With Friday night’s game nearly called off, Jamie Maclaren says the situation gave the players “a bit of perspective” after a devastating week of bushfires.
The decision was left to the team doctors as a result of the air’s quality ranging between 150 and 200 an hour before kick-off, before eventually coming down to 57.8 as players came out for the second half.
While Maclaren,26, did not believe the smoke had an influence he told FNR the players had the country’s firefighters on their minds.
“We’re out there training to play football the game we love but we know there’s guys fighting fires who are putting their lives in danger, so we get on with it,” he said.
“Scott Jamieson called us into a huddle and said ‘there’s guys out there fighting fires and we’re out here playing in front of our fans playing in our stadium, so let’s go out there and give it our all and basically don’t make excuses because there’s guys out there a lot worse than us, a hell of a lot worse than us and we’re out here enjoying our lives playing football.’ It was a nice little opener and gave a bit of perspective.”
“Driving into the stadium you couldn’t even see over the Bolte bridge and it was a bit like, is this game going ahead?”
“Once we got to the stadium and saw the pitch was a bit foggy and we went into the dressing room and waiting around for the doctors to make the call and it started to slowly go away, don’t get me wrong it was hot it was humid but it didn’t affect me in terms of my chest and my ability to run.”
Maclaren was instrumental in City’s 3-2 win over Western United, scoring a first half brace to take his individual tally to 12 this season and jump ahead of Adam Le Fondre the Golden Boot race.
The win was much needed for City, who suffered consecutive defeats to Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC over the festive period, with Maclaren setting his sights on winning silverware and qualifying for Asia in 2020.
“We needed a win after the last two weeks we needed to pick up and start stringing wins and start getting up the table I guess and get closer to Sydney,” Maclaren said.
“I want to win something as a player I want to win a title and some silverware and I want to qualify for the Asian Champions league with this club because I know that’s one of our goals.
“A big reason why I back to this club and my hometown was because I want to give back to a city I’d been away from for 11 years and stamp my authority.
“When I left Melbourne at age 15, I said I wanted to play professionally in Melbourne and play in front of my family week-in-week-out and thankfully Melbourne City gave me the opportunity last January and I haven’t looked back since.”