Monday, February 05, 2007


Sydney FC - The Report Card, Part 3

8. Ruben Zadkovich

Always willing. Enthusiastic. Energetic.

Ultimately, it must be admitted, pretty average.

Seeing plenty of action in midfield early in the season as Sydney’s injury list piled up, he showed that he wasn’t quite the talisman he was believed to be after last season’s bright beginning. His passing was dismal, his shooting ordinary. Yet he moved off the ball somewhat more purposefully than some of his comrades, and did occasionally take part in genuinely incisive moves. His best game of the season was the 4-1 win over Adelaide at Hindmarsh, in which he combined well with the day’s hero, Benito Carbone.

Later in the season, he found employment at right-back, and the position appeared to suit him, to some extent. More mobile than Iain Fyfe, and much better going forward, one simply wondered what would happen when his defensive capacities were truly tested.

Well, we got the answer on Friday, when Zadkovich simply floundered. Three fearful defensive errors, two of which cost goals, left a bad taste in the mouths of Sydney FC fans.

Yet he’s still young, and there is room for improvement. Right-back may yet prove a good home for the ebullient youngster. 6/10.

9. David Zdrilic

In some ways, Zdrilic can consider himself the unlucky man this season. In the middle rounds, he was producing the sort of form Sydney FC fans had been hoping for from him for some time; his fine goal against New Zealand in November was indicative of his play in the weeks leading up to the game.

Yet Butcher eventually settled on Alex Brosque as his lone striker, and Zdrilic was relegated to the sidelines again. Zdrilic often takes a while to get into a game, and so it was hardly a surprise that his substitute appearances thereafter were less than influential.

It should be remembered, though, that the mid-season spell followed a fairly ordinary run of performances from Zdrilic early in the piece. He, like many others, suffered from the second-half slumps that affected the team throughout the season.

Strong, good in the air, a capable finisher and reasonably good at holding the ball up, his touch continued to disappoint at times. As most Sydney fans would tell you, he’s not as bad as he’s made out to be, but perhaps not worth what he’s being paid. 6.5/10.

10. Steve Corica


Although he has clearly slowed down, Corica was once again the main creative spark – indeed, often the only creative spark – in a largely prosaic side.

Architect of Sydney’s two goals against Newcastle in the minor semi-final first leg. Provider for that crucial goal against Perth in Round 17. Scorer of another vital goal against Perth, which was absurdly ruled out for offside, in Round 3.

During his period on the outer towards the middle of the season, Sydney missed him badly (especially after Carbone, Sydney’s other creative force, had departed the scene). When Corica came back into the team, in Round 14, his impact was immediate; he laid on the winner for Mark Rudan, and had a typically influential afternoon.

Sydney’s final game of the season, the ill-fated minor semi-final second leg, was typical of their season in many ways, but particularly so in that Corica, along with Clint Bolton, was the only player in blue who could truly hold his head high after the game. 8/10.

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