In the future, glowing on the big screen at Campbelltown stadium, there will be a neon sign beckoning fans to choose a side. It’ll simply read: Milicic versus Stajcic.
This is a story about two similar coaches, sharing the same age and European heritage. As fate would have it, each mentored the Matildas at separate times.
As the former Australian women’s football coach, Alen Stajcic never got the chance to proudly relinquish his responsibilities. Neither was there a ceremonial passing of the torch to Ante Milicic.
Next season, redemption awaits and both managers will finally share the same field. In the battle for three precious points, Milicic’s Bulls will be locking horns with Stajcic’s Mariners.
The Macarthur Bulls have always been a team on the run – the football group was named after half a dozen First Fleet bovines that escaped Bennelong Point in 1788.
The wild animals were eventually found grazing southwest of Sydney, leading some folks to label the area Cowpastures. John Macarthur, who famously pioneered our wool industry, farmed the land.
Can Milicic be tamed? Rarely has he responded to the Matildas controversy. “Coaches come and go,” he deadpanned in February, adding little empathy to Stajcic’s cause.
Such poise and confidence would only come from a soldier supported by an entire army. In Milicic’s case, Campbelltown City Council provided that backbone, agreeing to hire out the local stadium for only a dollar per season to the Bulls.
This masterstroke allows Macarthur FC to save on operating costs. However, is it fair on the other A-League clubs?
This week Macarthur FC unveiled their inaugural home and away jersey. One particular shirt is a strikingly white number, featuring an embossed bull head.
It’s a bold move. Traditionally the colour white is recognised as a sign of truce or ceasefire. Nevertheless, it’s also the shade most likely to become dirty on a football pitch.
For the Mariners, however, it’s an invitation to impress their coach and get one back for Stajcic. Game on.