In A League Of Its Own- Edition 13

Tom’s weekly outlook on the A-League

After the break involving Australia defeating Paraguay and the inaugural Melbourne Derby, the A-League returned as the top footballing code in the nation. This is the time of the season where FFA should look to capitalize on their position in the sporting landscape. One thing that is important and they have done, is allow free entrance to under-16 kids at the gates. FFA did this in Queensland only this weekend, which was a puzzling decision to me, as I wasn’t sure why only Queensland were participating. Another thing FFA should be doing is advertising the games more. One of the reasons why Melbourne Victory only drew 17,000 to their clash against Sydney is the lack of advertising in Melbourne prior to the game. A massive rivalry like this should be drawing at least 30,000 on a Saturday night at a big stadium, but an average crowd is unacceptable, and I think FFA have to take a lot of the blame.

Round 10 of this season began on Friday night in Townsville, where former North Queensland manager Ian Ferguson took charge of Perth for the first time in front of his former fans. He didn’t get off to the best of starts, when Chris Payne took a run inside the 18 yard box, blasting one into the top corner from a narrow angle. Not long after, Michael Baird capitalized on some non-existent Fury defending, slotting home a tap-in to go in all square with North Queensland at half-time. David Williams scored what ended up as the winner for North Queensland 18 minutes from time, continuing his team’s recent good form.

Saturday night saw the winless Sydney FC travel to Etihad Stadium to face arch rivals Melbourne Victory. I went, and it was a traditionally great atmosphere provided by the loyal Victory fans. Melbourne Victory dominated the whole night, Carlos Hernandez hit a post, scored a goal and provided two assists in a game he controlled from start to finish. Rodrigo Vargas opened the scoring 20 minutes in, flicking on a perfect free-kick from Hernandez to give Victory the lead coming into the break. Melbourne all but wrapped up the 3 points 3 minutes after half-time, when Carlos Hernandez broke his drought of goals this season, when he too nodded home a perfect cross. Robbie Kruse then put home a Carlos Hernandez pass in the 88th minute to seal a memorable win for Melbourne Victory.

Saturday’s second match was contested between  Brisbane and Newcastle from Suncorp Stadium. The inconsistent Newcastle got off to a great start in a game that their opponents dominated, when Matt Smith put the ball into his own net just 18 minutes in. The Newcastle defence had to withstand 27 shots over the course of the 90 minutes, only one of them managed to reach the back of the net; a Tomas Broich corner converted by Reinaldo’s head. Jets’ young keeper put up a brave performance, making numerous saves to keep his team in the contest. The game ended 1-1, Newcastle the lucky team on the night, Brisbane left wondering how they didn’t get all three points.

Melbourne Heart made the trip across the ditch to Wellington, and by the end of the 90 minutes they went over for, Heart became a part of history as the 2-2 result allowed Wellington Phoenix to clinch the now record of 24 games unbeaten at home. Yes, 24 games in front of their home fans. Those fans couldn’t complain about the game they witnessed on Sunday afternoon either, a 2-2 draw and 3 goal first half adding to the excitement of the record being broken. Chris Greenacre and Leo Bertos opened and ended the scoring in the game, Greenacre scoring a one-on-one and Bertos a header. Unfortunately for Wellington, Heart got 2 in between, and held the lead at half-time after John Aloisi continued his goal scoring form, slotting a penalty before Matt Thompson turned 2 defenders inside the area and placed the ball into the bottom right corner of the net to give the visitors the lead. 2-2 it finished, and Wellington changed the record books in the process.

Sunday evening had Gold Coast and Adelaide pitched against each other, the Reds making the trip to Robina in what shaped up to be an interesting clash. Gold Coast in good recent form at home, whilst Adelaide were 6 points clear atop the table after their first 9 games. It was also Bruce Djite’s first game against former side Adelaide United. All that hype was well and truly forgotten about by the time the final whistle sounded; a bore draw ending 0-0 was a terrible way to end a good A-League round. The round had some exciting games (Victory’s 3-0 romp over Sydney, Heart and Phoenix sharing the points in a 2-2 draw), but some ordinary ones as well (Brisbane and Newcastle’s 1-1 draw, Gold Coast and Adelaide’s game ending 0-0). Can the A-League succeed in a seemingly uncontested market for the next couple of months, of will these 0-0 draws drive people away from the league? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

About Tom Riordan

Tom Riordan is in his second year of a Bachelor of Journalism at Swinburne University. He loves all sports, and plays for Brunswick Cricket Club. He supports the Western Bulldogs and can be found on weekends among half a dozen others in Q38 on the top level of the MCC.

Comments

  1. Where was Robbie Fowler?

  2. Martin Reeves says:

    Tom – entertaining game at Etihad on Saturday. Hopefully we don’t move too many more games away from Swan St.

    Flying back from Port Hedland in time for the Glory v SFC match this weekend. Hoping Perth can heap some more pain on Sydney.

  3. Martin – It is great to see Sydney crash & burn this season. I read in a FourFourTwo magazine earlier this year that Sydney might become like Arsenal; the coach, style, reputation, etc. but this season they are more like Liverpool or Leeds.

  4. Tom,
    The “where was Fowler?” Q has been solved…he was luring rooney to Perth. Can you believe some outlets took it seriously?

    Mind you, there seems to be some credence to the “Bozza oversees Nth Qld” idea whilst their manager is sidelined!

    As has been noted elsewhere; “Funny world”.

  5. Great article Tom !! Better than you old mans !!

Leave a Comment

*