Traditionally Derby week is a week like few others during the season, even if players and coaches tell the media that it’s ‘business as usual’ or ‘just another game’.
There’s typically a bit of extra buzz in the air in Melbourne, and one thing that is guaranteed when Victory and City prepare for one of the three Derby encounters throughout the season is that there is more media and fan interest in the fixtures. It’s an encounter that attracts interest and provokes debate – and this Friday’s ‘Decider’ is already causing a bit of stir.
Derbies usually mean additional commitments outside of training hours for players from both teams as they fulfil a range of media commitments.
On Tuesday, a star-studded line up – featuring City’s Bruno Fornaroli, Daniel Arzani and Victory’s Rhys Williams and Kosta Barabarouses – headed into Melbourne’s CBD to meet on the Imperial Hotel Rooftop to speak to media as the rivalry started to heat up ahead of Friday’s match on an humid Melbourne afternoon.
With a strong media contingent present, the quartet of players agreed that Friday’s match would be a special match.
“These are the matches you play for,” the fit-again Uruguayan striker Fornaroli said. “I’m feeling good, I can’t wait for the Derby.”
“This is my first Derby, there’s really nothing like it I hear, I’m very excited,” Arzani said ahead of his Derby debut.
Despite the on-field rivalry between the teams, the players put aside conflicted interests for an afternoon to pose together for photos and speak to broadcast, print and radio media.
But come Friday the players promised it would be a hard-fought encounter – one that cannot be missed by fans and members of the respective clubs.
“I can’t wait to play this Friday and now is the moment to do everything to prepare for the game and go there 100 per cent, because it’s a very important game and always the Derby you have to win. So we try to do everything to win for us, for the club, for the fans.”