Melbourne Heart are not adverse to converting wingers to full-backs, but this seemed an unexpected move for youngster Ben Garuccio who played his first ever Melbourne Derby at left-back, in one of the club’s biggest games of the season.
“It was unbelievable. My first derby I’ve ever played in,” the Young Socceroo said.
“To get the win was even better, I think it was our first (derby) win for a season and a half.
“So it felt good.”
It may have been a shock to see Garuccio at left-back against Melbourne Victory, but it wasn’t the first time the youngster was called upon at left-back.
“I’ve done a little bit in the (youth) national team (playing at left-back).
“When John asked ‘are you confident to play there?’, I thought I’ll try it. I’ll grab it with both hands.”
The young man is adamant to give his “best efforts” wherever he’s played in the team, and is enjoying the task of playing at left-back.
“Wherever the coach puts me, I’ll always give my best effort. I always sort of said I hope I’m not one of those wingers that turns into a full back, but here I am. I played there on the weekend and I enjoyed myself.”
Head Coach John van’t Schip was impressed by the young 18-year-old, and says he looks for versatility in players.
“(Ben Garuccio) did well (at left-back). You look to see if (players) can play at different kinds of positions,” Van’t Schip said.
“With Ben we had the idea that he could play at that position, we tried him out the whole week at (left-back).”
With the return of Aziz Behich, Van’t Schip keeps tight-lipped on whether Garuccio might keep his place in the team.
“We’ll see tomorrow,” he said.
But after consecutive wins Van’t Schip is wary of complacency and is adamant players need to stay “focused” ahead of a fixture against a resurgent Newcastle Jets away from home.
“Everybody is in a good mood, but we have to prepare and be focused on the next game. Sometimes it’s hard, we have to forget about the past and think about the coming game.
“Newcastle is the team now that’s won last two games (against) Brisbane and Western Sydney, so they are in a good form. They want to get into the playoffs as well. They want to show their home fans they’re capable of beating us.”