It’s been another frustrating campaign for Sydney FC, but one of their most consistent performers week in, week out has been midfielder Max Burgess. Highlights of his season include scoring the match-winning goals against Scottish giants Celtic in the Sydney Super Cup, and rivals Western Sydney Wanderers at CommBank Stadium.
Born and bred in sunny Bondi, Burgess, 28, is in his third spell with the Sky Blues and recently signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him in Moore Park until the end of 2024-25.
Ahead of Sydney’s clash with Western United at Allianz Stadium on Saturday as he returns from a two-match suspension, Kick360 spoke with Burgess to discuss his individual form this season, his side’s push for a finals place and how they bounce back from that resounding defeat in the Sydney Derby last time out.
“This season I’ve tried to embrace being as adaptable as possible,” Burgess says.
“I’ve enjoyed that aspect (of playing out wide), but I prefer playing centrally in midfield. But I try to embrace any sort of position (Steve Corica) puts me in and help the team as much as possible.”
It’s a classic six-pointer this Saturday as Western United come to town. John Aloisi’s side sit in eighth place, level with Newcastle Jets on 25 competition points and just two behind Sydney, giving them the chance to overtake the Sky Blues with a win at Allianz Stadium. It will also be teammate Rhyan Grant’s 300th appearance in the sky blue jersey.
When taking on an old team, it’s usually extra motivation for a player wanting to show their former employer what they are missing out on. In this case, Burgess left the A-League’s second-newest club after a contract dispute, but he says there is no lingering ill will there.
“There’s actually no resentment there from my side,” he says.
“I’ve actually got some fantastic memories from the inaugural season there, you know, and some strong friendships I’ve formed as well. So, I think it’s a big game against Western United because it’s the next game, and because we want to respond, and because in the context of the table and where the two teams sit, this is an important game.”
Asked about the mood in the dressing room and how Sydney will look to rebound from a demoralising 4-0 derby drubbing at the hands of Western Sydney, Burgess sees the push for a top-six finish as a chance for the club to show what they’re made of.
“It’s a big game, we’ve only got five games left before the finals,” he explains.
“Good teams can respond to adversity. It’s an opportunity. We’ve got to get better every day and it’s about a response now.”