Brisbane Roar’s newest hat-trick hero Steven Lustica said that his three goal haul in the 6-1 win over Central Coast Mariners last night was the result of hard work and determination over the course of the Hyundai A-League season.
The 23-year-old became the fifth Roar player – and first midfielder – to score a hat-trick for the club in its 10 year history after Sergio van Dijk, Besart Berisha, Dimi Petratos and Henrique despite making just 11 starts in 23 Hyundai A-League fixtures this season.
Two stunning outside-the-box strikes before half-time and a clever finish in the 79th minute from Lustica sealed the big result against the Mariners, with Serbian striker Andrija Kaluderovic and youngsters Devante Clut and Brandon Borrello also on the scoresheet.
“I’ve been in and out this season so my chances have been a bit limited but I’m a firm believer that if you put in the hard work, it will eventually pay off,” Lustica said.
“Every training session, I’ve always turned up and been fully motivated and done the extra yards as well and yesterday, it paid off for me.
“I got the match ball after the game yesterday, which was nice. I got the boys to sign that so it’ll be something I’ll never forget."
Before last night’s memorable triple, the former Gold Coast United, Hajduk Split and Adelaide United midfielder had scored just five goals in his previous 58 Hyundai A-League appearances.
While thrilled to net his maiden Hyundai A-League hat-trick, Lustica was more pleased about the overall team performance as the club chases finals football and qualification to the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League.
“It was great to get on the scoresheet but more importantly, great to get back to winning ways,” he said.
“Yesterday, we started on the front foot straight away – pressing higher up the field – and that’s the way we like to play. I think that was one of the key aspects of the game yesterday.
“We’re coming into the end of the season and if we want to make the finals, we need to be winning our last few games.
“There are no easy games coming up but we know that if we come motivated like we did yesterday and we bring our game, we can beat anyone.”
With a gruelling away trip to Suwon Samsung FC and Adelaide United next on the agenda for the Roar squad, the Canberra-born player knew it was likely the squad would be rotated as Brisbane plays four matches in 11 days starting on Wednesday.
Club captain Matt McKay returned from international duty yesterday but was an unused substitute against Central Coast while Thomas Broich and Devante Clut both played 45 minutes last night.
“We’ve got a lot of quality midfielders in the team and it’s not up to me, it’s up to the coach to decide who plays,” Lustica said.
“I’ll always fully respect his decision. It’s just up to me to prepare myself well and if I get the chance, that I’m motivated and give 100 per cent like I always do.”
The Roar squad will train tomorrow morning before departing for South Korea on Sunday night. Following their Match Day Four match against Suwon, the squad will fly to Adelaide for their Round 25 match against Josep Gombau’s side.