Clean Sheet – Brisbane’s prospect between the posts

by James Clark

Acton Brisbane RoarMatthew Acton is the reserve goalkeeper with back to back A-League Grand Final victors Brisbane Roar.

Matthew always dreams big but also understands that hard work, applying your craft and a little luck on your side is what’s needed before you even get a chance to make it on the pitch.

What is your short term and ultimately your long term football aspirations?

My short-term goal is to be playing regular A-League football. Currently I’m the reserve keeper behind Michael Theo, so I will continue to train extremely hard and wait for my opportunity to perform at the highest level. I have played about four Youth League games and have enjoyed the intensity and pace of the competition.

Townsville has always been known as a wonderful Rugby League nursery so what made you chose the round ball game over the Steeden?

I grew up playing the odd game of Rugby League at primary school with my schoolmates. I really enjoyed league but when it came to playing for a club, my Mum stepped in saying it was far too rough. As a result I decided that the round ball was for me and have my Mum to thank for that….in a positive way of course.

What football team have you always followed from a young age?

Growing up in Far North Queensland you always love to follow a Qld based team so for me it was easy…the Brisbane Roar was my team. Who would have thought I would end up playing for them? Like many football fans I’ve always had a love of watching Manchester United perform in the English Premier League but I also enjoy following the fortunes of Real Madrid in the Spanish La Liga.

As you are 2IC to Michael Theo at the Brisbane Roar, have you been able to download much in the way of keeping skills and tactics from him since joining the squad?

I have been working with Michael for about two years at the Roar now and he’s probably the most successful and respected goalkeepers in the A-League. I’m extremely lucky to be learning my craft with him and he is always willing to be a sounding board for anything to do with keeping on and off the pitch. It’s important to develop your own style of keeping but applying the skills from the best certainly helps aid your development.

How do you stay relaxed and motivated away from the pitch?

I have been studying a Certificate III and IV in Fitness and is something I enjoy and am passionate about. We cover many interesting subjects such as Food Nutrition, Massage Therapy and Performance, Strength and Conditioning training. I also hope to complete my Diploma of Business I’ve been studying with Michael Theo. Outside of study I like to have a round of golf or hang out with my mates.

How have you found settling into the Brisbane way for life from growing up in Townsville?

It really wasn’t too difficult, as Brisbane has always been described more like a big country town. I was 14 when I moved so I started at a new school and had to make new friends. I was also lucky to have plenty of mates at the QAS (Queensland Academy of Sport) to spend time with. My family later settled in Brisbane so having them close by and supporting me makes life easier. I always like to get back to Townsville when I can to catch up with old school friends and family.

How do you go about preparing for match day and is it difficult to maintain your intensity on the bench knowing you just want to hit the pitch and perform?

I aim to be as relaxed as possible before games by sleeping in and having some good healthy meals. Plenty of stretching and a good walk helps the body remain fresh and ready. I never like to be too far from the house just in case, but as the game draws closer I generally put on some tunes to fire up a little and get the blood pumping before hitting the pitch.

From where you stand in the six yard box who has the most difficult shot to contain at the Brisbane Roar and who do you see as a future star player in the A-League over the coming seasons?

It might surprise many football pundits but Massimo Murdocca has one of the most powerful shots at the Roar. At training he’s constantly hitting the top corners with his bomb of a shot. I’m surprised he has only scored two A-League goals but he’s a wonderful team player providing plenty of service on the right or central mid-field.  Ben Halloran also fires in a mean shot that can take plenty of stopping.

You were been part of the Young Socceroos squad that participated in the Under 20 World Cup in Columbia in 2011. How did the experience develop you as a player?

It was a giant honor and a great experience to be part of the Young Socceroos squad. The skill level of the players I watched was a real eye opener as many were of already contracted to big European and South American clubs.  I wasn’t fortunate enough to get any game time but I was so lucky to experience the training and travelling with the coaching staff and squad around the world. It certainly has prepared me well for the rigors and challenges of playing professional football.

Do you have any strange habits that you like to do out on the pitch that keeps you focused on the match?

I don’t really have any, but for a long time now (can’t remember since when) whenever I walk onto the pitch I make sure my left foot hits the turf first. Strange superstition or habit, I’m not sure.

Do you have a favorite keeper in world football here or abroad and why?

Ever since I was a young lad watching games on TV, I always enjoyed watching Peter Schmeichel. He always seemed to play the game with such energy and passion and was so widely respected by teammates and opponents alike. I love watching Spanish and Real Madrid keeper Iker Casillas. What strikes me the most when watching him, is that he is such an attacking and aggressive keeper yet appears so calm and in control.

 
Quick five penalty shoot out questions

1. Apple or Android?              Apple

2. Chicken or Beef?                 Chicken

3. Rock or Hip Hop?                Hip Hop

4. Cats or Dogs?                      Dogs

5. Sweet or Savoury?             Savoury

Matthew Acton can be followed on Twitter.

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