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Fortune proves fickle as Victory's Tom Rogic and James Troisi push for World Cup berths

James Troisi (centre) celebrates a goal.

James Troisi (centre) celebrates a goal. Photo: Getty Images

Two players returned to Australia and signed for Melbourne Victory this season in a bid to boost their World Cup prospects.

One, Tom Rogic, has been hit by injury and has figured far less than he, and the Victory hierarchy, had hoped.

The other, James Troisi, has been ever present as Victory campaigned in the A-League and Asian Champions League and has emerged as a key man for the navy blues.

Tom Rogic turns out for Melbourne Victory.

Tom Rogic turns out for Melbourne Victory. Photo: Getty Images

It's an intriguing comparison, and one which shows that ability is only one part of the equation if a player is going to succeed at the highest level.

He also needs luck, with form and injuries, and the right mental approach.

Rogic has had little luck since joining Victory, to great fanfare, from Glasgow Celtic in the January transfer window. He has made little more than cameo appearances and has yet to justify, in any sustained fashion, the hype that accompanied the signing of a player of his undoubted talents.

Troisi's return was low-key after a decade spent battling for a breakthrough at the highest levels in Europe.

Although he was on the books of Premier League club Newcastle as a youngster and is now officially owned by Juventus, he has not played for the Italian giants. Troisi spent several years in Turkey before moving to Italy, where another club, Atalanta, bought half of his ownership alongside Juve.

But for Victory the 25-year-old has been in hot form week in and week out.

The Adelaide-born midfielder/striker has shown great mental strength to shrug off the disappointments of Europe to regroup and establish himself as one of the best Australians of his generation in his first season in the A-League.

Troisi notched a dozen goals during the home and away season, ranking him second (behind Newcastle's Adam Taggart) in the race for the Golden Boot.

But more than that, he has been a provider on numerous occasions, and he hit the target three times in Victory's gallant Asian Champions League campaign which ended on Tuesday night with a scoreless draw in South Korea against Jeonbuk Motors.

Troisi missed that match, as did captain Mark Milligan, who was suspended, the rested Pablo Contreras and the ineligible Gui Finkler. And it those four players who are likely to prove pivotal to Victory's hopes when they return against Brisbane on Sunday.

Such has been Troisi's form that he has surely played his way into the World Cup squad.

Socceroo boss Ange Postecoglou signed him for Victory when he was still the manager there, so obviously believed that he had plenty to offer, and while Postecoglou left just three rounds into the campaign to take on the national team job he has kept a close eye on the player in the succeeding months.

He must have been impressed.

There were some shaky moments early on, especially when Kevin Muscat replaced Postecoglou - Troisi was on the end of a tongue-lashing from his new coach when he seemed to sulk after being substituted in a tactical reshuffle following Adrian Leijer's dismissal against Adelaide in November. But he has put that behind him to become one of the first names on Muscat's team sheet when the coach is selecting his strongest line-up.

Troisi desperately wants to go to the World Cup and believes he has made as good a case as he can, playing regularly, scoring goals and showing desire and commitment.

Muscat says Troisi has done as much as possible to stake his claim, and he paid tribute to the player's attiude and commitment to training and doing what he needs to to stay in shape given the demanding match schedule Victory has faced.

"He's reaping the benefits of that now because his body is in as good a nick as it's going to get [for] him,'' Muscat says.

"He's been in superb form and, more than that, he's working ever so hard for his teammates, so I couldn't be happier with where he sits."

As far as the World Cup squad is concerned, Muscat says, ''he's not done his chances any harm."

''He's playing regularly - one of the boxes needing to be ticked - he's scoring goals, his work-rate's tremendous, he's setting up goals. He's going very, very well for us."

Troisi's success throws into relief the disappointment over Rogic's inability to get on the field and make a contribution to Victory's campaign both domestically and in the continental competition. There is no guarantee, as yet, that he will be able to play at the weekend.

In fact, if playing regularly is a criteria for being part of the squad for Brazil, it's fair to ask whether the talented 21-year-old has done enough to merit a call-up.

It is almost impossible to see him as a first-choice player in the Socceroos' starting line-up now - although many would have predicted, just over three months ago when he arrived in Melbourne, that that is what he would have become.

In fact, Troisi may well have gone past him in the pecking order.

Rogic's natural ability will probably mean that Postecoglou - who had been a huge fan earlier in his career - will include him in the squad if only to give him experience of the big time so that if he makes the progress expected over the next four years he would be ready to play his part in Russia.

But as in everything in life, there are no guarantees.

Both Rogic and Troisi will be hoping Victory can upset the applecart and turn over Brisbane on Sunday to give them an extra week and the biggest stage of all, the grand final, to prove their worth one last time.

