There are football players, and then there is Marco Rojas. The New Zealander’s ability to generate space, create chances and finish are invaluable to Ange Postecoglou’s Melbourne Victory. On Friday, Rojas was due to be on his game once again against the Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park.
Despite Mark Milligan unavailable for the team due to suspension following Melbourne’s victory over Melbourne Heart, the Victory looked to rely on their depth to pick up the slack. One of those players: defender Nick Ansell.
“(In) both games he has done very well for us and he has been very composed,” assistant manager Kevin Muscat told James Willoughby of Omnisport. “Not only defensively but on the ball he has showed a lot of courage. He has played quite well for us.
“The reality is everyone is going to have to use their squad over this period of time. We have got a number of games and this gives an opportunity to a couple of the other boys. Is our depth going to be tested? Yes it is going to be. We have had to deal with players missing in the past through international duty. We have won without our boys being here that are in international teams. We are quite comfortable where we sit.”
Rojas scored a brace in the 34th and 74th minute to give the Victory a 3-2 win over the Jets. Archie Thompson added an insurance goal in the 45th minute of play. Ruben Zadkovich pulled the Jets to within a goal in the 64th minute, and Emile Heskey brought the match to level terms in the 73rd minute of play, but Newcastle couldn’t complete the turnaround.
“It’s not about being happy for points, it’s about continually improving the way we play. Again there were signs today that we are, we’re developing it (the game style), but we’ve still got deficiencies in our set up that we’re constantly working at,” Postecoglou told Luke Sheehan for melbournevictory.com.au and Omnisport following the game. “We’re progressing as a football side, but we’re developing some footballers too. You saw glimpses of Andrew Nabbout tonight, he’s coming along really nicely, Nicky Ansell (also), and we reckon we’ve got two or three more in our youth team that coming into the (new) year, people will see.
“It’s not just about winning games of football at the moment, which obviously is always the primary objective, but I think we’re developing some good footballers.”
With the result, Melbourne Victory improve to 7-2-4 (23 points) and remain third in the Hyundai A-League ladder. They continue their season on New Year’s Day at Parramatta Stadium against the Western Sydney Wanderers.