Victory announce four exits, including Socceroo who played just 46 minutes

Welcome to A-Leagues life, where KEEPUP brings you all the latest news and goings on at your club. This is how the week is shaping up across the A-Leagues and beyond.


Melbourne Victory announce four exits

Melbourne Victory have parted ways with four players, including a Socceroo.

On Wednesday, the club confirmed the exits of Matt Acton, Lleyton Brooks, Kike Cadete and Tomi Juric, who has played just 46 minutes of Isuzu UTE A-League football this term after joining in July.

Juric, who has made 41 appearances for Australia but not featured for the national team since 2018, will now become a free agent. The 31-year-old made a total of seven appearances during his short stint at Victory.

Acton’s six-year stint at the club has now come to an end after 46 appearances and an A-League Championship, while Spanish full-back Cadete departs after 26 appearances in his lone season in Melbourne.

Perhaps, Brooks is the most surprising departure. The 22-year-old has enjoyed limited minutes this season, but scored the goal that ultimately saw the club avoid the wooden spoon, striking in the 94th minute to seal a 2-1 victory over Macarthur in April.

Fate’s role in Polish star moving to Wellington

Oskar Zawada has taken the Isuzu UTE A-League by storm in his first season with Wellington Phoenix, who are preparing for Friday’s Elimination Final away to Adelaide United.

The Polish striker has scored 15 goals – only Roy Krishna (19) and Jeremy Brockie (16) have managed more in a single season for the ‘Nix – as he scooped Golden Boot and Player of the Year honours among others at Wellington’s awards night on Tuesday.

A former Wolfsburg and FC Twente frontman, he has enjoyed a career-best season with the Phoenix, repaying the faith shown by head coach Ufuk Talay and Wellington but it is a move that almost never happened.

ZAWADA: How ‘Nix star ‘won the lottery’ to play with De Bruyne & Ziyech

“When you’re becoming successful or when you’re doing well, many people try to say it’s because of me and my hard work. But I always say there is a God who always sends you somewhere, and that was exactly in this case,” Zawada said.

“Before I moved to Wellington Phoenix I was really close to signing with a German club but because I was sick I had to come back home.

“Then I had a conversation with Wellington Phoenix and because of that I came here. As I say, it was a bit of luck, but this is what I believe.

“There is a destiny and something that brought me here and made my career better.”

In total, Zawada took home the Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year, Members’ Player of the Year, Media Player of the Year, to go with his Golden Boot.

“I always said that I needed to be in the right environment and have people around me who believe in me,” Zawada said.

“After the first conversation with the coach I had a great feeling that they were going to count on me and believe in me, and it happened here.

“I’ve delivered my goals and everything went perfect.”


Where Birighitti would like to retire

Mark Birighitti now calls Scotland home via Dundee United – together with Socceroo Aziz Behich – and he has overcome some hurdles to cement himself as the club’s number one goalkeeper this season.

Birighitti arrived at United at the start of 2022-23 from Central Coast Mariners, where he spent three years and was twice named the A-League Men Goalkeeper of the Year in 2021 and 2022.

The Mariners, who are through to the Semi Final, are a club that remain close to the 32-year-old’s heart amid a Scottish Premiership relegation battle.

SCOTLAND VIEW: Classic Ange comment shows exactly how close Aussie is to ‘legendary status’

“I don’t want to look too far ahead… Five years time, I’d probably be back home in the A-League plying my trade. That’s where I’ll probably end up finishing my career,” Birighitti told beIN SPORTS Australia when asked about his future.

“Ideally I’d like to go back to the Mariners because they’re a fantastic club. They’re a club where they give an opportunity to young players. They basically have given me everything. So, if it wasn’t for the Mariners, I probably wouldn’t be in this position that I am today.

“I still watch all their games every weekend. I hold that club close to my heart.”

Dundee United are fourth in the six-team relegation split in the Scottish Premiership, four points above last-placed Ross County.

The bottom side are automatically relegated to the Championship, while the team that finish fifth (11th overall in the competition) will drop into a Premiership play-off final.