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Western United coach Mark Rudan says all A-League games should kick off after 6.30 pm to avoid players battling extreme heat in the summer.
Every A-League game should kick-off after 6.30 pm.
That’s the simple solution Western United coach Mark Rudan has offered to solve the league’s futile battle with Australia’s scorching summer.
Rudan hailed the endeavours of both his side and Newcastle after they gallantly fought out a goalless draw at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.
“I thought it was incredible from both sets of players,” he said.
“How they were able to withstand that heat and humidity and put on a show for their fans and for their respective clubs, I take my hat off to both sets of players.”
The contest was almost delayed after temperatures approached 40C in Broadmeadow, which limited the crowd to just 5458 people.
It also prompted officials to stop the game four times – twice in each half – for drinks breaks on the sideline.
Rudan believes the conditions robbed viewers of more entertainment.
“For me the two most important components in our game are the fans and the players,” he said.
“They want to see a spectacle. They want to see an entertaining game, a quick-paced game as well. I thought they were let down.”
The former Fox Sports commentator acknowledged the need to work with the needs of the broadcaster, who often base the schedule around viewers numbers.
But Rudan is adamant that a serious conversation with powerbrokers is needed at the end of the season to deal with matches affected by heat.
“Because it’s not just the two teams are involved today,” he said.
“We’ve seen quite a number of games and number of teams in the league this year play in this kind of extreme heat.
“And it doesn’t make for good viewing. It really doesn’t. You’re putting the players’ welfare at risk as well. And I think that’s paramount in this.”
Rudan threw up a straightforward answer to the issue.
“I think every game should be played after, let’s say, 6.30 (pm)” he said.
“But that’s just that’s just my point of view from a coach and someone that needs to protect their own football club and the players.”
United were barely in the fight against the Jets, who were unable to convert a whopping 27-6 advantage in shots on goal into three points.
But considering he was without marquee and captain Alessandro Diamanti, who is expected back next week, Rudan was satisfied with the result.
“If you look at the players that we started with and who we ended with, I was really proud of them,” he said.