Feature

Rogic cameo and marauding Smith a sight for sore eyes

Two aspects of Australia's 7-0 mauling of Tajikistan made the FIFA World Cup qualifying win immensely exciting - the return of Tom Rogic and the emergence of Brad Smith.

Rogic

Source: Getty Images



As much as I am itching to get to Rogic, it is the performance of Smith that is the real story of the Adelaide Oval match.

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An exceptionally strong match and - admitting the defensive duties were not onerous, to say the least - experience with Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp will ensure this aspect is sound or improves but with the ball, wow!

Fantastic left foot, great qualities. Quick, so very quick. Aggressive, attack minded, suits Australia perfectly.

Brad Smith


Smith’s energy and willingness to get forward were superb and, once he got there, his delivery and precision was of the highest order.

Very accurate, always in between defence and goalkeeper, cutbacks on the ground at speed (not bounced into players), forward passes with strength into space at the appropriate weight. All very good.

Smith has put pressure on the other left-back candidates, which is excellent because he will push players like Alex Gersbach to focus and improve their own game to compete. With these young players emerging, the potential for an aggressive, attacking game from the wide areas is very rich.

Josh Risdon has a similar mindset and physical qualities on the right, as does Jason Geria. The young are now pushing the experienced, and it is fantastic.



To Rogic. Well, he’s back and what a pleasure it is to see him in full flight.

Few players to come out of this country have the gifts that Rogic possesses and if he can maintain his physical wellbeing, there is no limit to what he can achieve.

Aaron Mooy was once again excellent, and deserves recognition for his work off the ball as much as anything, working extremely hard to recover possession when it was lost  - something not all creative and gifted players are capable or willing to do.

But Rogic enlightened the game from the first moment.



His ability to accelerate past players, or change direction and beat them, to receive in the tight and make space for a pass or shot makes him excessively dangerous and his long-range shot, seen in both Scotland and green and gold this past week, means he draws opponents around the box.

Freeing space for others, if he doesn’t smash one top corner in the meantime.

"Obviously you want to be starting," Rogic, who was introduced to the game in the 67th minute, said post match.

"But you have to be ready to come on and it's always a privilege to play for your country.

"I was just trying to be positive and lucky to get a goal or two. Two is nice, but it could have been three or four."

Jordan will be tougher, obviously, but the Adelaide crowd witnessed an at times patient, at others high tempo approach to the match and a passing style we want all the kids to see.

The team, and some of the exciting talent within, is well placed for the next challenge.


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3 min read
Published 25 March 2016 at 9:41am
By Craig Foster