Rudan refuses to speculate on refs as late Marcelo strike rescues point for Wanderers in wild draw


Marko Rudan has refused to say whether his outspoken comments on A-League Men officials may have contributed to his Western Sydney Wanderers side finishing their 3-3 draw with Newcastle with nine men.

A week after slamming the competition’s referees following a last-gasp loss to Macarthur, which was followed by a strongly worded takedown of A-Leagues commissioner Nick Garcia, Rudan said he intends to fight any disciplinary moves from Football Australia (FA). 

The Wanderers boss has until Wednesday to explain to FA why he should not be fined, suspended or reprimanded for his outbursts.

Rudan may argue Sunday’s game at CommBank Stadium underlined the points he was making.

Referee Shaun Evans was booed off at fulltime and Wanderers chairman Paul Lederer was seen berating the officials as they left the field of play.

Western Sydney’s active support group, the Red and Black Bloc, unfurled a banner which read: ‘Rudan, leading by example, truth spoken’.

3-3 | The skipper gets it done! ????@wswanderersfc captain Marcelo has scored in the the 91st minute to level the scores against @NewcastleJetsFC! Do NOT leave your seats! ????#WSWvNEW is live on Paramount+ ????

— Paramount+ Australia (@ParamountPlusAU) February 11, 2024

Midfielder Jorrit Hendrix was sent off in added time for a studs-up challenge on Newcastle striker Apostolos Stamatelopoulos. 

Earlier, defender Tate Russell had been shown a second yellow card for a 50th-minute stamp on the ankles of Jets defender Daniel Wilmering.

Evans initially waved play on, but after being summoned by VAR the referee brandished a second yellow card and awarded a penalty – which Stamatelopoulos duly dispatched.

2-2 | Stamatelopoulos rises to the challenge! @NewcastleJetsFC have levelled the scores against @wswanderersfc after Tate Russell saw red ????#WSWvNEW is live on Paramount+ ????

— Paramount+ Australia (@ParamountPlusAU) February 11, 2024

Jets coach Rob Stanton described the sending off and penalty award as a “double whammy”. 

Asked if he thought the judgement had been influenced by his provocative comments, Rudan said: “I can’t comment on that, that’s for you guys (the media) to decide – it depends on how you write your articles.

“VAR will always change the angle and slow it down. The referee was right in front of it and waved play on.”

Rudan resisted the temptation to unload on the officials, but went on to indicate they should not be immune from criticism. 

“I’ve said this before – referees make a decision to become a professional referee,” Rudan said.

“It’s their choice. Like it’s my choice to sit here as a head coach, like the players.”

The Wanderers boss said he was happy with how his side rallied from Russell’s sending off, which came when his side were leading 2-1. 

(Photo by Steve Christo – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

A Lachlan Brook double had given the Wanderers the lead after Trent Buhagiar’s early opener. 

Russell’s dismissal brought all of that undone, with Stamatelopoulos slotting from the spot once the home side were down to 10 men.

The in-form striker, who has 13 goals in his 15 games this season, then headed in to help the Jets reclaim the lead with 20 minutes to go.

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Their advantage lasted until the 92nd minute, when Wanderers captain Marcelo headed in to snatch a point for the home side. 

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