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Danny Vukovic brilliance helps Sydney FC earn draw against Brisbane Roar

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold has paid a heartfelt tribute to goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, who he said had been sleeping on the floor of hospital rooms, then starring in the A-League as he cared for sick son Harley.
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Vukovic was Sydney’s saviour in the 0-0 draw with Brisbane Roar on Friday night just weeks after Harley underwent a liver transplant to treat the life-threatening condition biliary atresia.

​He posted an update on social media the day before the match, updating Harley’s condition and saying they received the ‘ultimate gift’ from an organ donor. He thanked fans and supporters while speaking to Fox Sports after the match.

“It has saved his life. It shows the importance of organ donation. We’ve been given the ultimate gift and we’ll be forever grateful. It’s been an amazing response,” Vukovic said.

But Arnold went on to reveal the depth of commitment Vukovic has had to his family and his club over the most emotional period of his life. Arnold said for almost a month, Vukovic had been sleeping on the floor of hospital rooms and still finding a way to be the best keeper in the competition.

“It’s a wonderful story. And he had to come back to Sydney for the hospital and the doctors and wait for the liver transplant for his son. His son is doing exceptionally well,” Arnold said.

“For probably three or four weeks, he was sleeping on the floor of a hospital room and still performing the way he did. He’s got a wonderful character, he’s a fantastic goalkeeper and a fantastic guy.”

Arnold said Vukovic had travelled to games on his own, often on the day of the game, and had regularly gone above and beyond to ensure he was focused on his work as well as his pressing family matters.

“Family is very important to every player. The fact he can be so close to his parents and his wife’s parents and the help he needs… the club has been extra supportive. A couple of times he’s travelled the day of the game, not even travelled with the team. And then play as well as he does.

“That will be a huge relief for him.”   Happy to let people know my son has had his transplant. Due to privacy reasons, I will not talk about when he had the operation so please don’t ask. Our family has received the ultimate gift from an organ donor, we are eternally grateful!! Harley is doing exceptionally well. Organ donation has saved Harley’s life and saves the lives of many ns each year. I urge everyone that wants to be an organ donor to sign up at donatelife.gov.au and also speak to your family about your wishes in regards to organ donation. Cheers #donatelife #organdonation #biliaryatresia #liverdisease #myliverbabyA photo posted by Danny Vukovic (@vuka1) on Feb 1, 2017 at 1:04pm PST

There were some touching scenes before the game as a number of Roar players, including Matt McKay and Michael Theo, approached Vukovic in the tunnel and wished him well as they were about to walk out onto the field.

“That’s fantastic,” Arnold said. “Over the six, seven years I’ve been coaching the A-League, Brisbane Roar have set the way in culture and standards. They’re a wonderful club with a lot of respect for everyone.”

Arnold was happy enough with taking a point from Brisbane, with both teams having a number of quality chances in a contest that managed to prove highly entertaining despite the result and hot and humid conditions.

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