Saturday, February 14, 2009
The 26-year-old Queenslander is, quite simply, the most complete player in the competition. Possessing a good first touch, an exemplary range of passing, consistently intelligent off-the-ball movement, an indomitable fighting spirit and a useful (if not entirely reliable) delivery from set-pieces, he would be an asset to any team...and Frank Farina must be thanking his lucky stars that McKay turns out for the team in orange.
Most of the plaudits after last night's win over the Mariners went (understandably) to Mitch Nichols and Michael Zullo, who both had rousing games. But once again, McKay was centrally involved in the game's decisive moments as well.
For the first goal, he followed his crisp pass to Sergio van Dijk with the sort of cutting off-the-ball run into the area that we see so seldom in the A-League. Sure enough, the Dutchman's shot was parried, and McKay's pace and determination saw him emerge with the ball despite the attentions of both Danny Vukovic and two Central Coast defenders. A quick, smart ball back into the area, a half-clearance, and Massimo Murdocca's piledriver was deflected in by Nichols.
Then, the second goal. After securing the turnover with a headed interception, McKay occupied the vacant inside-left channel in typically shrewd fashion, and was rewarded with a peach of a pass from Nichols, to put him through on goal. Although his finishing is perhaps the weakest part of his game, he remained calm and slotted the ball neatly past Vukovic to seal the tie.
Some people still refer to the "Mass and Matt" nexus in the Queensland midfield as if the two were interchangeable. But there are important differences between the two players: Murdocca prefers to run with the ball, and often runs into cul-de-sacs; he is also, I feel, only really capable of playing at one tempo - that of all-out attack. McKay's passing is far better, and although he is perhaps not as dangerous as Murdocca when running at his man, he makes up for this with his ability to occasionally slow down the play when necessary (as we saw in the first leg of the semi-final, after Queensland had gone down to ten). I mean this, incidentally, with no disrespect to Murdocca, a player any A-League manager would be glad to be able to call on.
It is a shame that McKay (like Nick Carle) was, to some extent, a victim of the NSL/A-League hiatus, which perhaps put a dampener on his hopes of a European stint. In my view, he is easily capable of making the move, but at his age, he is unlikely to do it. The upside of this, of course, is his continued presence in the A-League.
A final thought, in the light of last night's game: as Queensland deservedly reach their second successive preliminary final under Frank Farina, it's sobering to remember the constant vitriol that was directed at him during (and just after) his stint with the national team. He should never coach in Australia again, we heard. He's an unstable, tactically inept nobody. He's never prepared to give young players a go (how ironic that sounds now!). After Pierre Littbarski's departure from Sydney FC, Walter Bugno announced to the fans at an awards night that our new coach "would not be Frank Farina". He was greeted with an enormous cheer.
How things have changed.
McKay may be going ok, but I still don't think him and Murdocca in the same mid will win anything.
And agreed - McKay was quality.
He's still cunt for extending Tiatto's career.
Funnily enough though, a couple of the players everyone was whinging about him holding on to were crucial contributors to that 2005 playoff win over Uruguay.
...Mind you, he did on occasion get things very right (as we, this very week, commemorate the 6th anniversary of our 1-3 victory over England in London - a result that someone like Arnold could never have engineered in a thousand years)...
The 2001 Confed Cup was even better. No Kewell, no Viduka, and he got Oz to third place, beating France, Brazil and Mexico (the former two a bit depleted, admittedly) on the way. Pretty damn good.
...Farina was always bound be decent at this level...
You wouldn't have thought it from what most people were saying circa 2005.
One of his strongest attributes now though, is his ability at man management. He's nurturing a lot of players up here.
As an aside, respect should also be reserved for the fantastic work done by Rado Vidosic (Dario's father), behind the scenes. Roar's style, movement & technique, is fostered by the training sessions he maintains. Brilliant development coach.
Agree RE McKay, this has been his breakout year. He's consistently dominating midfields, never gives up and has the intelligence to make dangerous runs in the attacking third. Easily good enough for Europe, although it doesn't appear to be harming his game too much. I am happy to be able to see a player like him.
Funnily enough a lot of his development early on was nurtured by a GPS school... Brisbane Boys Grammar. He's the type of player we need more of.
the roar has been very lucky to have a player like mckay, who has chosen to stay at home this long. if he ever decides to move on, it will be with a lot of appreciation from the roar for what he`s done for the club.
the start of the season looked like a potential train wreck. sfc ended up having the season i thought the roar would have. but credit to farina and his players for turning the season around.
hell, if he could get a couple of successful seasons in europe and the top coaching licenses, i would welcome farina back into the NT spot. i wasn`t around for his first crack at the NT, but it seems like the guy is growing as a coach.
That's because they had to. Their replacements were underdeveloped. ;)
and that 451 he called a 433? please!