Perth Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic says he learned a painful lesson when he made contact with a referee while playing for the Mariners in 2008.

Don't touch refs, says Danny Vukovic

November 14, 2013
By Justin Chadwick

One moment of madness in 2008 cost goalkeeper Danny Vukovic nine months on the sidelines.

Now, with Sydney FC defender Tiago Calvano facing a similar fate, Vukovic is urging his fellow soccer players to refrain from ever touching a referee.

Calvano is facing a lengthy ban after grabbing the arm of referee Peter Green as he went to give a red card to Calvano's teammate Marc Warren last Saturday.

The Brazilian will front an A-League disciplinary committee hearing next week over the incident.

Vukovic's life changed forever when he forcefully slapped away the hand of referee Mark Shield while playing for Central Coast in their 2007/08 A-League grand final loss to Newcastle.

Then just 22 years old, Vukovic struggled to deal with the emotional fallout that came with his nine-month suspension.

Vukovic is now happily settled at Perth Glory, where he has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the A-League.

But he doesn't want to see other players go through what he had to deal with.

"For me it was a huge thing in my life. It cost me an Olympic Games and it cost me a lot of money," Vukovic said.

"I can relate to it and I can certainly feel for Tiago if he's out for any extended period of time.

"But in the same breath, he's done the wrong thing and will probably be punished.

"He's grabbed the ref's arm as he was going to give a card.

"He shouldn't have done it.

"Was it to hurt the referee? It certainly wasn't. But FFA are trying to protect the image of the game.

"You just need to not even go near them."

Vukovic has conceded just one goal over the past four weeks, and is aiming to keep his fourth clean sheet of the season in Saturday's clash with Adelaide in Perth.

The Glory have been buzzing all week following the arrival of former French international William Gallas, but the 36-year-old may be eased in off the bench in his first competitive match since April 4.

"I've heard some expert commentators complaining about us signing a marquee that's a defender," Vukovic said.

"But he's going to be brilliant for our team and will strengthen us.

"He moves around the ground effortlessly. He's 36 years old but he doesn't look it. He's very sharp."

Eighth-placed Adelaide haven't won a game since beating Perth 3-1 in the season-opener.

The Glory will be without star striker Shane Smeltz (international duty), while Adelaide will be missing the suspended Nigel Boogard and Michael Zullo (Socceroos),


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.