Surely, the behavioural standards for a grown man ought to be higher, yet the focus is on the kid’s mistake, as though that’s an excuse for the adult’s bigger mistake. Why punish the child, if you’re not prepared to punish the grown-up?

          • November 23rd 2017 @ 4:31pm
            Lionheart said | November 23rd 2017 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

            he’s a child? I don’t know how old but if he is a mere child, as you suggest, he should not have been there. He looked in the 12-14 age group to me.
            Can you imagine a ball boy in the Australian Open tennis or other WTA acting like this kid did? Extremely unprofessional if that is the level we get and accept from our ball boys.

            • November 23rd 2017 @ 4:38pm
              Gavin R said | November 23rd 2017 @ 4:38pm | ! Report

              This behaviour is not new in any sport with children in such positions.

        • November 24th 2017 @ 12:36pm
          g said | November 24th 2017 @ 12:36pm | ! Report


    • November 23rd 2017 @ 10:40am
      Nemesis said | November 23rd 2017 @ 10:40am | ! Report

      The way people are carrying on you would think the Ball Boy ended up in the Emergency Ward & was on life support. Marrone over-reacted to a di*khead teenager who was acting like di*khead teenagers behave.

      If this kid continues with this type of behaviour in the real world – intentionally antagonisinig people – he’ll find the reactions are far worse than what Marrone did; and he’ll quickly learn to stop being a dickhead.

      Most likely, Graham Arnold had instructed the ball kids to slow down the game once Sydney were in front in the Extra Time.

      What is clear from this incident. Ball Kids now have complete freedom to waste time & I sincerely hope every team does this whenever they play Sydney Fc.

      Marrone should get no more than the obligatory 1 week ban, but given the moral outrage from certain sections, I’m sure the ban will be 2 extra matches. Same as Berisha got for pushing a match official’s hands away, when the match official has no authority to touch any player in the first place.

      • November 23rd 2017 @ 11:00am
        Caltex Ten & SBS support Australian Football said | November 23rd 2017 @ 11:00am | ! Report

        As a SFC supporter and I’m embarrassed of the behaviour of our club in regard of protecting this di*khead teenager. He was there to do a job fairly and I think he acted on his own accord and that is unfortunate. I certainly do not think Arnold had given him any instruction of any sort to slow down play. I fully understand Marone’s action and he was put in an awkward position because of it. Although I do think he should be given a clear warning of no repeat occurrence. As for the di*khead teenager he should never be asked to take part in any further games involving SFC, it was embarrassing to witness such poor unsporting behaviour from my club.

        • November 23rd 2017 @ 11:44am
          Slane said | November 23rd 2017 @ 11:44am | ! Report

          The smirk on the kid’s face after the fight made me want to push him over as well. He was proper pleased with himself.

      • Roar Guru

        November 23rd 2017 @ 11:22am
        spruce moose said | November 23rd 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

        “Most likely, Graham Arnold had instructed the ball kids to slow down the game once Sydney were in front in the Extra Time.”

        Any proof of that?

        • November 23rd 2017 @ 12:30pm
          Lionheart said | November 23rd 2017 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

          if he had proof I think he would’ve used stronger words than ‘most likely’.

          • November 23rd 2017 @ 3:00pm
            LuckyEddie said | November 23rd 2017 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

            Arnold time wastes in every game however he can.

    • November 23rd 2017 @ 10:41am
      Kangajets said | November 23rd 2017 @ 10:41am | ! Report

      They were both at fault imo

      I be disappointed if my son did what the ball boy did

      • November 23rd 2017 @ 11:38am
        chris said | November 23rd 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

        I certainly wouldn’t be giving the brat a medal.

        • November 23rd 2017 @ 12:43pm
          Mark said | November 23rd 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

          I thought SFC involving the kid in the celebrations, while well intentioned, only made the matter worse and was overall in poor taste. Regardless of what happened to him, which in all honesty was hardly anything serious, his own acts shouldn’t be ignored and he should certainly not be celebrated.

          • November 23rd 2017 @ 3:00pm
            LuckyEddie said | November 23rd 2017 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

            The kids medal was pure PC BS for PR purposes.