Aussies Abroad: Asia special


Asian football expert @JohnnyDuerden tracks the progress of ex Hyundai A-League stars and current Socceroos across the continent’s biggest leagues.


The league has been making headlines around the world lately and there are some well-known Aussies in the Middle Kingdom. 

This season has seen playing time a little harder to come by for some as the rules were changed before the season started.

That meant that there was no longer a special ‘Asian berth’ in the matchday squad. 

Only three out of five foreigners could be named on that roster meaning that some Australians were competing with world-famous stars from Europe and South America for a starting spot.

Trent Sainsbury

Trent Sainsbury has just returned from a spell at Inter Milan. 

Now back at Jiangsu Suning, he is playing under Fabio Cappello.

Trent Sainsbury for Jiangsu Suning

Caltex Socceroo boss Ange Postecoglou will be hoping that the central defender gets some minutes under his belt before the international break but training under one of the most famous coaches in the world will be of some consolation.

Ryan McGowan

Ryan McGowan picked up an injury against Chile in the Confederations Cup in June and that interrupted an impressive season with Guizhou Zhicheng. 

A series of commanding performances have helped the unheralded westerners find mid-table safety in a sea of big-spending rivals.


Matt Jurman

In neighbouring Korea Republic, Matt Jurman could be about to achieve something spectacular.

The defender collected a league championship medal with Sydney FC after playing the first half of a successful season. He then headed north to the Korea Republic and Suwon Bluewings.

Suwon’s season started slowly but now the Gyeonggi giants are on a roll.

Six wins from the last seven games have put the four-time champion in second place behind Jeonbuk Motors.

The Aussie has become a firm favourite at the Suwon World Cup Stadium, fondly known as the ‘Big Bird’, with a series of commanding performances.

There are other defenders in the Land of the Morning Calm. 

Connor Chapman

The ex-Jet and Melbourne City man is busy trying to help Incheon United – former club of Jade North and Burns – avoid relegation.

Connor Chapman lets all his emotion out after scoring against Glory on Friday night.

Aleksandar Jovanovic

He is back at Jeju United, trying to help the islanders keep in touch at the top.


Over in Japan, there are a few players who could provide some useful tips and inside information should Australia need it ahead of August 31 in Saitama – though as well-prepared as the team is these days, that is unlikely.

Mitchell Duke

He has been almost ever-present for Shimizu S-Pulse, helping the famous old team survive back in the top flight after promotion last season.

This is the third year for the former Central Coast Mariners man in Shizuoka.

Ex-Mariner Mitchell Duke

Nathan Burns

“Burnsy” recently left FC Tokyo for struggling Sanfrecce Hiroshima but has yet to appear for the team that look set to dominate Japanese football at the start of the decade before falling on tougher times.