Sunday, October 21, 2007

Our first proper returning Socceroo

Just watched Elrich score a gorgeous goal for the Phoenix and dad was a bit confused. Turned out he wasn't aware that Ahmad Elrich had returned, nor was he aware that John Aloisi had been signed for the Mariners.

I'm personally a bit tired of heaps of ex-Socceroos returning to our shores for the domestic league and all being labelled "returning Socceroos" as if it's a measure of their class and ability. There's a contrast between the Socceroos of the past and the current crop. Even though we're still a physical team, I would say the the current crop are far better players of the ball than the past ones. When they come to the A-League to play out their careers, they continue to play in their appropriate style.

Tiatto, Laybutt, Muscat are all from the earlier style, and generally don't bring anything 'nice' to the league. While I have included Muscat in that batch, I do treat him as an exception. He still had a career over in Europe but he came home to play in the A-League as a continutation of his career. Many of the others who have since returned look like they're just here to keep getting paid for what they do.

So, let's move onto the new batch. Moore, Vidmar and A. Elrich could be included here, but we have to consider that the latter two had some fitness issues and Moore had his club problems. Not in exactly the same position as Muscat. So I would classify John Aloisi as our first returning Socceroo. He's still a player, and while he is coming home for retirement, at least he still has something to offer to the local game.

Perhaps it's just for the sake of media hype, but we ought to be far more careful of what we define things. I'm sick of "professional fouls" (there's no such thing in the rulebook, but then there's no such thing as 'backpass' in the rulebook either), although my dislike of the PF has probably got more to do with my passionate dislike of Cockerill and Harper. 'Backpass' at least defines something that does physically occur in matches, whereas the PF is completly subjective. So, when a nasty tackle occurs, it's either a foul or it's not a foul. Nothing about the PF.

And it's something similar with the "returning Socceroo" tag. How many of them are actually active as Socceroos? Covic, perhaps. And Vidmar would have been too if he didn't have his heart condition. But I think that's really about it. Covic on the bench for the World Cup, Vidmar missed out, but Moore and Aloisi were actually there. Moore's been great for Queensland so far (minor hiccup with that red card), and I expect that Aloisi would be a greater revelation for the Mariners.


Anonymous said...

You missed one.. Archie Thompson.

Undeniably "current crop" imo, although perhaps not as prominent in the squad as some of the others you mentioned. He still plays an important part though.

Cecilia said...

He's hardly effective at Socceroo level. But at least he returned to actually play and sustain some career. Perhaps in the same bucket as Covic?

Anonymous said...

long time reader, first time blogger here....

The word is spreading around the A-league that maybe it's not such a good idea to pay big bucks for returning socceroos and that maybe we should spend the cash on our young socceroos instead! What a concept!! With Australia making the world cup and playing well when they got there the socceroos suddenly got a profile in the media and in the sporting public. The media trumped our returning socceroos and everyone got excited by the brand "socceroo". However Australian Football fans are not stupid and if you asked them if they wanted to see young kids playing or over 30's with bad knees and bad groins I reckon the young kids would win.

It's funny that the same journalists that where singing about socceroos returning home are now singing that we should keep our young socceroos instead. Cockerill I'm taking to you!!

Cecilia said...

Hey Stama, thanks for the comment! :) Nice to 'know' a reader.

Sadly, while Australian football fans would rather watch the kids (I would, after all with the U/20 WC and the Copa America having matches at the same time I chose the former), the way to get crowds is to pull in the bandwagoner types. And former greats is the way the pull them in, even if they're completely unplayable.

I can't see bandwagoners getting excited about Zullo, Kruse, Djite, Burns, Vukovic, Broxham, Ryall, Celski, etc. They'd just say, "Who?"