Van Marwijk returns for A-League decider

Ben McKay
Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk will be in the stands for the A-League grand final

Socceroos in Saturday's A-League grand final will have even more motivation to perform, with national team coach Bert van Marwijk making a surprise return to Australia ahead of the World Cup for the occasion.

The Dutchman is making a three-day trip to Newcastle and Sydney, taking in the grand final before announcing an extended World Cup squad in Sydney on Monday.

Attackers James Troisi and Dimitri Petratos, who will square off in the A-League decider, were involved in Australia's first friendlies under van Marwijk and are likely to feature in the Russia long-list.

Van Marwijk is yet to confirm the wider group, which will eventually be whittled down to a 23-man squad for the World Cup.

A pre-tournament camp will take place in Turkey from May 19, with friendlies against Czech Republic in Vienna on June 1 and Hungary in Budapest on June 9 before the Socceroos land in Russia for the World Cup.

Australia face France on June 16 in their group stage opener, with matches against Denmark and Peru to follow.

In Newcastle, Troisi and Petratos will be his main players of interest.

Only two other A-League based players - Sydney FC's Josh Brillante and Josh Risdon of Western Sydney - were selected for matches against Norway and Colombia.

That's not to say others couldn't bolt into contention.

Stunning late-season form of Jets youngster Riley McGree could yet have the 19-year-old in the frame.

McGree, who scored a stunning scorpion kick goal to help Newcastle into Saturday's decider, was selected by previous coach Ange Postecoglou for a Socceroos squad last year, though the then-Adelaide United youngster didn't get game time for the national team.

The weekend's other goalscoring hero, Terry Antonis, was in Australia's Asian Cup-winning squad but has barely been sighted in a Socceroos squad shirt since and would be a left-field choice.

Lawrence Thomas, Victory's goalkeeper, is another whose form could merit a call-up, but will find too many senior glovemen in his way.

There's also a neat symmetry between van Marwijk's first visit to Australia and this trip.

In February, one of the four matches the Dutchman took in was Melbourne Victory's 2-0 loss to Newcastle at the same stadium.