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The Roar


Goal-scoring fullbacks, Tilio magic: The A-League players who were the difference in Round 18

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Roar Guru
26th February, 2024

Round 18 was an intriguing weekend of football with four draws, 14 goals in six matches, for the second week in a row and three teams that managed to keep a clean sheet.

In the two games where a team claimed three points, the winning team had less possession than their opponent.

There was a goalless draw in the Distance Derby, which was entertaining, despite the lack of goals.

Let’s get into the football now and check out who made a difference.

Brisbane Roar

Corey Brown made an impact for the Roar, even though he only came off the bench in the 74th minute.

The left-back created four chances and looked like a man on a mission; the Roar can thank him for claiming a point, due to a pinpoint cross, which fellow substitute Jonas Markovski put in the back of the net in the 91st minute.

Western United


Matthew Grimaldi put in a good shift for Western United. The midfielder was a constant threat. He was involved in the lead up work for the goal that broke the deadlock, through Nikita Rukavytsya, in the sixth minute.

The 20-year-old provided the shot in the 78th minute that led to a corner conceded by the Roar goalkeeper Macklin Freke, with Western United scoring from the resultant corner to give them a 2-1 lead, in the 79th minute, through substitute Noah Botic.

An honest assessment on the predicament of Western United was given by Grimaldi post-match: “It just seems like the same thing keeps happening. I feel like we need to just keep going for another one. We just need to go for it. I think we just need to go for the win. The goal is to still climb up the ladder.”

Sydney FC

Jordan Courtney-Perkins looks to have cemented his spot in the starting line-up ahead of Socceroo Joel King.

The Sky Blues left-back broke the deadlock in the 29th minute with a stunning strike that was too good for City goalkeeper Jamie Young, who other than that had an outstanding game.


Melbourne City

Marco Tilio produced some magic in the pivotal moment of the match against the Sky Blues when he scored the equaliser in the 61st minute.

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The goal originated from astute distribution by City goalkeeper, Jamie Young, as he didn’t waste any time, but Tilio still had plenty to do. Despite that, the Socceroo only had one thing on his mind and that was to score a goal, which his run warranted.

Adelaide United

Nestory Irankunda proved that he only has to have one moment of magic to influence a game.

The Bayern Munich-bound attacker proved his worth with an exquisite assist in the 94th minute, which was well finished by fellow substitute Luka Jovanovic, and gave the 10-man Reds some hope as it made the deficit one goal.


Western Sydney Wanderers

Nicolas Milanovic scored a brace, through two headed goals 17 minutes apart; the Wanderers attacker was forced to be the main outlet with Marcus Antonsson injured and Brandon Borrello a little rusty.

When quizzed about his two headed goals, the 22-year-old said: “I think it’s a part of my game I had to work on.”

Along with that, Milanovic summed up what the three points meant to his team: “It meant so much to the team coming into the Sydney Derby in Round 19 for the Wanderers to claim a win. This win will keep us roaring for next week.”

Perth Glory

Joshua Rawlins was there when it counted, in the game dubbed the Distance Derby.

The Glory right-back stepped up and took his opportunity with Johnny Koutroumbis being injured. They have him to thank for claiming a point, as he stopped what would’ve been a certain goal for Phoenix captain Alex Rufer, in the 89th minute.


Wellington Phoenix

Lukas Kelly-Heald put in a good performance for the Phoenix as he was central to them keeping a clean sheet.

The 18-year-old helped keep the Glory attacking dangers quiet; he proved that he should be a permanent part of the Phoenix starting 11.

The Kiwi defender curtailed the influence of Adam Taggart late in the first half and even talented Glory substitute Joel Anasmo, when he won the ball off him in the 84th minute.

Newcastle Jets

Lucas Mauragis was there when it mattered for the Jets; he appears to have been given a license by Jets coach Robbie Stanton to make attacking, marauding runs forward.

It was no coincidence that the left-back played a part in the two goals scored by the Jets; the goal that got them back into the game was set up by him as he played a well executed pass to Jets substitute Daniel Wilmering who provided the assist for fellow substitute Archie Goodwin.


The 22-year-old won a penalty in the 87th minute, which helped the Jets claim a point, with the penalty well taken by Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, who is the new A-League Golden Boot leader.

Macarthur FC

Ulises Davila was heavily involved in both goals scored by the Bulls; it was great work by him to break the deadlock with his non-dominant right foot in the 69th minute.

Ulises Davila of Macarthur FC yells at his teammates

(Photo by Damian Briggs/Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Mexican maestro also helped give Macarthur FC the lead in the 81st minute with a cross on his right foot, that Valere Germain scored, with Jets goalkeeper Ryan Scott all at sea.

Melbourne Victory

Jason Geria had a decent game for the Victory, in particular during the first half when he combined well with Salim Khelifi.


Despite playing in an unfamiliar role at left-back due to Adama Traore being unavailable due to injury, Geria took to the role like a duck to water.

The 30-year-old made marauding runs forward and created three chances.

Central Coast Mariners

Mikael Doka was forced to play left-back due to Jacob Farrell being suspended, but you wouldn’t have known that it wasn’t the preferred position of the Brazilian.

It was an intriguing battle between him and Daniel Arzani, which Doka won.

Post-match his comments were interesting: “We’re very well prepared. I played many positions in Brazil so it wasn’t a problem. Arzani is a great player, I was so happy to control him.”

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