FourFourTwo: How does the Melbourne Derby compare to rivalries at other clubs you’ve been at?

Marco Rojas: The atmosphere in the stadium is always electric, especially when everyone packs in to AAMI Park. The intensity and passion is shown by the players too, however it’s also difficult to compare it to derbies over here (Netherlands).

For one, the clubs have longer histories. Two, in Germany and Holland, football is the biggest game. It tends to occupy the thoughts of many, if not all, in the cities here. It’s amplified when the derby comes around. 

I’ve mostly played in places where the crosstown rival is in a different tier, so I can't really comment, but I’ve spoken to players and friends who have played in some of the biggest and fiercest derbies. 

If I had to compare the ones I’ve been in, then the Melbourne Derby would definitely be right at the top. 

FFT: Worst derby memory?

MR: It would have to be the 4-1 loss in the first derby last season. We didn’t turn up and were shown up in pretty much every aspect. It left a very sour taste.

FFT: Favourite derby memory?

MR: My favourite memories would have to be the christmas derbies. The whole atmosphere surrounding these ones are just a bit different. Packed stadium at AAMI and that intensity on the pitch. 

FFT: Do you still have a photographic memory of the 2012 derby, when Archie scored the winner? You assisted it…

MR: I still remember that one pretty well. I've seen highlights of it a few times over the years, and there's still so many emotions. I definitely won’t forget watching the ball hit the crossbar, bouncing down and then chasing after Archie once it had crossed the line. 

FFT: Did the derby change much when Heart became Melbourne City while you were gone?

MR: It did change a little, City are now a different kettle of fish to what they were as the Heart. The ambitions they had before have now become expectations as the investment continues to grow.

However, everything else stays the same. The passion from the supporters, atmosphere and importance around the games. These are what makes derbies special, these things that never change.