The initiation into Macarthur's top job for Wolves junior and former Socceroo Mile Sterjovski was as tough as they come.
Signed as coach of A-League Men's club the Bulls in mid-January following the sudden exit of the side's new coach Dwight Yorke following an alleged altercation with the Macarthur boardroom following a loss, Sterjovski was re-signed almost immediately by the club for a further two seasons.
Following their 1-0 loss to Wellington on Saturday in the final game of the season, the club was resigned to a first ever wooden spoon in their three-year existence.
It was a dramatic and fast fall from grace by a team that took out the Australia Cup on the eve of the A-League season and looked as one of the dark horses going into the domestic competition.
Since Sterjovski took over the helm in January not much went his way.
In 12 games, Sterjovksi led the side to two victories, three draws and seven losses. In that time, Macarthur scored 15 goals but conceded double that.
This is not to mention the off-field troubles affecting the club, specifically the poor crowd numbers for home games.
But the former Socceroo is not letting any of this get to him.
In a glass-half-full approach, the club have earned the right to a place in Asia (following their Cup victory late last year) and Sterjovski now has a full off-season to get the crops he needs to compete for finals in the league next season.
He has the backing of the club, as well as a detailed knowledge of proceedings inside Macarthur following his involvement as the NPL side in 2020 before being an assistant to inaugural coach Ante Milicic for two seasons.
And for the next two years, Sterjovski has a plan to turn his Bulls project around.
"We'll analyse everything in the next week or two," he said.
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We need to rejuvenate the team and bring new energy in.- Mile Sterjovski
When he was signed at the club, Sterjovski made a point of ensuring fans that he would use his experience with the NPL academy side to his advantage.
"Since day one with this club, I have worked with the NPL side to help the talented youngsters achieve their goal of becoming professional players. The players are still my top priority in this new role and I will do everything to help them reach their potential."
Playing the 'kids' is a formula that has proven to work in the competition this season with the Mariners - featuring the youngest average squad age in the league - finishing second and earning a week off in the first week of the finals.
Adelaide similarly have a team full of youthful exuberance, featuring one of the players in the league in Nestory Irankunda.
But even with the next generation, you need a couple of experienced heads around you. That is something that Sterjovski has not had in his tenure so far.
Captain Ulises Davila and Socceroo hopeful Daniel Arzani - two of the Bulls' key men for the season - were in and out of the side due to injuries.
Despite feeling the heat as coach so far, Sterjovski added that the club was headed in the right direction.
"I think we're heading in the right direction," he said.
"I think the good thing has been that we have found out about a lot of the character of the people at the club."
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