The eyebrow-raising abundance of players to have turned out for both Melbourne Heart/City and Adelaide United really just typifies the A-League in all of its recycling glory.
Amidst the hype of an impending FFA Cup Final against the Reds on Wednesday night, we’ve taken a deep dive into this trend and come up with a best XI of players to have made at least one appearance for either club.
The main emphasis (where there was competition for a spot) was placed on how well the player performed in their time at the clubs, as opposed to becoming a much better player at an entirely different A-League club (i.e. Michael Zullo at Sydney).
Statistics as per Transfermarkt, accurate as of October 20, 2019.
Goalkeeper: Eugene Galekovic – City: 38 apps. 13 clean sheets | Adelaide: 243 apps. 72 clean sheets
Galekovic comfortably has the most combined appearances in his time at the two clubs, and is pretty much an A-League legend at this point. He made the return back to Adelaide this year to take up a coaching position following his two-season stint at Melbourne City which he capped off by winning our 2018/19 Player of the Year. Says a lot about last season really.
Right-Back: Michael Marrone – Heart: 70 apps. 0 goals | Adelaide: 158 apps. 3 goals
Just one of three players from the Heart-era in this XI, Marrone made 70 appearances for us back in the day, which in combination with his 140 for Adelaide puts him second for combined appearances behind Galekovic. The dependable fullback has become an A-League stalwart, winning a championship and two FFA Cups along the way. No need to ask who with.
Centre-Back: Michael Jakobsen – City: 43 apps. 1 goal | Adelaide: 33 apps. 0 goals
Speaking of FFA Cups, Jakobsen was there when we won our first and only trophy to date back in 2016, when Timmy Cahill used that big, golden forehead of his to nod the ball in the back of the net and make Fornaroli’s iconic post-win captain’s speech possible.
Having skippered City through the first year of Joyce’s tenure back in 2017/18, the Danish defender is set to contest for his third FFA Cup, having also won it with Adelaide last year. The irony.
Centre-Back: Iacopo La Rocca – City: 20 apps. 0 goals | Adelaide: 30 apps. 0 goals
Having seemingly disappeared last season with injury keeping him on the sidelines, it’d be fair to say that his time at Adelaide was his more memorable. That being said, if you were to look up ‘serviceable defender’ in the dictionary, you’d find a neat little portrait of La Rocca.
We’ll keep it at that.
Left-Back: Scott Jamieson – City: 57 apps. 0 goals | Adelaide: 46 apps. 0 goals
Adelaide welcomed a fresh-faced Jamo to their club back in the 2008/09 season – his first A-League side. He’s been around a fair bit since then, having also turned out for Sydney, Perth and Western Sydney before arriving at City in 2017/18.
Fortunately for us, he got to Bundoora as a gun fullback already, and has only grown both as a player and as a leader since then. Banterous, charismatic and always engaging with the fans. Legend.
Defensive Midfield: Osama Malik – City: 60 apps. 0 goals | Adelaide: 104 apps. 2 goals
From being the scapegoat of every misfortune that befell City early on in his stint, to establishing one of the league’s best central midfield pairings with Luke Brattan, to eventually achieving cult figure status later on, Osama Malik had quite the journey during his time in Melbourne. Too often underrated.
Centre Midfield: Marcelo Carrusca – City: 3 apps. 0 goals | Adelaide: 115 apps. 25 goals
Forget he ever signed for City? Yeah, we did too.
A genuinely disappointing signing given his lack of minutes, and especially when you consider the champion player that he was before joining us. The Argentinian midifield maestro accumulated 25 goals and 13 assists from his 115 appearances for Adelaide, winning the A-League Championship in 2015/16 along the way.
Centre Midfield: Riley McGree – City: 30 apps. 8 goals | Adelaide: 26 apps. 4 goals
This was one of the tougher calls when selecting this XI. Mate Dugandzic has the runs on the board when it comes to having more appearances and goals, but Riley McGree consistently demonstrates the potential to become one of the league’s best, whilst also boasting a decent return of goals in his young A-League career.
Right Wing: Craig Goodwin – Heart: 4 apps. 0 goals | Adelaide: 88 apps. 25 goals
Another from the Heart era, and a familiar case of a player whose best form came at a different club.
Probably one of the best players talent-wise amongst this lineup; it’s actually a bit of a shame that Goodwin left Adelaide for the money bags offered by Saudi club Al-Wehda (who, by the way, have a sick club crest; go look it up).
Striker: Dario Vidošić – City: 34 apps. 8 goals | Adelaide: 60 apps. 15 goals
He’s not exactly an out-and-out striker per se, but he certainly proved himself to be capable of leading the line when he was required to do so when we were without Fornaroli.
A characteristically strong header of the ball, Vidošić made up for his lack of significant pace with great skill on the ball and in his passing. Scored some bangers along the way too.
Left Wing: Iain Ramsay – Heart/City: 46 apps. 3 goals | Adelaide: 93 apps. 13 goals
This position was BY FAR the most difficult to select.
Bruce Kamau could just as easily be named here (he is, after all, a more natural winger as opposed to a wide midfielder, i.e. Ramsay) but we’ve gone with the Filipino mostly to spite the recency bias which would support Kamau’s selection.
The only player in this XI to have played for both Heart AND City, as well as Adelaide, Ramsay was hardly a standout in his time at the club. That being said, neither was Kamau. In fact, the two are almost inseparable stats-wise.
Kamau played 42 games and scored 4 goals whilst in Melbourne. Ramsay played 46 and scored 3.
Combining their statistics from Adelaide and Melbourne, the two both recorded 0.17 goal contributions (goals or assists) per match… which is less than once every six games...
In short, they’re both pretty crap. It’s just that Ramsay also happens to have 93 appearances for Adelaide which we’ll use as an excuse to edge out Kamau.
Mark Birrighitti – Mate, you’re only here because we needed another goalkeeper.
Ben Garuccio – City: 44 apps. 1 goal | Adelaide: 56 apps. 1 goal
Mate Dugandzic – Heart: 75 apps. 13 goals | Adelaide: 19 apps. 1 goal
Bruce Kamau – City: 42 apps. 4 goals | Adelaide: 30 apps. 2 goals
Ali Babalj – Heart: 44 apps. 12 goals | Adelaide: 13 apps. 1 goal