Brisbane City’s Antonio Murray got the opportunity to audition against his prospective employers last week when the former Scottish Premier League player tackled Brisbane Roar in a trial match.
Brisbane City-s Antonio Murray got the opportunity to audition against his prospective employers last week when the former Scottish Premier League player tackled Brisbane Roar in a trial match.
Murray is hoping to secure a contract with the two-time Hyundai A-League champions for the upcoming season and an eye catching performance may yet see the City striker trade his sky blue strip for orange this season.
With interest in the National Premier League (NPL) increasing exponentially, over 3500 fans turned up to City-s Spencer Park to see Roar-s 3-0 win over the home side. While Murray was not on the scoresheet on the night he welcomed the opportunity to go up against players he has been training alongside for the past six weeks.
“It was a bit surreal to be lining up against the (Roar) guys, considering I-d been training with them just the night before.
“It was great to see so many people in the community come out and support us as there are a lot of people behind the scenes who have worked really hard to get the club to where we are.
“Hopefully I can continue to score some goals and earn a contract with Roar.”
The English-born striker of mixed Scottish-Italian descent is averaging better than a goal a game with Brisbane City, having netted 23 goals from his 17 NPL appearances, to be second highest scorer in the Queensland competition.
Murray came close to bettering that tally when he unleashed a sharp left-footed volley from 25 yards out, which was just tipped over the bar by Roar goalkepper Matt Acton. He also forced Michael Theo into handling from outside the area and had a goal bound shot saved, illustrating the disparity between the NPL and A-League is not as large as some may think.
“Compared to leagues I use to play in, the NPL is a decent standard. The top four or five teams have some quality players, so it-s great for the competition,” said Murray.
According to Brisbane City-s Senior Football Operations Manager Daniel Pennisi, the transition to this year-s NPL has brought a clearer direction for players wanting to play at a higher level domestically.
“The NPL is about giving local players or players from abroad the opportunity to harness their football skills and pit them against the best players around, week in week out.
“Seeing a player like Antonio Murray playing such great football each week, not only brings fans to local games - it gives him an opportunity in football that he might not have got,” said Pennisi.
Whether or not we end up seeing Murray in the Hyundai A-League remains to be seen. He is unsure if he-ll be offered a contract and would have to negotiate the logistics of being a visa player but has enjoyed the experience of training with the Roar squad.
“I-ve had a couple of conversations with Coach Mike Mulvey so we-ll see what happens," said Murray.
“I-ve really enjoyed how hands on he is with training and they-ve been good, hard sessions."
It-s been a big week in football for Murray, after the experience of playing in front of such a large crowd for a trial match, Murray-s side came crashing back to earth with a 6-1 drubbing on the weekend, which ensured Olympic claim the Queensland NPL minor-premiership.
Tonight he will be part of the Roar-s squad to take on Brisbane Strikers and is hoping to get some minutes to again show his wares. Murray is looking forward to the inaugural NPL finals campaign and hopes at the end of it he-ll be lacing up his boots for the upcoming A-League season.