‘Never again, especially against them’ – Broxham admits Semi-Final wounds still have not healed
Leigh Broxham has vowed to make sure Melbourne Victory never experience the devastating pain of a Big Blue mauling ever again.
Club stalwart Broxham described the 6-1 Hyundai A-League Semi-Final humbling in May 2019 as ‘a low light’ of his 13-year Victory career and admitted the result still hurts.
The aftermath of the bloodbath at Netstrara Jubilee Stadium saw the Sky Blues go on to take Victory’s crown as Champions, while the Navy Blue imploded from within as club chiefs hit the reset button in the off-season.
The 31-year-old says the wounds from of that fateful day cut so deep that it is impossible to look back on the 2-1 win Victory claimed in Sydney, 12 months ago, in the opening Big Blue of 2018/19.
“We don’t even really think about that at the moment, the only thing we really think about is the semi-final last season that transpired,” said Broxham, who netted an own goal to make the score 3-0 at half-time.
“For me, I know there’s been a lot of change, but it still hurts the way we went out last year and the manner of the loss, and to them, away from home.
“That loss last year still hurts. I can’t really talk about any win we had when the one that mattered, we didn’t show up.”
Following the embarrassing exit from the Final Series, a tidal wave of change crashed through the Victory coaching and playing departments.
The departures included seven-year head coach Kevin Muscat, club captain Carl Valeri, marquee star Keisuke Honda, top scorer Kosta Barbarouses, breakout talent Terry Antonis and overseas visa players Georg Niedermeier and Raul Baena.
For that reason, Broxham is not sure the impact of that shameful night will resonate with every heart, soul and mind in the Victory camp.
Since new coach Marco Kurz’s arrival, there is an argument that Victory have still not recovered. A result on Sunday to banish the painful memories of May 12, 2019 would go along way towards flipping that narrative.
“There’s been a lot of changes at the club, staff and playing roster, so it might not be as relevant for everybody,” he added, ahead of the first Big Blue of 2019/20 at 6.30pm AEDT on Sunday.
“On a personal level, it was a low light for me at the club.
“It’s not a proud moment in personal, and club history.
“[We need] not to let it happen again. Especially against them.”
Lawrence Thomas conceded six in that contest, but the Victory goalkeeper believes it’s crucial not to dwell on what happened in the Semi-Final.
“Through life, including outside of football, I think I’m very quick to deal with things and put things into perspective and move on straight away,” Thomas said, as the rivalry rekindles back at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Sunday.
“You had one team playing at home who came out and took their chances early.
“Then you get the accumulation of them being two or three up so early, being comfortable.
“One side you have a team that is maybe a bit edgy, a bit nervous, and it can compound itself.
“It’s an experience. I took a lot from it. If ever I’m in that situation again, I’d do a few things a bit differently.”