The Bulls first steps into Asia will be set on Thursday afternoon when Macarthur FC is drawn in the group stage of the 2023/24 AFC Cup, becoming one of the first two Australian teams to play in the tournament.
The South West Sydney club secured passage into the continental competition after winning the 2022 Australia Cup and is will be drawn against teams from either; Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Singapore or Cambodia in Thursday’s draw.
After beating Central Coast Mariners 4-1 in a friendly in the Hunter Valley a fortnight ago, the Bulls continued their preparations for the AFC Cup with another trial against an A-League opponent on Wednesday afternoon. A largely experimental squad was defeated 3-1 by Sydney FC in a trial match that Bulls coach Mile Sterjovski used to get sufficient match minutes into the squad, with 21 Macarthur players featuring in a heavily rotated side .
“It was a good hit out against a good opposition. It was a great opportunity to test our entire squad that was available and try a few things that we normally wouldn’t be able to try,” Sterjovski said.
“It was a different approach to our match against the Mariners and we wanted to make sure we got minutes into the legs of each player as we prepare for Asia and the A-League.”
Bulls midfielder Jake Hollman scored a composed one-on-one in the match behind closed doors while Sydney FC struck on the counter for Joe Lolley and Robert Mak, and with a late header from substitute Mitch Glasson.
The Bulls are in Pot 2 for the draw for the 2023/24 AFC Cup, alongside Bali United and Hougang United of Singapore, both of whom can not face Macarthur FC in the group stage. The draw will be made live at 4pm AEST and can be viewed here.