Ranking Melbourne City's 8 competitive Men's hat-tricks
When Richard van der Venne netted his stunning volleyed goal against Macarthur FC last weekend, he joined an exclusive club as one of just six scorers of Melbourne City's eight hat-tricks in competitive fixtures since the club's inception in 2010.
These feats of goalscoring magic have spanned nine years (the first wasn't achieved until 2014) and, surprisingly, have arrived against eight different opposition teams across two competitions.
In the most recent contribution to this particular page of the City record books, van der Venne netted three uniquely impressive goals that made for one of the more remarkable hat-tricks that we've seen - though still far from the most. The Dutchman's trio of goals prompted a journey deep into City history to recollect and rank each of the eight hat-tricks scored in club colours, using quality of goals scored, value of the goals to the contest, and a more subjective metric of the overall impressiveness of the achievement as the criteria.
From a Heart hero's rampage on foreign soil to the Greatest of All Time's Greatest (night) of All Time, here's every Melbourne City hat-trick ranked:
8. Jamie Maclaren (Central Coast 2-4 Melbourne City, 2019/20)
Obviously there's no such thing as a bad hat-trick, but this was comfortably the one that makes you feel the least upon rewatching.
Maclaren's trio of goals is in large part unmemorable because of the depressingly silent atmosphere of an empty Central Coast Stadium, but let's be honest, the latter two goals aren't the prettiest either. Though you could take away his contribution to the game and argue that City may have struggled for the three points without its mercurial #9, that fact feels secondary to the absence of many of the other qualities that would usually make a hat-trick impressive.
Ultimately, this was Jamie Maclaren being Jamie Maclaren, and you already know he doesn't care what you might think of his goals that day.
7. Aaron Mooy (Heidelberg United 0-5 Melbourne City, 2015 FFA Cup)
A brilliant hat-trick from a brilliant player, but one that pales once inspected under the light of context.
Mooy's long-range strikes are clearly high-quality goals that rank amongst the best you'll find in this article, but they've ultimately formed part of a five-goal demolition of an NPL side in the FFA Cup. How impressive is it really to witness the superstar that Mooy grows into (in that very season, too) tear apart a team of semi-professionals?
What can be attributed to this performance is that it showed a side of Mooy that we haven't seen since 2015/16: a truly destructive attacking midfielder who could win games on his own.
6. Robi Koren (Newcastle Jets 2-5 Melbourne City, 2014/15)
The crowning performance of one of City's most infamous marquee signings.
The man who scored a hat-trick on his starting debut and proceeded to do very little thereafter, Koren is the type of player who is either remembered for all the wrong reasons or not at all. For one balmy afternoon in the Hunter, however, he had us all fooled.
Koren's hat-trick is about as run-of-the-mill as Maclaren's first up - it even holds a similar value within the context of the game - it's just that the Slovenian's is that little bit nicer, that little bit more polished, honestly.
5. Richard van der Venne (Melbourne City 6-1 Macarthur FC, 2022/23)
The most recent hat-trick on this list, and probably one of its most aesthetic.
The Dutchman's strikes last weekend rated very highly on the sex-appeal factor, for sure, and van der Venne's feat was made all the more impressive by his central midfield position. However, where his hat-trick (along with Mooy and Koren) falls short from the top four is that it is depreciated by the sheer lopsidedness of the contest. The three aforementioned players felt like they were the beneficiaries of a high-scoring team performance rather than putting in a wrecking-ball, team-on-their-back display themselves.
So let's move on to a player who did absolutely that.
4. Jamie Maclaren (Brisbane Roar 4-3 Melbourne City, 2019/20)
In so many ways, I wanted to argue, this deserved to be number one.
Against the highest-ranking opposition by season's end (4th) of any entry on this list, Maclaren put in one of the best goalscoring performances of his career. The goals (one well-controlled touch and finish 1v1, and two challenging headers) are among the more impressive and complex that our renowned "tap-in merchant" has scored in his City career. Additionally, this particular hat-trick ranks highly in the 'team-on-the-back' factor, with the City #9 scoring all three of the team's goals in an inspiring individual display that deserved more than it received.
