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Why Marko Rudan's outburst is inexcusable amid A-League referee furore

The Wanderers coach's explosive outburst was not a good look for the game.

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Marko Rudan is in hot water for his outburst after a 4-3 loss to Macarthur in the A-League. Pic: Getty
Western Sydney Wanderers coach Marko Rudan is in hot water for his outburst after a 4-3 loss to Macarthur in the A-League. Pic: Getty

OPINION

Marko Rudan is fortunate he’s a coach in the near invisible A-League rather than at the helm of a club in a high-profile competition. Can you imagine the outcry if Ricky Stuart or Ross Lyon had carried on like Rudan did after his Western Sydney Wanderers were beaten 4-3 by Macarthur on Sunday night?

A wide-eyed Rudan angrily approached referee Adam Kersey at fulltime, spraying him as the match officials were walking off Campbelltown Stadium. Rudan was frustrated and upset over a number of decisions and non-decisions and some of his post-match complaints - made in a heated press conference - had merit.

But it doesn’t excuse such a petulant on-field outburst. Take a close look at the photo accompanying this article. Confronting a match official in such an aggressive fashion was ugly and should not be tolerated under any circumstances.

Marko Rudan's actions a bad look for football

What message does that send to the thousands of kids about to pull on the boots for the start of the 2024 season? That if you don’t like a decision it’s ok to scream at the man with the whistle? Good luck to the those in charge of referee recruitment and retention.

If Stuart, Lyon or anyone involved in the NRL or AFL carried on like that, they’d be heavily fined and suspended. It would be on the front and back pages and leading nightly news bulletins.

Rudan's outburst has garnered limited coverage and there's been little or no condemnation. Football Australia has issued Rudan a "show cause" notice under its code of conduct and ethics, but seem more concerned with his comments in the presser rather than the scenes at full-time.

Coaches blowing up at referees is as old as sport itself. And football is arguably the biggest culprit. It's not helped by the fact coaches sit on the bench and not high up in the stands, like they do in rival codes.

Rugby league, Union and Australian rules coaches can smash headsets, throw water bottles or storm out of the box (hello Craig Bellamy) when decisions don’t go their way. They’re rarely close enough to spray the man in the middle and have usually calmed down a degree or two when they front the media.

Seen here, Western Sydney Wanderers A-League Men's coach Marko Rudan.
Wanderers coach Marko Rudan looks on during an A-League Men's game. Pic: Getty

Those who can’t keep their clams shut are fined if they over-step the mark. Rudan not only confronted Kersey on the pitch, he doubled down by going all-out nuclear in the press conference. The Wanderers coach unloaded on the ref and the state of the A-League, while declaring there was a "stigma" attached to his club.

The Wanderers coach said in an interview last year: "Do I have an anger issue, so to speak? Maybe so. I'm not going to deny that. I'm a very passionate person." Passion doesn’t excuse what we saw on Sunday night.

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