Ahead of his 150th appearance for the Brisbane Roar, stalwart Massimo Murdocca has spoken of his pride at reaching the achievement.
The hard-working midfielder stressed the importance of getting the team’s season back on track as they prepare to face Melbourne Victory on Saturday.
“I’ve been around for a long time, but to get to a milestone it’s quite nerve-racking,” said Murdocca, who is only the eighth player to notch up 150 games in the A-League.
“I’d like to think I can go a bit longer. I’ve been through some dark times and to get to this point in this healthy state that I’m in, it’s just hard work, it’s discipline and it’s just doing the right things all the time. That’s all you can do, you can just do your best and you’re either lucky or you’re not.
“It’s definitely a goal of mine to get to 200 and, you never know, maybe 250.”
Roar coach Rado Vidosic was full of praise for the long-serving Murdocca.
“He’s been with us from day one and he’s just got this Eveready battery somewhere inside and he’s been a fantastic servant for us. I congratulate him and I wish him another 150 for us,” Vidosic said.
“He’s been part of everything (at the Roar). Probably the only thing that’s missing from his game is scoring more goals, but if he were a regular goalscorer he probably wouldn’t be playing for us.
“It’s a pleasure to work with him. This is our eighth year together and I hope we can stay together for another seven, eight years.”
Murdocca has overcome injury woes and struggles to get into the starting 11 in past few seasons, and he says he is very satisfied to be at his peak once more.
“I’ve had a lot of battles over the last couple of years and this year is probably the first year I feel like I’m back to my best, I’m back to where I was four years ago, and the sky’s the limit for me now,” he said.
“I’ve just got to keep going, keep improving as a player, not worry about my body any more, just worry about becoming a better footballer. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. To go and play my milestone game being at the top of my game, I think that’s the most fulfilling thing for me.”
The Roar are at a critical point in their season, and Murdocca says his milestone is of secondary importance to the final result on Saturday.
As a player who has seen it all before, he maintains his side have the experience required to turn their season around.
“We’re bottom of the ladder. We definitely don’t want to be here, in this position. So points are probably the biggest priority. The milestone game, yeah it’s nice, but I’m after the points to be honest,” he said.
“I think it’s quite similar to previous years, when we were down in the dumps. You get all these chances, and they just don’t go in, you don’t produce, and we’re losing games.
“We don’t want to be that club again. We want to push, push, push and get that result at the end of the day. That’s what we’ve done the last two years, and we’ve just got to find a way to get back to that.”