On that note, Maclaren's hat-trick could be considered totally futile or extremely valuable; he is the only player on this list to have scored three times in a losing fixture, but without his goals, City would have been absolutely humiliated.
I thought long and hard about making it #1, honestly.
It will probably go down as one of the most underrated or forgotten performances in club history. It has all the factors that comprise an iconic hat-trick: brilliant goals, a significant bearing on the contest, and the sense that this was one man who refused to be stopped. Maclaren is perhaps two disallowed Brisbane Roar goals away from topping this list, or at least coming close. Ultimately, however, there would be something so deeply, deeply wrong about naming a hat-trick in a losing performance as our greatest ever.
This, then, paves the way for a standout, but almost entirely inseparable, top three.
3. Jamie Maclaren (Melbourne City 7-0 Melbourne Victory, 2020/21)
Maclaren's record-equalling five-goal haul in the second Demolition Derby of 2020/21 will deservedly go down as one of the defining moments in Melbourne City history. The performance, both from the team and our striker individually, was legendary.
Where it falls short, aside from the obscene number of goals scored by an individual against his team's biggest rival, is almost everywhere else.
Compared to the hat-tricks that I've ranked higher, Maclaren's quintuple of goals is far from the most attractive: two penalties, one decent header, one simple close-range finish and one admittedly sweet mid-range strike to cap it all off. There's also the matter of how many goals the team scored overall, with Maclaren benefitting from a heavily one-sided scoreline.
Most of all, however, there's the context.
Maclaren's five goals all arrived when City were already 1-0 up and playing against 10 men following the sending-off of Adama Traore. Not only that, but his side were also toying with the worst Melbourne Victory side of all time. His dominance can be attributed less to an explosive individual performance and more to, as Mark Bosnich describes, the ripping apart of "the wet paper bag parading itself as the Melbourne Victory defence."
Five goals in a single game is a legendary achievement, but Maclaren's against a floored Victory and Archie Thompson's in a Grand Final against Adelaide United are worlds apart.
2. David Williams (Wellington Phoenix 0-5 Melbourne City, 2013/14)
The original and the (second) best; I present to you, the sexiest hat-trick in City history.
Recorded against the backdrop of one of the most rewatchable games we've ever seen, Williams' hat-trick on foreign soil was the crown jewel in the most memorable of Melbourne Heart's remarkable run of wins in an otherwise dour 2013/14 season. Though his three goals formed just a part and not the whole of the five scored that day, it truly felt like Williams was single-handedly destroying the Phoenix defence, and that Orlando Engelaar and Mate Dugandzic were just fortunate to join in on the act.
Williams' polish was no better exemplified than by his long-range chip to open his account, his ability to unsettle Wellington's backline was demonstrated in his mazy run and interplay for the second, and, with two goals already to his name, his unbridled confidence was evident in the way he backed himself to take on the keeper from long range for his third, final, and best of the day.
The fact that this goalscoring feat occurred amidst such a dark period for the club by an otherwise unprolific player only adds to the overall impressiveness of the hat-trick, and sees it into second place on this list.
1. Bruno Fornaroli (Melbourne City 3-0 Sydney FC, 2015/16)
Hate him all you like, there has been no greater entertainer in the history of our club than Bruno Fornaroli, and this was the night that cemented that fact.
On the 5th of March, 2016, Fornaroli pulled out three of his finest to totally dismantle a Sydney side and its finals aspirations (finishing 7th, they were this list's second-highest ranked opposition). The goals are beautiful, fun, and a testament to his determination to pursue an attacking move to its very end - his first of the night left me wondering how we hadn't considered it as a Goal of the Decade contender when we made a video back in 2020.)
This performance embodied the 'team on his back' element of hat-tricks that can make the best ones so memorable, and so tops this list as our greatest ever.
Ultimately, and I say this without exaggeration, the top three were inseparable, and it took some real persistence not to give up and award Maclaren's quintuple top spot just by default. Saying that, I recognise that there will be different criteria every City fan uses and values differently to individually rank these hat-tricks, and I feel that any of the top three are worthy of the title—reply to this article directly in the comments or on social media with your own top three hat-tricks in Melbourne City history.