The Roar
The Roar



Why Australia should have faith in potential supersub Tilio

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Roar Rookie
16th November, 2022

“Hey Marco, how quickly can you get to the airport?”

“I’ll be there in two minutes.”

I can just imagine how Marco Tilio felt getting the call telling him he’d be flying out to join the Socceroos in Qatar. Feelings of pure bliss. Excitement. Ecstasy. Whether it was Coach Graham Arnold or one of his officials who called Tilio, it wouldn’t have mattered. The important thing was he was going to Qatar and had a chance to fulfil his childhood dream.

Even though he is just on standby at this stage, the Melbourne City forward would be over the moon.

Tilio, who only turned 21 in August, would have been on cloud nine on the flight to Qatar.

After missing out on the Socceroos’ 26-man squad named last week to compete in the World Cup, Tilio would have been gutted. Absolutely shattered. Devastated. Heartbroken.

But to then get the call that he was getting a late reprieve to join his teammates and train with the side in case Martin Boyle has to withdraw would have been a whirlwind of emotions. A real emotional rollercoaster. The decision to call Tilio was made after Boyle has still been unable to train with his teammates. This means, with one week left before Australia opens its World Cup campaign, there are doubts Boyle will be able to take to the field. And if he does, will he be far below his best?

Boyle is in a race against time to recover from a knee injury suffered with Scottish club Hibernian last month.


The 29-year-old winger is a crucial part of Australia’s attack.

Australian legend Harry Kewell said it’ll be a huge blow if Boyle is out of the side.

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“He’s a good outlet for us,” he said. “He’s got pace and determination, and he’s one of them that just because it doesn’t work the first two or three times he keeps going and that scares a lot of defenders as well.

“So that’s a big blow for us.”

There’s still a lot to play out, and should Boyle recover in time, Tilio might not get a chance to play in this World Cup. But if Boyle does not get up, Tilio will be ready to seize his opportunity.


Some argue Melbourne City coach Patrick Kisnorbo did not do Tilio any favours by not giving him more game time.

Tilio played 73 minutes in the Socceroos’ last friendly against New Zealand on 25 September, a game they won 2-0.

But Kisnorbo made it clear he’ll do what’s best for his team, not the national side. After their first-round win against Western United, the 41-year-old explained why he had left him on the bench for most of the match.

“Just because you represent Australia, doesn’t mean you’re a walk-up starter in this team,” Kisnorbo said.

But the resilient Sydney-born winger managed to win back his spot ahead of Andrew Nabbout and has two goals and two assists to his name in limited games this season.

While the Melbourne City winger may be disappointed with his club coach for not giving him more game time initially to prove himself, all will be forgiven now.

World Cup teams are allowed to replace an injured or ill player up until 24 hours before their opening match. The Socceroos’ first match is against France on Tuesday (6am Wednesday AEDT).


That leaves Boyle with less than a week to prove his fitness. If he can’t, then Tilio may just get his opportunity.

Tilio’s a prodigiously talented player. His skills and talent cannot be denied. The winger has crafty tricks, lightning pace and flair to become a world-class footballer. Time will tell whether he will have an opportunity in Qatar to show the world what he is made of.

But if he does get his chance, the 21-year-old Aussie will be ready.