Marko Rudan.
Western Sydney Wanderers have parted ways with Marko Rudan with three seasons left on his contract. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS
  • soccer

Wanderers won’t rush to replace Rudan as ALM coach

May 17, 2024

Western Sydney chairman Paul Lederer says he won’t rush to find an immediate replacement for Marko Rudan after the Wanderers coach left the club.

Rudan announced on Thursday he had opted to step away from coaching duties for personal reasons, barely four months after signing a three-year contract extension.

The former Wellington and Western United coach said in a statement the brain cancer his mother Ana has suffered with for several years had returned.

While Rudan’s exit may not be ideal for the club when it comes to assessing on-field recruitment and retention targets, the market for out-of-work A-League Men coaches has never been stronger.

Ex-Melbourne City boss Patrick Kisnorbo and former Central Coast Mariners manager Nick Montgomery are both free agents, while Melbourne Victory coach Tony Popovic, who was the Wanderers’ inaugural coach, is yet to agree to a new contract.

But Lederer insists he has yet to draw up a list of potential candidates. 

“There’s no rush and we will go through a proper process as we always do,” Lederer told AAP. 

“At this stage we don’t have one (an ideal candidate) but we are going to have a good look.

 Marko Rudan is no longer coach of Western Sydney Wanderers after a trying season. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS 

“We have a blank canvas, we’ll go through a proper process and then we’ll work out what’s going on.” 

The 48-year-old Rudan said on Thursday his priority was to be around his family following a taxing season where the Wanderers missed the top six in the final round of the season. 

“Unfortunately, due to personal circumstances, I need to end my association with the club,” Rudan said in a statement.

“The club is in a healthy position, although we fell short of playing in the finals this season, I am proud of all the hard work by the players, support staff and executive of the club. 

“I will be spending my time in the near future being close to my family as we are going through a difficult time as my mother’s brain cancer has come back.”

Rudan should take some credit for resurrecting the Wanderers in his first full season in charge of the club.

He took Western Sydney back to the finals for the first time in several years before a narrow loss to rivals Sydney FC. 

But his second campaign, which began with hopes of the club vying for the premiers’ plate, quickly unravelled. 

The Wanderers’ form nosedived in the back end of the year with Rudan failing to front his post-match press conference after suffering a 7-0 thrashing from Melbourne City at AAMI Park in March.

Lawrence Thomas’s absence due to international duty and injuries to star striker Brandon Borrello also hampered the Wanderers campaign. 

There were rumours of player unrest and last month Rudan apologised after he singled out youngster Marcus Younis for blame following the Wanderers’ derby loss to Sydney FC.

In February, Rudan was banned for two games, with another suspended, for his verbal attack on referee Adam Kersey following a narrow loss to Macarthur.

Rudan, who joined the Wanderers in January 2022, led the club in 71 ALM games (W26, D18, L27).

“Marko has demonstrated complete dedication to the role in his time here, culminating in him leading us to a finals campaign last season after many years in the wilderness,” Wanderers chief executive Scott Hudson said in a statement.

“We thank Marko for his efforts and wish him, and his family, all the best for the future.”