Where are they now? First-ever Big Blue in 2005

Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC open their Hyundai A-League 2017/18 seasons with a blockbuster Grand Final rematch this Saturday night at Etihad Stadium.

Twelve years ago, the two sides met on the opening weekend of the very first Hyundai A-League season.

And what a way to start the rivalry with a couple of huge names getting on the scoresheet.

We look back at five players who started the very first “Big Blue” and ask, “Where are they now?”


The six-cap Caltex Socceroos fullback played the first two Hyundai A-League seasons with Sydney FC, making 43 appearances

He then moved to Japanese second division team Avispa Fukuoka, reuniting with inaugural Sydney FC coach Pierre Littbarski.

Short stints at the Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United followed and in 2015, was named in Sydney FC's team of the decade.

At 42 years old, he still pulls on the boots for Illawarra Premier League side Dapto Dandaloo and mixes his football with work for an oil company.

Alvin Ceccoli



The talented midfielder was just 18 when he played in Victory's first ever Hyundai A-League game.

The following year he was invited by Caltex Socceroos coach Guus Hiddink to the team's training camps in Holland and Germany ahead of the 2006 World Cup.

He made his Australian debut as a substitute in the side's final pre-World Cup game against Liechtenstein and added a second cap two years later.

He scored Victory's final goal in their 6-0 Grand Final mauling of Adelaide United in 2007 and famously kissed the bald head of Prime Minster during the medal presentations.

However, injury curtailed his promising career and he didn't reach the heights his early potential suggested he might.

Sarkies turns 31 later this month and now plays his football for Victorian NPL side Dandenong Thunder.

Kristian Sarkies



After a 20-year professional career during which he played 92 games in the Hyundai A-League for Sydney FC and North Queensland Fury, along with a stint at Turkish giants Galatasaray, the former Caltex Socceroos midfielder moved into coaching.

He spent time as the assistant coach of the Australian under-17 team and at the FFA Centre of Excellence programme at the Australian Institute of Sport.

In September last year he was named head coach of Australia's under-20 team, replacing Paul Okon when he became coach of the Central Coast Mariners.

Ufuk Talay


Next month Talay will guide Australia as they play qualifying matches for the 2018 under-19 Asian Cup in Indonesia.

The matches in Shepparton are against Hong Kong, DPR Korea and Northern Mariana Islands.


The tough-tackling defender's stint with Victory came in the middle of a 16-year career which also included time playing in Indonesia and Malaysia.

In all, "Panta" played 151 Hyundai A-League games for Victory, Gold Coast United and Perth Glory, appearing in two Grand Finals.

Now 34 years old, Pantelidis still turns out for Victorian NPL side Oakleigh Cannons and works at ANZ Bank as a Relationship Assistant Manager.

Steve Pantelidis to leave Perth Glory



The 30-cap Caltex Socceroo returned home after several years playing overseas to be part of the inaugural Sydney FC squad.

He played 50 games across three seasons in the Hyundai A-League before a move into a player-coach role at Sydney United.

Zdrillic also held a high-profile football role with SBS for several years.

He returned to the Sky Blues in 2015 as part of the coaching ranks, helping guide the NPL side for two years and coaching the club's under-20 team last season.

In July of this year, he was lured to the revolutionary setup at Bundesliga runners-up RB Leipzig to become the assistant coach of the club's under-17 team.

David Zdrillic


The first ever “Big Blue”

Sunday 28 August 2005

Allianz Stadium

Attendance: 25,208

Referee: Mark Shield

Sydney FC 1 (Dwight Yorke 44) Melbourne Victory 1 (Archie Thompson 73)


Sydney FC: Clint Bolton, Alvin Ceccoli, Andrew Packer, Iain Fyfe, Mark Rudan (Jacob Timpano), Ufuk Talay (Matthew Bingley), Steve Corica, Terry McFlynn, David Zdrillic (David Carney), Sasho Petrovski, Dwight Yorke.

Melbourne Victory: Eugene Galekovic, Kevin Muscat (C), Geoffrey Claeys, Adrian Leijer, Steve Pantelidis (Chris Tadrosse), Michael Ferrante, Carl Recchia, Kristian Sarkies (Ricky Diaco), Andy Vlahos, Danny Allsopp, Archie Thompson.