Melbourne City coach Patrick Kisnorbo says it’s “crazy” the A-League finals will be played during an upcoming international break without several star players.
- Ten of Graham Arnold’s 31-man Socceroos squad play in the A-League
- Melbourne City will be without three players for finals, including leading scorer Jamie Maclaren
- The Socceroos play their first game of the year on June 3, the same day as the last round of A-League fixtures
Reality hit for the newly crowned premiers on Tuesday when Connor Metcalfe, Curtis Good and top goalscorer Jamie Maclaren all received Socceroos call-ups for World Cup qualifiers in June against Kuwait, Taiwan, Nepal and Jordan.
While the trio’s call-up had been anticipated for weeks, Kisnorbo was clearly unhappy he wouldn’t have any of the three players available for the finals campaign.
As well as City, Sydney FC will lose Rhyan Grant, Ryan McGowan and Andrew Redmayne while Central Coast defender Ruon Tongyik is also bound for Kuwait.
In contrast, finals-bound teams such as Brisbane — who defeated City 3-0 in Redcliffe on Tuesday thanks to goals from Jay O’Shea (2) and Alex Parsons — and Adelaide will not lose any players over the international period.
“The game needs to have a whole broad look at itself and it’s not just us. I’m sure other teams that might lose one or two or three maybe players feel the same,” Kisnorbo said.
“The question I ask is, how can we still play a league when there’s international breaks? It’s crazy.
“I don’t know, you have to ask the powers that be. They’re the ones that control this sort of stuff.
“I’m only here to coach my team and worry about my team.”
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold, who also selected Perth Glory’s Chris Ikonomidis, Macarthur’s Denis Genreau and Western Sydney’s Mitch Duke in his 31-man squad, was sympathetic to the clubs’ plight.
But the national team boss said his role was to pick the squad he felt could do the job for Australia over the next three weeks.
“It wasn’t anyone’s fault that the finals are in this window,” Arnold said.
“The border closures in Australia extended the competition in the A-League and we need our best team here, we need our best team for the Socceroos.”
Maclaren is set to get married on Saturday, depending on the situation with Melbourne’s latest COVID outbreak, meaning Tuesday’s game against Brisbane was his final appearance of a remarkable 25-goal campaign.
Ikonomidis has already been released by Perth to join the Socceroos in the UAE with Duke and Tongyik expected to join him and other players later in the week.
The Socceroos will resume their World Cup 2022 qualification campaign on June 3 against Kuwait.
Socceroos squad: Aziz Behich, Brandon Borrello, Martin Boyle, Milos Degenek, Kenneth Dougal*, Mitchell Duke^, Denis Genreau*^, Apostolos Giannou, Curtis Good^, Rhyan Grant^, James Holland, Ajdin Hrustic, Chris Ikonomidis^, Jackson Irvine, Fran Karacic*, Mathew Lecjie, Awer Mabil, Jamie Maclaren^, Ryan McGowan^, Riley McGree*, Connor Metcalfe*^, Andrew Redmayne^, Nikita Rukavytsya, Mathew Ryan, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Harry Souttar, Adam Taggart, Lawrence Thomas*, Ruon Tongyik*^, Danny Vukovic.