ROAR defender Matt Jurman was a man possessed during some brutal pre-season training sessions, not missing one of them.
That was because the 22-year-old's pride suffered during his up-and-down 2011/12 campaign.
He was reduced to a bit-part player in the second half of that season due to a combination of a dip in form, as well as his time away playing with the Australian under-23 team.
But Jurman won't be burdened by extra Australian under-23 commitments this season - he has been given first crack at a starting centre-back position.
New Roar coach Rado Vidosic has given Jurman the spot vacated by Mohamed Adnan, who returned to the Middle East for family reasons.
Interestingly, Jurman will line up against Ange Postecoglou's Melbourne Victory outfit this Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium.
Postecoglou was the man who favoured Adnan over Jurman, denying the Wollongong junior a chance to play in the Roar's grand final triumph over Perth in April.
But Jurman said he didn't have a point to prove against his former mentor's new team.
"Ange is the one that brought me up here. Obviously he rated me enough to bring me here," Jurman said.
"There's not really a point to prove - I just want to play well; it's just another game and I want to be as consistent as I can."
Jurman used his axing in 2011/12 as a positive moving into this season.
"Last year started off well for me. Going away didn't help me as well, but I think it always makes you stronger when stuff like that happens," he said.
"I didn't miss one session the whole pre-season - I worked pretty hard and I thought I played pretty well in the games as well."
Jurman comes off contract at the end of this season, only adding to his desperation to impress Vidosic.
He did that against Glory in last Sunday's 1-0 loss, at one stage saving a near-certain goal when Perth striker Shane Smeltz found himself in the clear in the 14th minute.
"I love it at the Roar. I've been here for two years now. I enjoy the company of the boys and the coaching staff are great. I'd love to stay," Jurman said.
Jurman is expecting the Victory to show some improvement on Saturday night after losing its first-round fixture 2-1 to cross-town rivals Melbourne Heart.
"I watched the games last week and everyone was saying the Victory didn't look as good as they were supposed to be. But I think there were some good players that they brought in," he said.
"There's (Marcos) Flores and (Guilherme) Finkler and (Marco) Rojas. But there's no one we've got to pinpoint in particular, they're a good team all-round."
Nestled in an east facing valley of the lush Byron Bay hinterland, only 20 minutes to the coast this spectacular natural haven awaits. On 44 hectares, this...
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