Socceroos defender Jason Davidson and young Australian winger Ajdin Hrustic suffered a big loss on Wednesday as Groningen's Europa League hopes took a dive.
Davidson played 90 minutes and Hrustic came on in the 70th minute as Groningen were smashed 4-1 by AZ in the first leg of their Europa League qualifying play-off.
AZ took the lead in the final minute of the first half in Groningen and doubled their advantage in the 66th minute through Wout Weghorst, who ended the game with two goals.
Jesper Drost dragged Groningen back into the contest two minutes later but AZ finished stronger to claim a three-goal advantage heading into Saturday's second leg in Alkmaar.
The loss is less of a blow to Davidson, who is unlikely to extend his time at Groningen when his loan deal from Huddersfield Town comes to an end.
But Hrustic, who has made his first-team breakthrough in the past couple of months, has a contract with the Eredivisie club for 2017-18.