Newly-signed Brisbane Roar midfielders Matt McKay, Massimo Murdocca and Mitch Nichols have each expressed their delight at pledging their futures to the club.
McKay and Murdocca are the only two remaining foundation players at the Roar while Nichols has also only ever plied his trade in the Hyundai A-League for the Brisbane-based club, with almost 300 league appearances in orange between the trio.
Skipper McKay, whose influential presence in the heart of Brisbane-s midfield has been instrumental in their current push for the Hyundai A-League premiership, said despite attracting a large range of interest, he knew his interests would be best served playing for his hometown club.
“I-m a foundation member, I-m captain of the club and I-ve got some great teammates here,” he said.
“I did have offers, both in Australia and abroad, but I-m very happy to stay here.”
After a less-than-ideal season last year, McKay highlighted one particular game in Brisbane-s pre-season campaign this year when he could see the culture around the team changing.
“Right from the pre-season, right from those first few weeks, we were working hard,” the 27-year-old said.
“It was a different kind of pre-season, lots of ball work and I really enjoyed it and could see the development of every player in the team.
“We played Newcastle away in the last week of pre-season and we beat them 1-0, it was a real grinding result.
“It was then I knew the team was going to be very special and from there, it has built and I wanted to stay after I saw how things were going.”
McKay-s pleasure at signing a new deal alongside long-time midfield partner Murdocca and the emerging talent of Nichols was also evident.
“I-m very happy with my football, I can play each week, work on my game and help the younger players,” he said.
“It-s been great seeing players like Mitch step up this year and Massimo has always been my right-hand man in the midfield.”
Twenty one-year-old Nichols expressed he had no desire in playing for anyone but Brisbane Roar, saying he wanted to repay the faith to the club that gave him a chance as an 18-year-old back in 2007.
“When I first spoke to the gaffer, I told him I wanted to stay and once I saw the offer, I agreed,” the Gold Coast-born attacking weapon said.
“I saw a bit of speculation but I didn-t speak to anyone else.”
He highlighted Postecoglou-s belief in developing him as an important part of the Brisbane squad as a key factor to penning his new deal, especially after he felt his performances last season were below the standard he was capable of.
“Last year, I probably slacked off a little bit and that was my own fault – everyone was pushing me but I let myself down and I let the team down last year,” Nichols said.
“This year, I came back for pre-season with a new attitude, got right into it and stuck with it and I-m starting to get rewards now.
“Ange has been helping me a lot with my game recently, trying to add goals to my game because I obviously didn-t score many last year.
“But I-ve been working hard on everything out on the training field and it-s going really well.”
Murdocca said his new three year contract was made even more significant given the injury troubles that he-s suffered over his career, particular throughout his recovery from a broken leg where he saw hanging up his boots as a real possibility.
“Compared to these two boys, I had a set-back last year and it was a worrying time for me,” he said.
“No one wants to break their leg and sometimes it can be career-threatening and I definitely felt that way at the time.”
Despite wearing the orange jersey for more than five years now, the tireless midfielder said he still had plenty more to give to the Brisbane side.
“Coming back this year, some parts of my game I-ve still got to work on a little bit but overall I-ve been happy with the way I-ve gone this year,” Murdocca said.
“For Ange to show faith and to want to lock me up for three years, it-s a good sign for me that he values me as an important part of what he-s trying to do.”
Coach Postecoglou was deservedly pleased to have secured the services of three key players, saying the midfield trio would be major parts in creating a successful club culture.
“We-re delighted all three boys are staying with us – it-s great for the club, great for our supporters and for everyone involved,” he said.
“These are the type of players that we want to build this club around so I-m delighted they-ve all put pen to paper.
“They are our engine room, they are part of what we-re building and they tick all the right boxes on and off the field in what we are trying to create.
“My discussions with all three of them saw that they are all firmly fixed on making Brisbane Roar a successful football club.”
Brisbane Roar-s next home game is the December 26 derby clash with Gold Coast United. Kick-off for that match is 6pm and tickets are available through Ticketek.