Back in his hometown with the Socceroos for the first time since he left Adelaide as a 16-year-old, defender Ryan McGowan said he had a few nerves before the match, but was pleased he could get on the pitch from the start.
“Yeah it was huge,” he said.
“I’ve said before I left here when I was 16 chasing the dream to become a professional and not really knowing what to expect and it’s been a long road.
“I was delighted all my friends and family and people that have helped me throughout my whole career were able to watch me for the Socceroos in my home town so it was a very proud moment.”
McGowan was only told by Ange Postecoglou of his starting berth that afternoon, which he said led to a few nerves and worries, but not for the reasons you might think.
“I only found out in the afternoon, so I was a little bit nervous from there to the game,” he said.
“But we’re well prepared, everything is set up so I knew I was ready for the game, (I was) more worried that everyone was getting tickets and eventually making the game.”
McGowan said he secured close to 80 tickets for family and friends, admitting he now owes a few favours to teammates who provided him with the extras he needed.
On the pitch the Henan Jianye defender produced one of his best performances in the green and gold, bursting forward at every opportunity and providing the assist for Nathan Burns’ second goal of the evening.
“Yeah it’s definitely (the plan) for the full backs to push on and be the creators or decoy runners for the guys like Mooy or Massimo to get on the ball and get in those pockets,” he said.
“(I was) delighted to get an assist but importantly play well for the team.”
With Australia needing only a point against Jordan to guarantee progress to the next round of qualifying, McGowan said there would be no easing up against Jordan.
“I’d like you to ask the boss that,” he joked after being asked if they’d go into the match looking for the draw.
“There’s definitely no chance of us approaching that game for a draw. I think he (Postecoglou) said it numerous times we don’t worry about who we’re playing, it’s more about what we do.
“We have a much bigger vision than just Tajikistan and Jordan, so we need to make sure every game as a team and as a unit we’re performing well and taking that on in two or three years time that we want to be looking back on these games as not who we played against but the style that we played.”