The phone call that led to City reunion for Socceroo who’s looking to put ‘hardest situation’ behind him

Premier of NSW Chris Minns has in collaboration with the APL announced the creation of Unite Round to headline the 2023/24 season.

Terry Antonis is determined to get back to his best following a difficult year at the Wanderers. The new Melbourne City midfielder chats with’s Nick D’Urbano following his move down south.

For almost two thirds of his life, Terry Antonis has grown up in front of our very eyes.

From winning a competition at 10 years old that led to him making a training skills DVD with David Beckham in Madrid, to almost signing with Everton as a teenager, to then emerging as one of Australia’s most naturally talented midfielders of the last decade.

Although his career never took off to the levels some may have predicted, Antonis looks back on his career with a glass half-full approach.

National team and club success – in both Australia and Korea – has followed, but now at age 29, Antonis is preparing for his next chapter as he touches down with reigning Isuzu UTE A-League premiers Melbourne City.


“In football, you never know what’s going to happen and growing up and stuff, I’ve seen that, but… I love the pressure as well,” he tells

“At the same time, I enjoy those moments, but it’s pretty hard as well. I guess it’s all part and parcel, you know? For me… being able to play overseas and represent my country… win the Asian Cup with the national team and win the Korean Cup and the A-League for me, it’s everything.

“I want to do more with my career, but at the same time, I’m happy with what I’ve been doing, so all I want to do is just keep improving when I can and do what I can to reach it.

“Football is very, very competitive and it’s very hard to stay at the top and I want to stay at the top for as long as I can.”

Antonis is determined to make the 2023-24 season a successful, working in a new environment under a coach he’s worked closely with in Rado Vidosic.

INS AND OUTS: Isuzu UTE A-League 2023-24 Transfer Centre

His arrival at City comes in the afterglow of a difficult two-year spell at Western Sydney Wanderers.

Initially signed from Korean giants Suwon Bluewings by Carl Robinson in 2021, the midfielder’s minutes tapered significantly in his second season sitting behind the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin, Calum Nieuwenhof, Romain Amalfitano and Oliver Bozanic in the pecking order.

In fact, Antonis didn’t play at all for the senior side in year two.

“Last season was the hardest situation I’ve been in throughout my whole career. It was extremely challenging not playing in any matches,” he said.


His contract was mutually terminated in May despite having a year left to run.

This allowed Antonis to explore his options elsewhere, and shortly after he was offered a lifeline by a familiar face in Vidosic, who was prepared to give the midfielder a chance at getting his career back on track.

SIGNING: Antonis ‘highly motivated and driven’ as he signs for Melbourne City, eyes ACL success

Vidosic worked closely with Antonis at Sydney FC in the 2013-14 season, where he served as assistant coach to Frank Farina.

If there was anyone who knew the abundance of talent he possesses, it was the City boss, who told News Corp in July: “We are getting a player who is very keen to prove himself again and a player who is desperate to get himself back to where he was.

And Antonis was just as keen on a reunion in the city he played some of his best football in with arch-rivals Victory – where he helped the club win the 2018 Isuzu UTE A-League Championship.

“I worked with him before at Sydney and I played alongside Dario (Vidosic) with the national team and stuff,” he said.

“I’ve known Rado for a long time and he’s a great coach to work under and obviously coming to Melbourne City, they’re at the moment the biggest club in the league and have great players and great resources. They’ve been up the top for the last four or five years.

“So I got the phone call and it was a decision… where there wasn’t too much to think about in the aspect of some great clubs that play great football and win things. That’s why I play football for to win things so it was a great club to come to.”

Antonis’ career has been a whirlwind journey, starting all the way back as a ten-year-old when he won a football talent competition, which gave him the chance to make a skills video with Beckham in Madrid.

It was a video of him juggling the ball that saw him win the competition, and have the opportunity to rub shoulders with one of the greatest players in the history of world football.

A few years later, Antonis was courted by Everton and had in-fact signed a five-year-deal with the club, before it was terminated due to being under the age of 18.

Eventually, he landed at the Sky Blues, where Antonis came through the club’s ranks and attracted further reported interest from the likes of Inter, Borussia Monchengladbach and Marseille.

He also signed a contract with then, Serie A side Parma in 2013 before that deal was taken off the table.

Antonis’ performances at Sydney also caught the eye of Ange Postecoglou, who selected him in his 23-man Socceroos squad for the 2015 Asian Cup, but was one of the unlucky players to not take the field at the successful tournament.

He finally secured his overseas transfer in the months that followed, joining Greek outfit PAOK, before a myriad a moves at the likes of fellow European outfits Veria and VVV-Venlo in the Netherlands, along with two stints at Western Sydney, a successful two-year stay at Victory and a spell at Suwon – where he won the Korean FA Cup in 2019.

Now he’s trusted with leading a City rebuild among many fresh faces in their 2023-24 squad, following the departures of a host of key individuals – namely in midfield – with the likes of Aiden O’Neill, Valon Berisha, Richard Van der Venne and Florin Berenguer all exiting.

He, along with fellow off-season arrivals Tolgay Arslan, Hamza Sakhi, Steven Ugarkovic and Alessandro Lopane are entrusted with filling the hole left by the aforementioned quartet.

The midfielder hopes their work will compliment the already established core in Jamie Maclaren, Mathew Leckie, Curtis Good and co who have remained from an ultra-successful era in the club’s history.


“There’s a lot of players that have come in and a lot of players have gone and the main thing is we’re all buying into what Rado wants and what the club wants,” he said.

“The team is gelling well and we’ll keep on gelling as the preseason continues and when the season starts. We’ve got a great facility, a great bunch of players that are around. A lot of players that have played overseas, a lot of players that played for the national team and coaching staff and backroom staff.

“It’s a pretty good transition for everyone to come in and buy into it and we’ll make sure we get the results that we need.

“For me, being part of the team and playing and stuff like that, it’s great. I just want to be able to show what I can do on the field. I want to win things and go forward, so very eager to do that.”

In a few substitute appearances, Antonis has shown his obvious talent.

Antonis featured in each of City’s matches on their run to the Australia Cup semi-finals, along with their opening Asian Champions League contest against Ventforet Kofu.

His performance against Wellington Phoenix in the Round of 16 was particularly impressive, helping wrap up the victory for his side with an assured display in midfield, where he played a role in both of Maclaren’s second-half goals.

For a player of his quality, it’s incredible to think that should he take the field in their season opener against Western United on Saturday, it will be his first minutes in the A-Leagues since May 8, 2022.

Although he’s only featured as a substitute so far, Antonis will be relied upon more than ever, as City juggle commitments in both the A-Leagues and Asia.

Playing in the Champions League is a relatively new experience for some of City’s players, but not for Antonis who has amassed experience playing in the continent’s premier club competition for the likes of Victory, Suwon and the Wanderers.


“Asian football itself is very good to be a part of,” he said.

“To be able to play in it and just go up against the best in Asia and mix it up with them. It’s great, that’s where you want to be and competing against different countries and in different leagues.

“It’s not easy. It’s pretty hard, especially the teams, but it’s great, it’s like being in Europe playing in the European Champions League, I guess.

“I played in Korea for two years, it’s different, but at the same time, it’s something that makes you want to become better as well.”