Aussies Abroad Wrap: Rogic, Hrustic & Boyle score stunners in return to club football
The return to domestic football this weekend proved to be a seamless one for many of our Socceroos!
Ajdin Hrustic and Tom Rogic provided crucial braces in their first game back, as both sides recorded important victories.
While in Saudi Arabia, Martin Boyle impressed on debut with a goal and assist for new side Al-Faisaly.
Watch their highlights in the player above, and read on to check out our full Aussies Abroad wrap!
England & Scotland
Tom Rogic was thrust straight back into the Celtic starting side for their match away to Motherwell, following the Hoops' fantastic derby display mid-week without the Aussie.
The Wizard from Oz needed little time to readjust from international football back to his club, scoring two in a MOTM performance, as the new Scottish league leaders cruised to a 4-0 victory. Rogic's first goal was a spectacular long-range effort, with the attacking midfielder flicking the ball from the left foot away from his marker, then arching it from 20 yards out, over Motherwell's hapless keeper.
The second goal showcased an evolution in Rogic's game, coming after Celtic winger Abada flicked the ball into the penalty area without a general target, hoping for a teammate to reach it. Despite the weight of pass and amount of defenders, Rogic burst forward and latched on to the ball first. Rather than the spectacular 25+ yard strikes that the Australian has become synonymous for, Rogic's contributions this season have largely been of a goal-poaching nature.
Despite not being available to play in their FA Cup Fourth Round tie away at Manchester United, Riley McGree watched on as his new side Middlesbrough secured a famous victory at Old Trafford, headlining a huge weekend of upsets in England's premier cup competition.
Another Aussie who transitioned back to club football seamlessly was Ajdin Hrustic, who bagged a brace off the bench as Eintracht Frankfurt secured a crucial 3-2 victory away at Stuttgart in the Bundesliga. Hrustic started the match as a substitute, following the midfielder's heavy travel schedule during the international break, yet was introduced at half-time with his side level and gradually losing momentum of the match.
The 25-year-old changed the game within 90 seconds, as a wayward corner found the Australian on the edge of the box, who side volleyed the ball through a sea of legs and into the bottom-left corner.
Stuttgart found themselves level once again with 20 minutes to play, yet the reprieve was short lived, as a fast counter by Frankfurt less than 10 minutes later landed to Hrustic in the same spot as his first goal. The midfielder changed his technique, wrapping the ball toward goal with his left foot, as the aid of a deflection helping guide the strike past the goalkeeper. The match-winning performance further stamps Hrustic's claim for a regular starting spot in Germany's top-tier.
Meanwhile, Jackson Irvine played a full 90 minutes for club side FC St Pauli, in a 2-2 draw at home to Paderborn. The result could be seen in both a positive and negative light, as that one point keeps St Pauli in an automatic promotion place, yet the two points that could have been gained from victory, would have been enough for Irvine's side to lead the 2. Bundesliga competition.
Socceroo Brandon Borrello and his side Dynamo Dresden were less fortunate over the weekend, losing 4-1 at home to Hansa Rostock. Borello was eased back into the side off the bench, playing the last 20 minutes as Dresden chased the game late.
To Belgium now, and defender Trent Sainsbury backed up his international campaign with a 90 minute performance for Kortrijk, who were beaten at home 3-1 to fellow mid-table outfit Sint-Truiden. Kortrijk are in little danger of relegation, yet possess an unwanted record, having failed to win in the league since mid-December.
James Jeggo made his club debut off the bench this weekend, with the midfielder brought on at half-time for his team AS Eupen as they trailed Belgian giants Anderlecht away from home. The 29-year-old's efforts were not rewarded however, as Eupen slip closer to the relegation zone after that 4-1 defeat to the side from Brussels.
Aziz Behich and Turkish Süper Lig side Giresunspor were defeated 1-0 away to title challengers Konyaspor, with Behich's side requiring other results to fall their way, to stay above the relegation zone. The Australian fullback played 85 minutes but was replaced as Giresunspor threw on a host of attacking options, hoping for a late equaliser.
Asia & Middle East
At any new side, Martin Boyle loves to win over the supporters early, with the winger doing just that on his debut in Saudi Arabia, scoring one and assisting one as Al Faisaly comfortably put away Damak 3-0 at home.
Boyle's side had greatly underperformed prior this season to the Australian's arrival, with this victory hopefully becoming the catalyst for a late-campaign push towards continental competition.