RILEY McGree’s stupendous scorpion kick goal in the Newcastle Jets’ 2-1 triumph over Melbourne City has been touted as one of the best in the world and been watched by more than 1.3 million people.
With the Jets trailing 1-0 and in need of some magic, McGree produced a show-stopper.
The teenager, on loan from Club Brugge, played a neat one-two with Ronny Vargas. The delivery was slightly behind McGree and, incredibly, he produced a sublime scorpion kick, hooking the ball over his head and into the top-right corner to send the crowd into meltdown.
Video of the outrageous finish was uploaded to Twitter by FIFA.com - who boast 12 million followers - and has since been viewed 1.3 million times.
Indeed, the strike was reported all over the world, with the BBC, ESPN, The Daily Mail, The Sun, L’Equipe and Eurosport amongst the organisation to feature it.
Olivier Giroud’s scorpion kick for Arsenal against Crystal Palace won the FIFA Puskas Award for Goal of the Year in 2017.
The 19-year-old admitted the goal was part improvisation part luck.
“It’s hard to describe,” he said. “I was full of momentum, and just tried to get the ball over myself. I can’t claim it was 100 per cent meant, but I’m going to claim it every day of the week. In that situation, any player would swing their foot at it and get the forward momentum - but the ball’s never popped up for me that well. ”
It wasn’t just the skill that the strike required that made McGree’s effort so special.
“What was so good about it was the sheer rarity of such a goal at any level of the game,” Fox Sports commentator and former national league striker Andy Harper said. “Also the occasion and the timing. The Jets were going all right at the time but they needed another spark. That was it.”
Former Socceroos striker and Newcastle Herald columnist David Lowe agreed.
“It is something you might never see again, especially at that level,” he said. “The Jets hadn’t qualified for a grand final in 10 years. You are down 1-0 and the season on the line. The lift it gave everyone.”
McGree’s goal was the latest in a number of memorable strikes by Jets players.
Andrew Nabout’s wonder goal against Western Sydney in February, running at full pace and using the outside of his right foot to curl a shot into the top-left corner, earned world-wide acclaim.
There have been others.
Nicky Carle’s mind-blowing length of the field effort against Adelaide in season two took out of goal of the year.
Jobe Wheelhouse produced a spectacular side volley from 30 metres against Gold Coast United that was a contender for the same award in 2009-10.
For the theatre of it, Mark Bridge’s match-winner in the 2008 grand final.
Michael Bridges signed off his career with a stunning volley, Emile Heskey dropped jaws with a bicycle kick, Joel Griffiths and Dimi Petratos have bent freekicks like Beckham and Craig Goodwin and Jeremy Brockie also delivered memorable moments.
“Riley’s is number one,” Harper said. Just for the freakish nature of it.”