Roar goalie deflects Tiatto swipe

If Griffin McMaster wasn’t a professional footballer, he would make a fair peacekeeper with the United Nations.
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As Queensland Roar’s cold war of goalkeepers gained fresh impetus with Danny Tiatto’s call for regular first-choice Liam Reddy to be recalled for the A-League semi-finals, McMaster refused to return fire with a missile, instead playing the diplomat in a fashion that would make Henry Kissinger proud.

"Everyone’s got an opinion, that’s the way it goes," the 25-year-old said when asked what he thought of Tiatto’s publicly-aired view that he’d rather be in the trenches with Reddy behind him.

The veteran midfielder declared Reddy the top goalkeeper – "I’d rather have behind me – anytime" – but McMaster, the up-until-three-weeks-ago-reserve-keeper, put the "civil" into civil war following a training session at Ballymore.

"I’m only really worried about my input in training … so I’ll just keep working hard," said McMaster, who is vying for his fifth consecutive start in the Roar’s semi-final first leg against Central Coast on Friday week.

McMaster had appeared in an all-together less tolerant mood on the training pitch earlier, appearing to spray a few choice words in Tiatto’s direction as Frank Farina’s squad cheered his comfortable save from the midfielder’s driven shot.

He said the pair had shaken hands – "it’s nothing to be worried about" – before the training session and insisted he was unfazed to have Tiatto in Reddy’s corner.

"I just want to give 110% for the team – again I’m not really phased one way or the other," McMaster said, the Kofi Annan in him shining through.

"I just want to put in the hard yards. It’s just an opinion isn’t it at the end of the day? Again, I’m only worried about my efforts in training."

Worry he needn’t because Farina, the Roar coach, has made it clear he intends to stick by his ‘if it’s not broken don’t fix it’ policy and retain McMaster for the visit to Gosford in eight days.

"He’s backing me yeah, that’s right," McMaster said .

"There’s another eight days or so until the semi-final so you’ve still got to put the hard yards in at training and get better and better."

Despite appearing to hold the ascendancy on the brink of the semi-finals, McMaster said his tussle with Reddy – who he displaced after the previously first-choice custodian suffered a hamstring injury earlier in the month – was one waged "day by day" at training.

Reddy was shuffled off quickly to a post-training massage at Newmarket. And while the pair are hardly spending their spare time playing Wii together, McMaster was adamant the goalkeeping arm-wrestle had not become personal.

"There’s a lot of competitiveness which I reckon is what it’s all about," he said.

"There’s 23 players that can all make the 11 and you’ve just got to put in at training and always put your hat in the ring and see where it takes you.

"The best preparation I can do is work hard at training. That’s all I can really worry about. The gaffer [Farina] makes the selection at the end of the day and you’ve got to live with his selections."

As is customary Farina is likely to wait until the day before the match against the Mariners before taking both candidates aside to inform them of his decision.

"[Farina] looks at your performances throughout the week and he’ll make a decision based on that," McMaster said.

"Next time, if given the opportunity, I want to capitalise on it more, and I’m sure whoever gets the nod is going to have a very good performance."

If it’s safety that the coach wants, both between the posts and at the centre of a potential internal club storm, he can hardly go past McMaster.