Tomas Rogic leaves the field after his red card on Thursday night. Photo: Brendan Esposito
Tom Rogic's coach has come to the defence of the under-fire playmaker, blaming the Central Coast Mariner's red card on a lack of protection from the referee.
Mariners coach Graham Arnold said the terrible tackle, which led to Rogic's send-off, was ''totally out of character'' for his young No.10.
But Francis Awaritefe, an SBS soccer analyst and former Socceroos striker, dismissed the defence of Rogic as ''ridiculous''.
Rogic was sent off in the Mariners' 1-0 A-League loss to Sydney FC on Thursday night for a dangerous tackle on Rhyan Grant.
With just 30 seconds remaining in the game, Rogic's one-footed lunge at the FC midfielder led to a melee before the 20-year-old was given his marching orders. Arnold said the tackle arose from frustration after repeated fouling throughout the game.
Missing a clear-cut chance to give the Mariners the lead probably didn't help that frustration.
In the 84th minute, Rogic found himself with the goal at his mercy only to spoon his shot over the bar from five metres out.
His coach thought a few free kicks would have prevented the send-off.
''There didn't seem to be too much protection there for Tommy, I know he's getting fouled a lot,'' Arnold said on Friday.
''The foul that Tommy did at the end to get the red card was totally out of character for the boy. If people know him, he's totally not like that. I think it was more to do with the frustration of getting fouled all the time and not getting any protection.''
It's not the first time Arnold has called for the referees to keep an eye on Rogic.
In the lead-up to Central Coast's 7-2 slaughter of Sydney in early November, he said Rogic was one of the most-fouled players in the A-League and needed to be looked after. Arnold was circumspect about the incident as something that happens in football.
''He's an honest player, he's not a dirty player, he's not someone who would ever do anything to harm another person or with any malice,'' he said. ''He's devastated the game ended that way for him, because up until then I thought he was fantastic.
''They [Sydney FC] seemed to be wary of him at the times they needed to be. Look that's football, it's a learning process for Tommy and Tommy has to get used to that.''
But Awaritefe took to Twitter to dismiss Arnold's defence. He thought there clearly was intent.
''I've no time for people talking about 'intent' or trying to mitigate reckless tackles by saying, 'He's not that sort of player'. Bollocks!'' Awaritefe tweeted.
He added the game today was ''far less physical'' than when he was a player in the '80s and '90s.
Awaritefe labelled Rogic's tackle as a bad one. ''A reckless & dangerous tackle by Rogic, with absolutely no regard for the safety of Grant. To say he had no intent is a ridiculous argument,'' he tweeted.
The Mariners expect the A-League disciplinary committee to decide Rogic's fate on Sunday.