Jurman stays, digs in with Sydney FC in AL
Photo Source: AAP
Matt Jurman could well have left Sydney FC during the A-League pre-season.
Furnished with overseas offers including a lucrative deal with an unnamed Eredivisie outfit, the 26-year-old defender might have decided he'd had enough after nearly a decade in Australia's top tier.
He wasn't exactly lacking honours.
Jurman has a 2009-10 premiership-championship double from his first stint with Sydney, though a footy injury prevented him playing the grand final.
Add to that last season's clean sweep of club awards, including player of the year, in recognition of his rise as one of the league's best centre-backs.
But he wanted more.
The Sky Blues' near title miss of 2014-15 had left a gaping wound that was no closer to healing after the last sluggish domestic campaign.
And Jurman had a feeling that this season, with this squad, would be different.
"There was a club in Holland that was pretty serious," he told AAP.
"But I decided to stay at Sydney and I'm happy with that move.
"I just felt like we were building something special at Sydney and I wanted to be a part of that.
"I won it in 2010 but I was injured, and it hurt in 2015 when we didn't win it.
"I want to win it with my club. This year we've got the right team to do that."
Quietly spoken off the field, Jurman is equal composure and combustible energy on it.
The Wollongong product played nearly all domestic and Asian Champions League matches last season, counting Bruno Fornaroli and even Guangzhou Evergrande's top-dollar Colombian striker Jackson Martinez among his scalps.
Competition for starting spots is now undoubtedly tough, with Socceroo Alex Wilkinson's recruitment creating a three-way tussle with Jurman and stalwart Seb Ryall, who was left to warm the bench in last weekend's 4-0 Sydney derby triumph.
But Jurman believes that will only drive his game to new heights.
Where post-surgery infection crippled Jurman in 2014, a pre-season back injury threatened to ruin this season before it even started.
An awkward landing after a header in the club's first trial game had him fearing the worst.
"I thought I'd done something really bad," Jurman said.