One opening. Regardless of how he is playing, that is all South Melbourne striker Milos Lujic needs to alter the result of a game.
“I’m a different kind of player,” Lujic tells smfc.com.au. “Whereas a winger’s game can be judged on crosses and dribbles, I get marked on my goals.”
“I’m always going to be in the box and trying to score because that’s my game. I’m the type of player where even if I don’t get a touch the whole match I can just pop up and score a goal.”
Lujic’s goal scoring nous was no more evident than in South Melbourne’s NPL Victoria round four clash against Bulleen Lions at the Veneto Club on March 14, 2016.
Two-nil down and being outplayed by the Lions, South dug its heels in and reduced the deficit through a Mathew Theodore strike in the 84th minute. South Melbourne continued to press but scoring an equaliser so late in the game looked increasingly unlikely.
Enter Milos Lujic.
Having been well held for the majority of the match, Lujic drifted into a dangerous area and was found by a sumptuous cross from the left wing by Nick Epifano. Lujic rose above both a desperate Lions’ centre-back, and goalkeeper Griffin McMaster, to nod home the equaliser and send the strong away contingent into delirium.
Self-belief is a major barometer for Lujic. It is the faith that he has in his goal scoring ability that has helped him to win the last three league golden boot awards.
“I’m confident of scoring goals in every game I go into and if I wasn’t then I wouldn’t be the striker I am today,” Lujic says.
Lujic endured an interrupted start to South Melbourne’s campaign as he missed the latter part of the preseason due to family commitments. In spite of this, his goal against Bulleen was the 26-year-old’s third in four matches.
“To be honest I had a really good preseason but then I had my wedding and the honeymoon and that set me back a little bit,” Lujic says.
“With me it’s just about getting fit. There’s no real in or out of form; if I’m fit I score goals.”
Life away from football also assists in keeping Lujic grounded. As a grade three teacher he is helping to mould the next generation of youth.
“I coached the kids first and then decided to get into teaching as well,” Lujic says.
“I love working with kids and always wanted to be a P.E. teacher and it sort of went into classroom work as well after I finished my degree.”
Lujic’s nurturing character is also evident at South Melbourne as he is prone to taking younger players under his wing.
“I started playing seniors at 16 so I try to give a bit of advice to boys in a similar situation like Andy Kecojevic,” Lujic says. “I tell them not to stress out too much and just work hard.”
“It’s important that they don’t get too down on themselves, because I remember when I was a kid and things didn’t go my way, I’d be a bit harsh on myself. Putting pressure on yourself is not the right thing to do.”
“The most important thing I’m encouraging the boys to do it just enjoy the experience. I know I’m really starting to enjoy my football especially now in the later years of my career.”