Zadkovich embraces Roar ‘curve ball’ after ALM return

Joel Gould |

Roar coach Ruben Zadkovich hugs Ayom Majok on an emotional night for the stand-in boss.
Roar coach Ruben Zadkovich hugs Ayom Majok on an emotional night for the stand-in boss.

Acting Brisbane Roar head coach Ruben Zadkovich has been left reflecting on “the rollercoaster” that is football after his ascension to the top job in difficult circumstances.

The 37-year-old was a proud man after Corey Brown’s 95th minute equaliser secured the ninth-placed Roar a 1-all draw with A-League Men ladder leaders Wellington Phoenix at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

Zadkovich had been thrust into the job on Thursday as the Roar’s fourth mentor of the season after head coach Ben Cahn took indefinite sick leave

A fortnight ago, the former Socceroo was in coaching limbo after resigning from his role as head coach of Perth Glory last year. 

He had signed on with the Roar to assist Cahn.  Now he will be acting head coach for an indefinite period.

“It is a rollercoaster for sure,” Zadkovich said of the sport he has loved since he was six years old.

“I have been in football my whole life. It is all I have known … and seen the highs and lows and everything in between as a player and certainly felt it as a coach.

“But I have got a firm belief in who I am and what I want to do in the game. I was waiting for the right opportunity to work with good people.

“After speaking with (Roar) management and Ben, who is a great person … that is what attracted me. It was a great opportunity. It is funny how football works. Here I am.” 

Coach support at Roar
Roar fans displayed a message of support for coach Ben Cahn, who’s on sick leave. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

The first subject Zadkovich addressed after the draw was the health of Cahn, wishing him a return to “health and happiness” in quick time. Fans also unfurled a banner saying “Get well soon Gaffer” on the night.

The Roar lost captain Tom Aldred in the warm-up to a calf injury and also Henry Hore (knee) and Jack Hingert (concussion) during the first half, but the players rallied. 

“Football is a funny game. It throws so many curve balls and Brisbane Roar have had a few curve balls over the last season or two and probably a bit longer,” said Zadkovich.

“All the staff, players and fans have been through a lot. It is nice when a club sticks together in tough times. I have only been here a week-and-a-half and I was really proud to wear the badge and be a part of that group sticking together in tough times.”

He said it was “hard to say” whether the comeback draw could be a turning point for the club this season after they had lost eight of their previous nine matches, but added “the effort and togetherness” shown by the squad was heartening. 

“I gave them some clear principles that I wanted to implement in a short space of time, and some non-negotiables, and I saw those in action,” he said.

“I saw the belief in their eyes and how hard they worked. I think it is a good starting point but there is a long way to go.”