The Roar
The Roar


Wanderers play victims again as Rudan launches childish, Trump-like conspiracy theories

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Marko Rudan gestures from the sideline. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
5th February, 2024
1701 Reads

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Marko Rudan lost his lollies, spat the dummy and resorted to desperate conspiracy theories following his side’s 4-3 loss to the Macarthur Bulls in Campbelltown on Sunday.

Visually upset as he entered the room to face the media after a thrilling match where seven goals were scored, including a 93rd-minute Bulls winner that looked dubious to the naked eye, Rudan took potshot after potshot at just about everyone involved in the fixture.

Rudan cited ‘history’ between him and referee Adam Kersey, blatantly suggesting that the man with the whistle had been far from impartial during what was at times a feisty encounter.

The fourth official copped a barrage after failing to step in and ramp up a yellow card awarded against the home team during the first half.

Rudan was livid at what he felt was an obvious inconsistency, interpreting the yellow as one brandished for an incident far more severe than the one that saw Wanderer Thomas Beadling expelled with a straight red in the 52nd minute.

In truth, Beadling clattered into Macarthur star Ulises Davila in the most awkward and potentially dangerous manner. Whether the incident deserved immediate dismissal is debatable, yet Rudan appeared convinced there was something extremely sinister about the decision, as he tore shreds of those charged with officiating the contest.


The sideline officials were also referenced, along with VAR, who failed to gain access to conclusive evidence to make a definitive decision on the final goal of the game.

Wanderers goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas did everything but save the Valere Germain headed effort towards goal. He launched horizontally, seemed to palm the ball away at the final moment and no matter how many times I watch the replay, there seems little evidence that the ball did indeed cross the line.

However, the goal would stand and four minutes later the Bulls had reigned supreme in a cracking encounter, albeit one affected crucially by the sending off of Beadling.

We have all seen A-League encounters of the like across the years and there have been some wild afternoons and evenings where controversy rules and emotions run high in the aftermath.

Yet openly questioning the integrity of the decision makers and referring to the ‘stigma’ that Rudan believes pervades around his club and the treatment of it by those employed by the APL and FA is next level.

In short, by using the words he chose, Rudan is openly suggesting that his team is being treated differently to others, thus asking dangerous and serious questions around the integrity of the referees and peripheral officials.


That puts the coach on the most dangerous of grounds and the show cause notice issued to him by Football Australia is a more than fair and expected response to what was an explosive and inflammatory press conference that became more of a rant than an actual exchange with journalists.

We have seen this sort of victim culture from the Wanderers before, back in times when serious sanctions were brought against a small portion of the club’s supporters who never entered the old Parramatta Stadium with the intention of watching football, more to brandish the weapons they had smuggled in, in battles with the opposition supporters of the day.

Wanderers head coach Marko Rudan protests to the referee.

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Good Wanderers folk I know still argue that an over-zealous police presence enflamed the tensions, that the fans were indeed the victims and not the perpetrators.

They also maintain that, like Rudan did on Sunday evening, fans were mistreated based on their Western Sydney and multicultural roots; in effect citing some sort of inherent and systematic racism endorsed from the top and played out in reality by the decisions made by referees.

To say that is a long bow to draw is an understatement and Rudan had best avoid press conferences in the future if he is to enter them in such an emotional frame of mind.

The red card may be an incorrect decision to some and the final goal remains wrongly awarded from Thomas’ point of view.


However, Western Sydney are far from the first team to have copped a whack from VAR, referees and fourth officials this season and they certainly will not be the last.

Reviewing the press conference, it comes across as nothing but childish, immature and foolish.

One week I hear there is a Sydney bias in the A-League, the next a Sydney-based team is claiming they are being unfairly treated by the governing body and held to a different standard to the other eleven teams.

All the situation needed was former Manly NRL coach Geoff Toovey standing alongside Rudan ranting “There has to be an investigation!”, thus completing the crèche-like behaviour of a coach seemingly unable to concede defeat without looking for a Trump-like conspiracy theory that simply does not exist.

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Hopefully, Rudan cops a whack for questioning the integrity of officials, he deserves it. As someone who supposedly loves the game and is passionate about the growth of it in Australia, he should know better.