With the departure of long-time friend and fellow foundation player Matt McKay seemingly imminent, Brisbane Roar midfielder Massimo Murdocca says it’s time for him to step up – starting with tomorrow night’s pre-season fixture against Wellington Phoenix in Dunedin.
McKay and Murdocca are the only two remaining members of the Roar-s inaugural squad that competed in the 2005/06 season of the Hyundai A-League and McKay looks set to leave his hometown club for Scottish Premier League giants Glasgow Rangers if granted a UK work permit.
Both players have been focal parts of the club-s set-up since their inception and McKay-s likely exit will leave a gap not only in the heart of the Roar midfield, but within the squad-s leadership group as the Brisbane-born player has been wearing the captain-s armband since early last year.
With that in mind, Murdocca has said he feels the time is right for him to take on more responsibility within the playing group.
“I-d much prefer if Matty stayed to be honest but he-s going onto bigger and better things and we are all really happy for him,” he said.
“Now, I think I-ve got a bit of a role to play at the club.
“I-ve got the history, I-ve been here since day one and I know where the club has come from and where we are trying to go and I think it-s important for me to try and drive that forward.
“If there was any time for me to step up, maybe this is it.
“With Matty leaving, it-s put a bit of pressure on me but I think it-s good pressure.”
The squad travelled to Dunedin yesterday morning ahead of tomorrow night-s pre-season clash against Ricki Herbert-s Wellington Phoenix at Forsyth Barr Stadium with the excitement amongst the playing group at a high, according to the 27-year-old.
The match not only marks the opening of the brand new stadium but also the first away trip of the pre-season for the Brisbane squad who are relishing in their new surroundings despite the chilly conditions, which has seen the temperature drop to just one degree.
“I think it will be the first game played there in any code so it-s an exciting game for us,” Murdocca said.
“We trained there this morning and it was fantastic to be in a stadium like that so we-re really looking forward to tomorrow.
“Now we-re getting to A-League opposition, it-s time for us to put everything we-ve worked on to the test and we-ll see how we go.
“Wellington have obviously improved, they-ve brought in some new players and we-re aware of that.
“If we go out there and perform well, that-s going to give us a lot of confidence going into the next month at least.”