The occasion won’t be lost on Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat when his side hosts Newcastle Jets this Sunday in the 1,000th A-League game.
Having been in the A-League since the beginning both as a player and now coach, Muscat is in pretty rarefied air, having seen the rise of the A-League from different experiences over the last eight years.
“It’s gone quick, hasn’t it? how far we have come in a short period of time, it’s been tremendous,”
“Fortunately for us, it falls on our game…The reality is, the football has improved dramatically…Everything, in baby steps, has gone in the right direction” Muscat said.
Mark Milligan is one who returned to the A-League, after an initial stint at Sydney FC was followed by moves to clubs in Asia. Sunday’s game and occasion is one he knows will be a privileged moment for the club.
“It’s obviously a big privilege for both our club and Newcastle Jets to be involved in such an event. It’s gonna be a good weekend of football, and finished off with a good game at AAMI.”
Milligan also paid tribute to how far the standard on the field has risen.
“I went away for the middle periods; but the growth I saw from the time I was away was massive. There’s been a jump in standard. The calibre of players that were coming back, both Australian and foreign players as well is a tribute to how far it’s come in such a short time. The game is a lot quicker now, played at a higher tempo.”
Goalkeeper Nathan Coe came back to Australia to join Victory early last season, and while not knowing about the quality of the A-League, Coe praised where the club and the game is now.
“I was away for a long time, so I didn’t know really know anything about the A-League.”
“My drawcard was the club here, the supporters and fans and the facilities. Also Ange, he had a lot to do with my decision”
Since coming back, it has been something I’ve enjoyed and a challenge. It is a fast, physical game now, it’s only getting better which is a good thing.”