Hyundai A - 2014-15 - All Rounds

Round 1
Fri, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
VIC 4 vs WST 1 Report Stats
Sat, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs NEW Report Stats
SYD 1 vs MEC 1 Report Stats
Sun, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs PER 2 Report Stats
BRI 1 vs ADE 2 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 17 OctTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1 vs VIC 1 Report Stats
Sat, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs WEL 2 Report Stats
SYD 3 vs WST 2 Report Stats
Sun, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
MEC 1 vs NEW 1 Report Stats
PER 3 vs BRI 2 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 24 OctTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs SYD 2 Report Stats
Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
VIC 5 vs MEC 2 Report Stats
Sun, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 4 vs NEW 1 Report Stats
ADE 2 vs PER Report Stats
Wed, 19 NovTimes shown AEDT
WST vs CCM 17:00Pirtek Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs ADE 19:30AAMI
Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
PER vs NEW 17:00NIB
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs CCM 16:00AS
Mon, 03 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs WEL 19:30AAMI
Wed, 03 DecTimes shown AEDT
WST vs BRI 19:30Pirtek Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 07 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs WST 18:30WS
ADE vs SYD 20:15Coopers Stadium
Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs VIC 17:00HUN
BRI vs MEC 20:30SS
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs PER 17:00Central Coast Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 14 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs BRI 19:30HUN
Sat, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs WEL 17:00Coopers Stadium
SYD vs VIC 19:30AS
PER vs WST 21:45NIB
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs CCM 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 21 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs BRI 19:30ES
Sat, 22 NovTimes shown AEDT
WST vs NEW 17:00Pirtek Stadium
MEC vs SYD 19:30AAMI
PER vs WEL 21:45NIB
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs ADE 17:00Central Coast Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 28 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs ADE 19:00AAMI
Sat, 29 NovTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs PER 17:00SS
WST vs SYD 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs MEC 16:00WS
NEW vs CCM 17:00HUN
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Wed, 03 DecTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs NEW 20:00SS
Tue, 09 DecTimes shown AEDT
WST vs PER 19:30TBC
Thu, 08 JanTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs SYD 17:30WS
Mon, 02 FebTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs CCM 19:30AAMI
Wed, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs MEC 19:30Coopers Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Thu, 04 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs PER 19:30AS
Fri, 05 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs VIC 19:30TBC
Sat, 06 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs WEL 17:00HUN
ADE vs WST 20:00Coopers Stadium
Sun, 07 DecTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs BRI 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs BRI 19:30Coopers Stadium
PER vs NEW 21:45NIB
Sat, 13 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs CCM 16:00EP
WST vs MEC 17:00Pirtek Stadium
VIC vs SYD 19:30ES
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 19 DecTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs WST 20:00SS
Sat, 20 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs ADE 17:00HUN
MEC vs VIC 19:30AAMI
PER vs CCM 21:45NIB
Sun, 21 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs WEL 17:00AS
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 26 DecTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs PER 17:30AAMI
SYD vs ADE 19:30AS
Sat, 27 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs BRI 17:00Central Coast Stadium
VIC vs NEW 19:30AAMI
Sun, 28 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs WST 17:00WS
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Tue, 30 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs MEC 17:00HUN
BRI vs SYD 20:00SS
Wed, 31 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs WEL 19:30Coopers Stadium
Thu, 01 JanTimes shown AEDT
WST vs CCM 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Fri, 02 JanTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs PER 19:30Simonds Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Sat, 03 JanTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs NEW 19:30WIN Stadium
Sun, 04 JanTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs BRI 15:00WS
CCM vs MEC 17:00Central Coast Stadium
Mon, 05 JanTimes shown AEDT
PER vs ADE 23:00NIB
Tue, 06 JanTimes shown AEDT
WST vs VIC 19:30Pirtek Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Sat, 24 JanTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs NEW 17:00Coopers Stadium
CCM vs SYD 19:30Central Coast Stadium
Sun, 25 JanTimes shown AEDT
PER vs VIC 20:00NIB
Sun, 01 FebTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs WEL 15:00SS
MEC vs WST 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 06 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs BRI 19:30HUN
Sat, 07 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs ADE 17:00Central Coast Stadium
VIC vs MEC 19:30ES
PER vs SYD 21:45NIB
Sun, 08 FebTimes shown AEDT
WST vs WEL 17:00Pirtek Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs BRI 19:30Central Coast Stadium
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs MEC 16:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
NEW vs WST 17:00HUN
SYD vs VIC 19:30AS
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs PER 17:00Coopers Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs VIC 20:00SS
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs CCM 17:00AS
ADE vs WST 20:00Coopers Stadium
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs NEW 16:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
MEC vs PER 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs ADE 19:30AAMI
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs CCM 17:00HUN
WST vs SYD 19:30Pirtek Stadium
PER vs BRI 21:45NIB
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs WEL 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs SYD 19:30HUN
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs ADE 18:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
VIC vs PER 19:30AAMI
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs MEC 15:00Central Coast Stadium
BRI vs WST 17:00SS
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Thu, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs CCM 19:30Coopers Stadium
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST vs VIC 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs BRI 19:30AS
PER vs WEL 21:45NIB
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs NEW 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs MEC 19:30AS
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST vs NEW 17:00Pirtek Stadium
ADE vs VIC 20:00Coopers Stadium
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs PER 15:00Central Coast Stadium
BRI vs WEL 17:00SS
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs CCM 19:30AAMI
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs BRI 19:30AAMI
PER vs WST 21:45NIB
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs SYD 15:00WS
NEW vs ADE 17:00HUN
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs CCM 21:00SS
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
WST vs MEC 16:00Pirtek Stadium
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs ADE 19:30AS
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs VIC 16:00WS
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
NEW vs PER 16:00HUN
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
VIC vs NEW 19:30AAMI
PER vs SYD 21:45NIB
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
ADE vs BRI 17:00Coopers Stadium
CCM vs WST 19:30Central Coast Stadium
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
MEC vs WEL 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 27
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs CCM 17:30WS
NEW vs SYD 19:45HUN
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
WST vs ADE 17:00Pirtek Stadium
BRI vs VIC 19:30SS
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
PER vs MEC 17:00NIB
View All Fixtures
Hyundai A - 2014-15 - Ladder
Overall standings
Team P W D L +/- Pts
Melbourne Victory FC 3 2 1 0 6 7
Sydney FC 3 2 1 0 3 7
Adelaide United FC 3 2 1 0 3 7
Wellington Phoenix FC 3 2 0 1 3 6
Perth Glory FC 3 2 0 1 0 6
Central Coast Mariners FC 2 1 0 1 0 3
Melbourne City FC 3 0 2 1 -3 2
Newcastle Jets FC 3 0 1 2 -4 1
View all
 
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