'It’s not an easy thing to do': Robbie Slater backs Maclaren as scoring record looms
It is a sign of how long the record has stood that even the man who set it had almost forgotten it completely.
Former Caltex Socceroo and now Fox Sports commentator Robbie Slater scored in each of his first five games for Sydney Croatia back in 1987, an Australian national league record.
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But that record could be equalled by Jamie Maclaren when his Melbourne City side travel north to face Sydney FC at Leichardt Oval on Sunday night.
Not that Slater was aware of it until it popped up on social media.
“It was quite a while ago which shows you that it’s not an easy thing to do, for it to stand so long,” Slater told www.a-league.com.au.
“To be honest, I’d forgotten when it came up on Twitter!
“I can absolutely remember [scoring] it, some people have put it up on Twitter and Fox Sports showed a couple, it was just so long ago.
“I wasn’t even a prolific goal scorer… I wasn’t a central striker like Jamie, I was more a winger and I was probably more known for making goals than scoring them.”
Slater moved from the NSL club in 1989 to Belgian giants Anderlecht and would enjoy a successful career in Europe with a famous Premier League win with Blackburn Rovers in 1994/95 the highlight.
While Maclaren has gone the other way, joining City from German club Darmstadt 98, Slater said he still has plenty of growth in him.
“He’s a good boy, a good pro Jamie,” Slater said.
“It didn’t work out the way he wanted it at this point in time overseas but he’s managed to get himself back into the Socceroos, played games at the Asian Cup, scored a goal and got the monkey off his back.
“He’s come back to Melbourne City and he’s scoring goals which is the job. Strikers thrive off scoring goals, they’re not happy at home when they’re not scoring goals.
“It’s what they want to do, that’s what they’re there for. It’s the way it is, that’s the nature of it and it’s what they’re judged on.”
Slater will be in the commentary box for Sunday’s game and while he is very proud of solely owning the record, said that he hoped Maclaren would continue to bang goals in for both club and country.
“We need the likes of Jamie to score goals and continue to develop because the national team desperately needs it,” Slater explained.
“That’s the bigger picture but of course in the short term I’m sure he’ll be pretty motivated, why not, a record’s a record.
“If he equals it tomorrow then I’m pretty sure it’ll last for a long time.”