Match ball in hand and a second international hattrick added to his CV, Melbourne City captain Jamie Maclaren hailed “a new chapter” for the Socceroos after a 7-0 thumping of Bangladesh kicked off the qualifying campaign for the 2026 World Cup in some style.
A half-time substitute for Mitch Duke – himself the scorer of two goals in the first half – Maclaren made hay on his club’s home ground, exploiting space on the AAMI Park pitch to score another treble after the three he put past Nepal in Canberra four years ago.
At the start of qualifying for what would be his third World Cup, the Isuzu UTE A-League’s record goalscorer said the new faces being drafted into the squad by coach Graham Arnold were taking the team forward.
“It wasn’t bad in a place I do my business,” Maclaren said of his performance, talking on 10Play. “It’s seven goals but could have been more for myself as well.
MATCH REPORT: Seventh heaven for Socceroos in Bangladesh rout
“But we move on. It’s a new group, it’s a new chapter as well and (there were) some debuts – congratulations to Kusini (Yengi), he’s deserved that and he nearly got his goal as well.
“So there’s some young boys coming through and keeping us older boys on our toes. You always strive for better and we could have scored a lot more. The boys at the back were solid and I’m not even sure Maty (Ryan) had a save to make.
“So (I’m) proud of the team, but we obviously know that the next game (away to Palestine in Kuwait on Wednesday morning AEDT) is going to be a lot harder.”
Former Socceroos striker Alex Brosque, meanwhile, dubbed Australia’s performance as “perfect” for the way they tried to play through Bangladesh’s resolute defence.
“It was the perfect match when you look at what Bangladesh threw at us,” Brosque said on 10Play. “They didn’t sit back as much as we thought they would, they actually played quite open, which allowed those little triangles out in wide areas that Arnie was talking about pre-game to happen, it and allowed those combinations.
“Guys like Jordy Boss getting in behind, Lewis Miller as well… it was a perfect game to allow everybody to do their bit.
“It was almost like a training session at times with the combinations of what we were seeing.”