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Opinion

The spectacular return of Tom Rogic gives Australia a glimpse of his best

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Roar Rookie
27th January, 2022
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It was hot. It was wet. Momentum shifted dramatically from Australia to Vietnam and back again. When the pendulum swung for Vietnam, Mat Ryan was there. But when it swung for Australia, they capitalised. In the end the Socceroos came out on top.

The catalyst for their victory and arguably the only consistent performer throughout the night was Tom Rogic. The Celtic attacking midfielder, who has been experiencing something of a resurgence under former Socceroos manager Ange Postecoglou, with three goals and six assists and 18 games this season, showed the Australian public once more why he was once the most touted talent in the country.

Rogic excelled in his 73 minutes on the pitch in hot and humid climatic conditions far removed from the chillier climes of Glasgow, yet in this unfamiliar environment he put on an attacking midfielder performance that Australians should be proud of.

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Australia ran riot, but it was the former Mariner who set the scene for the game right at the outset. In the first minute Rogic had a goal disallowed when Jackson Irvine was judged to have obstructed Vietnamese goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong. Unimpacted by this decision, Rogic continued to deliver. He dropped deep to receive the ball, he drifted wide, he ran beyond and he produced all the hallmarks that great attacking midfielders do.

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Whether it was with incisive passing, which set up Mathew Leckie on two occasions in the first half, or with his driving dribbles, Rogic was the tone-setter for the Socceroos.

But he truly announced his return 30 minutes into the game. Drifting wide and receiving a pass from debutant Joel King deep in the left side of the box, Rogic lifted a lovely cross to the back post for Jamie Maclaren to head home.

And it was once more Rogic providing the goods 15 minutes later, this time with a goal of his own. After a Vietnam foul inside Australia’s half, Rogic played the free kick out wide for Mat Leckie and continued his run beyond the Vietnam defence. A simple pass saw Rogic play in on goal, and it was a simple finish to give the No. 23 his tenth goal for his country.

The score was 2-0 heading into halftime, and Rogic had all but catapulted Australia into the drivers seat of the game.

In his 30-odd second-half minutes Rogic supplemented his marauding, inquisitive first-half attacking performance with a solid defensive contribution as Australia were placed under significant pressure by a buoyant and desperate Vietnam side.

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It was an all-round spectacular performance from Rogic characterised by 15 minutes of goal-scoring and creative brilliance in the first half that would have surely catapulted the attacking midfielder back into contention for a permanent spot in the Socceroos side, especially against sides like Vietnam, who sit deep and absorb pressure.

He was once Australia’s crown attacking jewel. We seemed to lose him, but it appears at last, with the opponents bunkering down and restricting space and time, he returned with an incisive, matchwinning performance.

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