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Franjic delights in A-League derby day

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/12/2016 Ben McKay

Since moving from Brisbane to join City two seasons ago the Melbourne born-and-raised defender hasn't endured a loss when's he's played in the fixture. © Scott Barbour/Getty Images Since moving from Brisbane to join City two seasons ago the Melbourne born-and-raised defender hasn't endured a loss when's he's played in the fixture. After years of watching the Melbourne derby with itchy feet, Ivan Franjic relishes the opportunity to play in the A-League classic.

Since moving from Brisbane to join City two seasons ago the Melbourne born-and-raised defender hasn't endured a loss when's he's played in the fixture.

Franjic made his derby debut in last year's Christmas match, a 2-1 win that ended a run of three straight Victory derby wins.

The Socceroos right-back was again among the action in February's 2-2 draw before a five-minute cameo appearance in last month's 2-0 FFA Cup success.

Now that he's back in Melbourne, Franjic said the new iteration of the Melbourne derby sat at the top of the Australian footballing tree.

"It's the biggest game of the year," he said.

"I used to watch it while I was up in Brisbane and I always wanted to play in it.

"The whole of Victoria watches, if not the whole of Australia.

"There's always big crowds and sellouts. It's a game you want to play in as a footballer.

"Growing up, Melbourne Knights versus South Melbourne (in the NSL) was the big derby.

"Eleven years on, the A-League has been great and then Melbourne Heart now Melbourne City gave an extra bit of spice."

Franjic missed a pair of early derby days while at City.

A hamstring strain delayed his start to the 2015/16 season, and a nasty virus which affected his heart meant he was a spectator for this year's opening derby - won comprehensively 4-1 by City.

He doesn't want to miss another one.

"I probably get more nervous watching than I do playing," he said.

"We're City and we always want to beat Victory.

"They're sitting third, we're sitting second. I don't think it's been this close for a while ... this one is definitely big."

Franjic's setbacks have also contributed to keeping him outside national team coach Ange Postecoglou's plans but the 29-year-old is hopeful that if he continues his good form shown this campaign, he'll be rewarded by both club and country.

"Every week I feel stronger and stronger," he said.

"It'll hopefully be soon enough like the old days where I used to bomb on for fun.

"The physios and the medical staff have done a great job to get me back where I'm at.

"The main thing is playing good, week in week out, then it's up to Ange."

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