Kosta Barbarouses’ record-tying twelfth goal of the campaign opened the scoring on Saturday evening, before his record-breaking thirteenth proved decisive as Melbourne Victory returned to the winners’ list on an emotional night for the New Zealand international.
Barbarouses paid tribute to the people of his homeland following his first goal of the night, acknowledging the the events in Christchurch.
“[It was a] really devastating day for everyone in the country, probably one of [our] darkest days.
“I was pretty emotional when I heard the news and just wanted to put some awareness to the people who have lost loved ones.”
Whilst pleased to have eclipsed his best return in a Hyundai A-League season, the Kiwi striker won’t be out to trade team success for personal accolades.
“It’s not something I targeted at the beginning of the year,” Barbarouses said post-match, talking about the Golden Boot.
“I originally set a target to get into double digits and now I’m working my way from that. I’m a pretty unselfish guy and want the team to do well.
“It’s a bit of a cliche, but I’d rather get to the Grand Final and win [it] than win the Golden Boot.”
The Victory number nine has found a groove in matches against the Roar this season, scoring seven of his 13 goals against his former side, but that number might have been even higher on a night multiple chances came his way.
“Probably one or two in the second half,” he said speaking of opportunities to claim a second hat-trick of the season.
“The one in the first half I tried to cut it back for one of the other boys… [I] might’ve had a couple more on another day, but it was enough to get the job done.
“We needed to win, so at least it was enough to get the win.”
The win draws Barbarouses and his teammates to within a point of the top two with matches against Sydney FC and Perth Glory to come in the near future, and Barbarouses hopes for some continuity of selection as the season reaches its climax.
“[It’s] massive. Leading into finals we need to first of all chase down Sydney, because we’re behind them.
“[We] don’t really like chasing the pack in front of us, but that’s the situation now and [we] took a big step towards them tonight.
“We’ve still got a couple [of boys] who aren’t 100%, but it’s been a pretty ridiculous year in terms of injuries.
“I haven’t had the same strike partner for longer than three or four weeks at a time. The people behind me are chopping and changing [as well].
“If we can get the same eleven out there, give or take, in the run in that would be good.”
Barbarouses and his teammates will enjoy a week off next weekend, before travelling to Perth to face the ladder-leading Glory on Saturday 30th March.