Bulls back and ready to charge says Oar

-

Macarthur FC had the third-longest COVID-19 break in the A-League Men’s. In the matches that welcomed them back to a more conventional frequency of fixtures, forgivable signs of rustiness granted them just two points from four games.

They would go on to win their next two games. A 4-1 home-turf flattening over Adelaide United set the tone for a gritty midweek win against Perth Glory in Tasmania.

With six points earned on the spin for the third time this season, ever-present Tommy Oar believes the Bulls are ready to charge again.

“It’s obviously been a difficult set of circumstances coming back from a long COVID break,” he said.

Embed from Getty Images

“Once we got the win under our belt against Adelaide on the weekend, that was really good for our confidence and then we were able to carry that through into the game against Perth too.

“I think we’re in a strong position for the second half of the season to really finish strong.”

There is no good time for a club to be forced into the unpredictable and unprecedented circumstance of a COVID-enduced football lockdown. For Macarthur, they found themselves in second place when the lights went red. Four wins from their seven games had impressed everyone given the myriad reasons suggesting they could have it pretty tough.

Embed from Getty Images

There has been plenty to highlight just how difficult it is to make a return to football afterwards. As Oar details the struggles of the break, he leaves little space between commendations of head coach Ante Milicic and his staff.

“The difficult thing was no one knew how long the break was going to last. It wasn’t like they just cancelled all games for a month and the club could plan for that accordingly. We kept thinking the game was gonna come in a few days and then something would happen and they would have to postpone it,” Oar said.

“They did a really good job in managing our loads and slowly introducing us back into full team training. I think now all the boys are pretty much back to where we were before before the break.”

Embed from Getty Images

Perhaps the most difficult factor in managing a squad amidst outbreaks of COVID-19 is the insufficiency of a one-size-fits-all approach. Dealing with crises as a team evidently does not translate to everyone coping with the virus in the same fashion.

“For me personally, after a few days of getting eased back in, I made a full recovery; there wasn’t too much of a hiccup,” he said.

“But some other individuals had some symptoms for longer and had to take more time to get back to full training. The club has done a really good job in that regard and I think that’s why, after the first few weeks were after returning were difficult, now I think we’ll come out the other side looking really good.”

Embed from Getty Images

Oar has featured in every ALM game for the Bulls this season, one of just four players at the club to do so.

A statistic that demonstrates fitness and reliability as well as consistent quality made all the more admirable in a season of such chaos.

“Yeah, now that you mention it, it has been pleasing,” he said of his time in Macarthur’s midfield.

“In the last couple of years, even though I haven’t missed heaps of games, i’ve had interrupted seasons with injuries. It kind of takes its toll and makes it hard to build any kind of momentum or rhythm. I think the medical team have done a really fantastic job of managing me through training and through the games, making sure that I don’t do too much too soon.”

Embed from Getty Images

So, what does ‘the other side’ look like for Macarthur?

Suffering one of the lengthiest breaks in the competition leaves a handful of games in hand when you eventually do return. The Bulls find themselves in third after their quick collection of points in the last eight days.

They have two games in hand over second-placed Melbourne City and one over leaders Western United. If their winning ways continue, Macarthur will slide into second and look to topple United from top spot.

“I think we’ve laid the foundation to put us in a really good position to finish the season and challenge for some silverware. But at the same time, it is only a foundation,” Oar said.

“If you look too much at the big picture, you can kind of forget the process and actually forget how to win game. So for us our focus is purely on the Jets.”

Oar and his side will face the Newcastle Jets on Saturday night at McDonald Jones Stadium, as they look to make it three wins in just over a week.

Feature Image Credit: Macarthur FC

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

Tom Macrae
Tom Macraehttp://medium.com/@macraetomr23
Communications undergrad at Western Sydney University covering Macarthur FC in the 2021/22 season. Newcastle United. Jack Grealish fangirl.

Latest Articles

Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required