Talk From The Terrace with Luke

In the aftermath of last weekend’s derby, questions were asked about a player who is an institution in the A-League. But one thing was often conspicuously absent- the name of the man who was both fouled and injured.

In the aftermath of last weekend-s derby, questions were asked about a player who is an institution in the A-League. Accusations were leveled, criticisms were made and column inches were devoted to the Victory defender we all know, but one thing was often conspicuously absent- the name of the man who was both fouled and injured.

Adrian Zahra is Melbourne Heart-s 20 year old attacker. He was signed late last year from the renowned Melbourne Knights on a four week deal to provide cover for first-team injuries. To the delight of many, Zahra adapted to the rigours of the A-League exceptionally quickly. In fact he adapted so well that he starred in the inaugural Melbourne derby and had his contract extended to 2013.

Playing on the right, Zahra provided a pacy counterpoint to the cannon-like crosses of Rutger Worm, using his speed and agility to penetrate opposition defences. He also popped up with two goals, one of which was the winner against Sydney just before Christmas. Going into the derby Adrian Zahra was one of Heart-s most consistent performers.

And then the unthinkable happened.

A reckless challenge ended Zahra-s season, leaving him with damage to multiple ligaments and a period of rehabilitation to contend with. John van ‘t Schip called it “heartbreaking”.

As Zahra was carried off the pitch, the cheers from the Heart fans drowned out the boos and whistles ringing around Etihad Stadium. These cheers were a recognition of his standing and achievements at the club. He is young, fast, good looking and talented, but when he is back on the pitch and fully fit next season, Adrian Zahra will be something else too- a legitimate hero of the Heart faithful.