Former Socceroos captain Mark Milligan led out Macarthur FC in their first ever match on Sunday as the A-League newcomers kicked off their pre-season with six of the best.
Eighty-cap international Milligan was officially announced as the skipper of the start-up club on Friday, ahead of the Bulls’ 6-0 win against Camden Tigers.
The expansion team’s head coach, Ante Milicic, named the likes of experienced pros Adam Federici, Ivan Franjic and Aleksandar Susnjar in his maiden starting line-up against their NSW NPL 4 opponents, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.
Cow bells rang around Ron Dine Reserve as the 35-year-old midfielder led out his newly-assembled teammates in rain-drenched conditions in Sydney’s south west.
First-half goals from youngsters Liam Rose, Michael Ruhs and Jake Hollman gave the Bulls a dream start, while a team of triallists – which included ex-Newcastle Jets, Sydney FC and Wellington player Ali Abbas and former Phoenix defender Walter Scott – completed the second 45 minutes.
Major recruits Tommy Oar and ex-Premier League striker Matt Derbyshire were watching the historic occasion unfold from the sidelines, two days after Milligan was confirmed as the leader of the competition’s newest club.
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“Captaining my country was a massive honour and something that will always stay with me, but this is very special,” Milligan said in a club statement.
“To be appointed captain of a brand-new A-League club is a great privilege.”
Macarthur FC will play their first competitive match once the A-League gets underway on Sunday, 27 December, and head coach Milicic wants Milligan to set the standard for the club playing out of Campbelltown Stadium.
“Mark is a natural leader,” Milicic added. “We have seen what he achieved with the Socceroos, his experience and knowledge of what is required to be successful, drives the standards amongst the playing group.
“He leads with his actions and we are privileged to have him be our inaugural captain.
“Mark will have plenty of support from the likes of Federici, Oar, Franjic, and the senior playing group,” Milicic added.