Exhibition matches can highlight Aus football: Ange

Anna Harrington |

Ange Postecoglou says Tottenham’s match with Newcastle in Melbourne is good for the local game.
Ange Postecoglou says Tottenham’s match with Newcastle in Melbourne is good for the local game.

Ange Postecoglou insists Tottenham Hotspur playing in Melbourne the same week as the A-League Men grand final can shine a light on Australian football, rather than it being a distraction.

Postecoglou’s Spurs play fellow English Premier League club Newcastle United at the MCG on Wednesday night.

It kicks off a packed schedule of football with the Geordies then taking on the A-League Men All Stars on Friday night, before Arsenal play the A-League Women All Stars in a double header at Marvel Stadium.

Ange Postecoglou and Son Heung-min are in Melbourne for their match against EPL rivals Newcastle. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

As a media throng packed the AAMI Park theatre for Postecoglou’s pre-match press conference alongside superstar captain Son Heung-min, his former charges Melbourne Victory were preparing at nearby Gosch’s Paddock for Saturday’s grand final against Central Coast in Gosford.

But Postecoglou, in his first trip to his hometown of Melbourne since 2019, was adamant the attention around his charges wouldn’t take the spotlight away from the ALM’s grandest stage.

“No, I don’t think so,” he said.

“I think it’s a good thing. It gets people talking about the game.

“I guess it’s kind of one of the bewilderments I have about Australian football – we think we compete with each other.

“But the fact there’s a big game (tomorrow), Newcastle v All Stars, it puts a focus on the game and I think it’ll just help highlight the grand final too, which should be a cracking game.

“I watched both finals last week and it should be a cracking game.”

When asked if he felt it could be a positive opportunity, Postecoglou said: “Yeah, I think so.

“We’ll get a big crowd tomorrow night and obviously they’ll get a big crowd on Friday night, it’s nice that the girls are playing as well.

“So it should be a great week for football.”

At an earlier lunch for Global Football Week, Postecoglou, who still watches the A-League, reflected on how top players and coaches still emerged from Australian football despite the code’s issues.

“Football in Australia is football in Australia. I don’t think too much has changed,” he said.

“I think there’s great endeavour to keep improving the game. There’s obviously some challenges here, that to be honest, have always been there and potentially could always be there. 

“But at the same time I’ve always felt it’s not the most fertile of ground but whatever does grow, it’s pretty nice mate. 

“Whatever comes through football here and breaks through is pretty cool, because it makes an impact worldwide. 

“We’ve seen that with some of the footballers who have graced the world and we’re still getting young guys going over there and now the girls are just smashing it. 

“Sometimes in the most barren of ground mate, the most beautiful things will grow. And I certainly think that’s the case for football.”