Teenage defender Jason Geria will start for Melbourne Victory against Wellington Phoenix on Sunday.
There is little on the line when the clubs go head-to-head in the A-League at the Westpac Stadium, but Victory coach Ange Postecoglou said Geria, 19, will get the chance to stake his claims ahead of Victory’s finals campaign.
“We brought him down halfway through the year from Brisbane,” Postecoglou said of the former Roar player.
“He’s someone who played with the Under-20s (Young Socceroos) in the qualifiers, did quite well there and he’s a good strong defender.
“We’ve been playing him more as a central defender, but obviously with the full-back positions, we’re trying a few things and we’re going to give him an opportunity at right full-back tomorrow.”
Postecoglou also confirmed all his stars were in line to play, including midfielder Marcos Flores (cramp) and attacker Marco Rojas, after the latter appeared for New Zealand at the international break recently.
Victory’s Australian representatives Mark Milligan and Archie Thompson are also fit and firing, especially given defender Milligan didn’t play a minute for the Socceroos in their World Cup qualifier with Oman in Sydney.
While Victory are already assured of a home final, their opponent at Etihad Stadium in week one of the finals is still to be determined – and it could be in Melbourne’s hands whether they play one of Brisbane or Sydney.
Should Postecoglou’s men win, they’d be guaranteed to take on the Sky Blues, while a draw or loss could seed them take on the gaffer’s old club Brisbane.
But the 47-year-old said he was unconcerned about fixing a result to suit a desired match-up.
“I’m pretty pragmatic on these things, that’s the reality,” he said.
“We had 19,000 on Thursday night (at Brisbane v Sydney), we had 22,000 last night (at Newcastle v Western Sydney), we’re going to have a big crowd in Perth tonight (Glory v Adelaide).
“If anyone thinks that Australian football doesn’t need those sorts of crowds, and those sort of numbers, then they’re kidding themselves.
“So whatever philosophical or ideological arguments we have, that’s the reality of sport in this country.
“If people think coaches go around contriving results, most coaches are all in the business of winning games of football.
“And from our perspective tomorrow, regardless of what happens tonight, we want to go in there and play well tomorrow and be ready for next week.”