Brisbane Roar midfielder Stefan Mauk has no shortage of motivation ahead of Saturday evening’s Hyundai A-League meeting with Melbourne City.
The clash will be just Mauk’s third Hyundai A-League fixture in Roar colours as the midfielder chases his first league goal - and win - for Brisbane.
A groin problem has left him on the sidelines in recent weeks but Mauk is set to feature at Suncorp Stadium, and his return is a timely one, coming against the club he played for last season.
The 23-year-old scored three times for Melbourne City against the Roar in the 2017/18 Season, and is determined to fire Brisbane to their first triumph of this campaign.
“I try and get up and be motivated as much as possible for every game,” he told a-league.com.au.
“But when you do come up against your old team, you do want to win.
“When I play my best friends, I want to beat them more than some random person I don’t know … it’s always good to get one over your mates.
“You want to beat them because you know a lot of players there and I think I’ve always performed well against my old teams.
“Hopefully that can continue on tomorrow night.”
So who is Mauk most looking forward to coming up against?
“There’s a few I’m still in contact with,” he said.
“Harrison Delbridge, I’ll message him a bit, and then Luke Brattan … I’m pretty good friends with most of the players in that team.
“Of course there’s going to be a little bit of feeling in it.”
And while that feeling might be somewhat subdued, given Mauk has already come up against his former employers in the FFA Cup and a friendly, the fact that three points are on the line will amplify his motivation.
Roar boss John Aloisi revealed this week he had sounded out Mauk for tips on City but key to Brisbane's chances is avoiding another slow start, with the concession of early goals becoming a frustrating trait of Aloisi’s side in the first four rounds of the 2018/19 Season.
“We’ve been focusing on the start of training sessions, making sure we’re switched on from the start, whether it’s the warm up, or in the first drill … it’s just a mentality,” Mauk said.
“You start a couple of games slowly and then you probably think about it more than you should … it’s now just about going there and starting the game well.
“I think that’s the first tackle, or your first pass or your first shot … really making an impact. It only really needs one person to lead by example for the rest to follow.”
Mauk also paid tribute to his mother and the Westfield Matildas as rebel Female Football Round is celebrated across the weekend.
“Going back to my childhood, my mum was always the one that was helping out, taking me places and, again, supporting me with no matter what I wanted,” he added.
“She was always there for me and still is.
“The Matildas are doing great things at the moment. They’re doing great at the moment and we should really be feeding off them.
“They’re one of the best teams in the world and hopefully they’re going to be pushing to win the World Cup which is great.”