Melbourne's Murnane ready to take his chance in the Big Blue

Melbourne Victory defender Dylan Murnane has just come of age as a person and is coming of age as a footballer as well and he hopes to continue the latter process in the massive "Big Blue" on Australia Day.

A-League Rd 15 - Melbourne v Brisbane

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 15: Dylan Murnane (#18) of Melbourne Victory (R) contests the ball during the round 15 A-League match Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park on January 15, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images) Source: Getty Images

Murnane, who turned 21 on January 18, has started at left-back in  Victory's last two games and did a fine job in both the 3-3 draw with Central Coast Mariners and 4-0 win over Brisbane Roar.

The unavailability of several defenders due to injury, suspension and Olyroos commitments contributed to creating the opportunity that gave him increased playing time, but he had been making a solid impression earlier in the season anyway.

"I've played 10 games this season and started in seven or eight of those," Murnane told The World Game. "I feel like I'm starting to push for a regular spot and that I've really become a contender for that left-back position.

"Obviously Danny (Daniel Georgievski) did really well there last season and is still a big part of the club and Jase (Jason Geria)  has been doing a great job at right-back as well, so whatever opportunity I can get I'm just trying to make the most of it.

"It's always a great opportunity when I get the chance to play in team like this."

Asked what it was like to be a relatively inexperienced young player in a star-studded side, Murnane said he never stopped learning.

"It's great to be able to learn off the likes of Matthieu Delpierre in defence," he said. "To have him next to me while I'm playing and Fahid (Ben Khalfallah) in front of me in attack is fantastic. They've had so much experience playing overseas and it's helping me so much to work with them.

"And not just me - it's great for all the young boys in the team to play alongside so many great players."

Murnane said he and the other defenders also get specific coaching in defence from Victory coach and former Socceroos defender Kevin Muscat.

"He helps me out a lot," Murnane said. "He takes the defenders aside at training every week and goes through what we're going to come up against during the game  and it obviously helps getting that advice from someone who has so much playing experience both overseas and In the A-League.

"It's great to have him as a leader. I've been coached by Darren Davies in the youth team at Victory and Ange (Postecoglou) himself in the senior squad as well, so I've had great influence from coaches early in my career."

Murnane turned 21 last Monday and was fortunate that the A-League scheduling gave him the opportunity to celebrate the occasion properly with family and friends.

"My girlfriend organised a surprise party for me on the Saturday, two days before I actually turned 21," he said. "It was the night after we won at home against Roar and we weren't playing again until Australia Day, so there was an 11-day gap there.

"Nothing too big, it's still the football season, but we had a great night and then on the Monday I celebrated with family on my actual birthday. Again, nothing too extreme, I wanted to keep it pretty low-key, but it was great to spend the day with the people who are closest to me.

"You've got to look at the schedule at the start of the season to work out when you might have time to do things and I was lucky the game was on Friday and our next game was on the Tuesday week, so it was a good time to do something."

It helped the celebrations that Victory got back to their winning ways against Brisbane.

"It was a great result after a disappointing six weeks," Murnane said. "We really put in a dominating performance and it showed on the scoreboard and we couldn't be happier.

"It was good to see there were a lot of smiles back on all the boys' faces at training. You can feel the confidence has come back into the team.

"We really needed those performances to pick ourselves up from where we were and if we can get going again it's going to be a good second half of the season for us in both the A-League and the Asian Champions League."

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4 min read
Published 26 January 2016 at 10:39am
By Greg Prichard