Talismanic playmaker Max Burgess has played a pivotal figure in Sydney Olympic’s bright start to their 2018 NPL NSW Men’s campaign.
The former NSL giants are emerging as real contenders this year with five victories from their opening six matches, sounding an ominous warning to the rest of the competition as they now trail only APIA-Leichhardt Tigers in the standings on goal difference alone.
Burgess has been a revelation so far this season, with his skill, movement, and vision providing the creative spark within Abbas Saad’s cohesive unit which has well and truly picked up steam throughout the last month of football.
“I think we’ve got a strong and balanced squad across the field,” remarked Burgess.
“Abbas came in one week before the season started and he’s really motivated the boys and implemented a style of play that resonates with the team.
“He gives the boys a lot of confidence and we’re seeing the results with our winning mentality and confidence in each other.”
The 23-year-old has matured substantially as a footballer since he first came under the NPL spotlight at Rockdale City Suns back in 2013.
His performances within Branko Culina’s side caught the eye of Sydney FC, who wasted no time in recruiting the promising teenager into their youth setup.
The midfielder developed substantially with the A-League heavyweights and Newcastle Jets before joining Olympic in 2017.
An impressive start at Belmore Sports Ground led to a beneficial spell with Portuguese LigaPro side União da Madeira, where Burgess gained valuable international experience before returning to Olympic once more to continue his development and build upon last season’s solid foundations.
“I’m constantly trying to better myself and work on my game,” explained Burgess.
“From my recent experience over in Portugal I’ve learned how important it is to keep trying to work on things within your game, to never be satisfied, and to continually take on advice from your coach and the lessons from the players around you.
“It’s important to listen to criticisms and use them to continually improve, which is something I’m striving to do.
“I’m still at a young age, there’s so much to learn from the game, and focussing on the areas you can improve upon is the main thing for me.”
Next up Olympic will be seeking a fifth consecutive victory this Sunday afternoon as they face-off against the club where it all began for Burgess: Rockdale City Suns.
“I have fond memories from my time there at Rockdale,” reminisced Burgess.
“They gave me my first-grade debut, but it will always be a big derby game between these clubs.
“They’re a strong side, always hard to beat, but we’re determined to keep this winning form going.
“We’ve created a really strong mentality at home to make it a fortress and it’s always a big game against Rockdale, so I can speak for all the boys when I say we’re all really looking forward to it and are concentrating hard this week in preparation for the weekend.”
See if Max Burgess and co. can keep the good times rolling at Belmore Sports Ground at 3pm this Sunday against Rockdale City Suns.
– By Michael Shoolman