Local Aussies: Cool-headed Malik eases City's injury concern

The first week of the Hyundai A-League Finals Series saw clutch performers come to the fore as the two Melbourne clubs advanced to the final four.

In the latest installment of Local Aussies, we cast an eye over three homegrown products who stood tall in the Elimination Finals.



Warren Joyce is an unabashed fan of Osama Malik and it was easy to see why with his calming display at the back in Melbourne City's 2-0 win over Brisbane Roar.

The 27-year-old, who only returned last week from a six-week quad injury, was described as "tremendous" by his manager for the job he did in replacing sidelined skipper Michael Jakobsen.

He saw more of the ball than any other player on the pitch and ticked every defensive box as City confirmed their place on the plane to Newcastle.

"When you're injured sometimes it can feel like a long road ahead," Malik told melbournecityfc.com.au of his recovery.

"To come into the team now at an important time and play a decent role is definitely pleasing.

"We've got everything to play for [in Newcastle]. We're confident in our ability as a team to do the job."


Rhys Williams' seemingly natural state of relaxation is a valuable asset for a defender in the cauldron of Finals Series football.

In his first such appearance as a Melbourne Victory player, the 29-year-old turned in a high-class performance that helped keep the hosts moving proactively toward their come-from-behind win over Adelaide United at AAMI Park.

He made 66 passes - 10 more than any other player - including 33 in Adelaide's own half.

The centre-back also contested a team-high eight aerial duels and, to illustrate his intelligence, won four fouls while conceding zero in the process.

Despite the impressive stats, Williams was content to deflect praise to his team-mates.

"All credit to the boys. We worked hard and kept going after going behind," he told Fox Sports.

"I feel good. All the boys in front of me did all the dirty work. I just mopped up behind them."

Rhys Williams
Williams combined silk and steel on Sunday.


If there is one mark against Williams' performance for Victory it was his inability to catch Nikola Mileusnic for Adelaide's opener.

He's certainly not the first to find himself in that situation and won't be the last.

The exceptionally quick Mileusnic showed he's more than just a speedster with a smart run and clinical finish to cap off Isaias' first-time free-kick.

It was the winger's third and most important goal of a breakthrough campaign.

While the Reds ultimately fell out of the Finals Series, Marco Kurz can be encouraged by the knowledge he has a serious weapon at his disposal for next season.