21/02/2024

Valere Germain in action against Perth Glory. Photo supplied by Macarthur FC

Despite kick-off being pushed back by two hours, a strong crowd packed into Campbelltown Stadium to watch Macarthur and the Wanderers do battle on Sunday evening.

Tensions flared early between the two sides with fouls a, a yellow card and a penalty in the opening 20 minutes of play.

There were also two goals, with Valere Germain converting the penalty for Macarthur, and Lachie Brook leveling the score for the Wanderers in the 20th minute.

Tensions continued to flare, and the Wanderers would take the lead in the 29th minute through Nicolas Milanovic, with Raphael Borges Rodrigues making it 2-2 in the 32nd minute.

Brook would get a brace to put the Wanderers back in the lead, while Germain almost gifted Marcus Antonsson a goal with a misplayed back-pass but he was unable to finish.

Germain would atone for his mistake in first half stoppage time with a brace to once again bring the scores level, making it 3-3 at half time.

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The second half would see Marko Rudan go to the bench first as Daniel Margush would be replaced in goals by Lawrence Thomas as a concussion substitute, who returned to the squad a few hours before kick-off after the Socceroos Asian Cup exit.

Tensions would continue to rise in the second half, and Thomas Beadling would be shown a red card for a crunching tackle on Ulises Davila, with Alex Badolato getting subbed off for Gabriel Cleur to shore up the defence for the Wanderers.

With tensions continuing to rise between the two sides, the Wanderers looked to charge back into the lead despite being a player down, while Macarthur struggled with the advantage.

As the game looked set to fizzle out into a 3-3 draw, Valere Germain would grab a hat-trick deep into stoppage time, with the ball barely crossing the line behind Thomas who got a hand to it but could not keep it out, to give Macarthur a 4-3 victory.

The game saw a number of contentious decisions which could have gone either way, with Sterjovski saying he thought every decision made was correct, even when the non-penalty of Germain was pointed out.

Wanderers coach Marko Rudan had a very different opinion to Sterjovski.

“The result is not what I wanted, but I’ll start by praising my players and the effort and the fight and the chances they created,” Rudan said.

“The game changed on its head with the red card and everything else, and I’ll start by saying there is an absolute stigma attached to my football club. It’s clear for all to see.

“You can say whatever you want, but this guy Adam, whatever his name is, Adam Kearnsey or whatever, there’s a bit of history between myself and him, and he knows that very well.

“For the life of me, how Germain stays on the pitch when he kicks out at my player, I have absolutely no idea how that is only deemed a yellow card when it’s a retaliation. It’s a clear red.

“It happened to my players last year, but when it does happen to my football club and my players, they don’t even think twice. It’s a straight red.

“In the last two weeks, I’ve had two players who are not synonymous for making fouls or being dirty, yet straight reds.

Rudan also then singled out the VAR and the Assistant Refs.

“Alex King was the VAR tonight. Message to us was not enough angles to see if the ball was over the line for the winner. Come on.

“And then the linesman is clear and adamant that it went over the line at the same time with three or four bodies around him. Ok. No dramas.

“They don’t look at it, but the one that really angers me is the yellow card that Germain, where he clearly kicks out and throw his studs.

“Now my two reds in the last two weeks, they’re not kicking out, they’re not showing studs.”

Rudan then moved his discussion to the club as a whole and its makeup, and what brings the stigma about in his eyes.

“But I’ll go deeper than that. Because when this football club was created, everyone spoke around the league in glowing fashion about the colour, the entertainment, the noise, the singing, and how it was a godsend to the league.

“Then, all of a sudden, whether it’s forced or unforced, the West of Sydney is a diverse, multicultural area, made up of predominantly Europeans.

“Football in Europe and South America and all over the world when it comes to fans is on a different level.

“So everyone praises the clubs, praises its fans for doing all that. Some issues occur, and all of a sudden since that moment years ago, there’s been this stigma, and our poor fans and members have had to pay the price.

“A lot of people have lost trust in the league because of it.”

Rudan then turned his attention back to the decisions which went against his team, saying he was sick and tired of the decisions that continually go against us.

“I’ve shut my mouth for a long time, but we were the cleanest team in the competition three weeks ago.

“Least amount of yellows, least amount of fouls, no reds apart from Josh’s one, and then all of a sudden we get two in two weeks.

“Any opportunity these guys get, and it’s not me having a sook here because there are a lot of clubs with good fanbases, Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC, Phoenix when they get going, the Mariners, Adelaide, right.

“But this club brought something different to the league. I think we all sitting here respect that. But there’s something clearly wrong.

“It’s clear. Ever since I came into the football club, you feel it even more. As an outsider watching, I saw it unfold and I thought it was unfair.

He then continued on saying he was not having a sook, saying he was just defending his football club, the fans, and the players.

“The more we try to push forward as a football club and try to be as successful as it was back in the day, it seems to me as though nobody wants it to happen. Nobody wants to see it happen.

“It’s really disappointing, to the point where someone needs to say something, and I believe my role at this football club allows me this platform to have a voice and to say something.”

Rudan then continued on, bringing the topic back to the refereeing decisions.

“We can talk about the game, I congratulate Macarthur for their three points, but like I said, the game could have been so much different had the referee done his job properly.

“And then you’ve got a fourth official who makes a decision on a throw in early on in the piece, who then has also has the help of the two linesmen, but he was right there, and he deems that a yellow card.

“The whole game changes if he actually makes the right decision, and that’s disappointing.”

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