In A League Of Its Own – Issue 10

Tom’s weekly outlook on the A-League

The drawn AFL Grand Final had the potential to bring the A-League to their knees, to be a final nail in this season’s coffin. After the early season turmoil that FFA and A-League has been put through – extremely low crowds, expansion troubles and the Newcastle Jets situation – this weekend was meant to revive all of those forecasted problems. At the beginning of the season, FFA put the first ever Melbourne derby on the fixture for this weekend. Being in Melbourne, it seemed ideal to place the game the Saturday after the Grand Final, but before the Spring Carnival really kicked into gear. FFA wouldn’t have cared about the result of the AFL Grand Final, but at 5.30pm on Saturday, news of a draw and subsequent replay of the 2010 AFL Grand Final would have spilt through to the offices of FFA. What to do? Their first weekend of the season to get decent crowds and possibly a full house to the first derby in the comptition’s history, has been ruined by a sport in the same market that they are competing in. By a complete stroke of luck, Australia play a friendly against Paraguay Sunday week, which means a week off for the A-League. So, Melbourne Heart versus Melbourne Victory now have a weekend of their own, the match being played next Friday at 7.30pm at AAMI Park. FFA can count themselves lucky this time.

Last Wednesday, Gold Coast United hosted Newcastle Jets at Robina. A 0-0 draw looked on the cards before the match started, but in the 89th minute, journeyman centre-back John Curtis, who had previously scored 2 goals in 300 appearances, scored a cracking left-footer from distance, after faking on his preffered right-foot. For their weekend game, they travelled to Sydney to take on the out of form Sky Blues. Sydney wanted their first win of the season, and it looked that way, when Bruno Cazarine converted to put Sydney 1-0 up. But former Adelaide striker Bruce Djite levelled the scores, opening his account for his new club Gold Coast. That gave Gold Coast a respectable 4 points from the 2 games, and put themselves in good stead for the rest of the season.

Newcastle’s second game of the week was against Melbourne Victory at Energy Australia Stadium at Newcastle. The game ended 0-0, after a good crowd of 8,500 saw a pretty bland game. In a quite poor standard encounter, no-one managed to put the ball in the onion bag. A couple of decent chances for the two sides came to nothing, although Melbourne’s new signing Ricardinho did perform well, creating one or two opportunities in front of goal.

Wellington hosted North Queensland on Friday night, as usual the Phoenix die-hards braved the cold to cheer on their team, who were on track for a 30-0 win after Chris Greenacre found the net just 3 minutes in. Leo Bertos added another 10 minutes later, and the Phoenix were cruising all through the first half. The second half was even, a goal to North Queensland’s Mark Hughes halving the margin 23 minutes from time and bringing the final score to 2-1.

Perth Glory travelled to Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide for Friday’s second match, that shaped up to be one of the matches of the season with the two competing teams up the lofty end of the table prior to the clash. As usual, Eugene Galekovic was performing brilliantly, pulling off numerous saves in the first hour of the game. The match got turned on its head by Sergio van Dijks head, when he glanced the ball in off that shiny head of his, and into the far bottom corner. It was an A-Grade finish, and he doubled the Reds’ lead 3 minutes after, slotting a penalty following Glory keeper Tando Velaphi fouling Cassio in the 18 yard box. Adelaide now sit 5 points clear at the top of the table, and look very formidable.

Melbourne Heart took on Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, and quite frankly, Brisbane put on a show, whilst Heart were totally asleep at the back. The game ended 4-0, but it could easily have been 8 or 9 if it wasn’t for Heart shotstopper Clint Bolton. It seems stupid, but he was just about the best player on the ground. Of the 4 goals he did concede, 1 was a penalty, 2 took deflections off other players and the other one he was beaten by Erik Paartalu. He was stiff, but the rest of that team deserved to concede more.

So now, I look ahead to the first derby. Even though there is 5 games until that match, I cannot wait. Right now, Melbourne Victory should win, but as we know in derbies from all around the world, anything can happen. My biased tip at the moment is the Victory by 3 goals to Heart’s 1. No players from either side have been selected in the senior Socceroos squad, so hopefully we get a great game and Victory win.

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. Tom — the bizarre thing about this season is that on the pitch the quality has improved. Off-field it seems a shambles.

    I can’t work it out with Heart. Their 20 minutes immediately after half-time against the Phoenix was possibly some of the best domestic football I’ve ever seen in Australia. Yet they can be utter shit at the back. Colosimo and co should really be better organised than they are.

    My tip for the derby: Muscat to play in front of the defence and unsettle Sibon by generally behaving like an arsehole. He won’t be sent off because he has the referees running scared. Victory will nonetheless fail to win because the football gods know the whole stinking franchise is the epitome of bad faith.

  2. Actually, Ian, if last night’s game was between cellar dwellars, the comp is in an OK state. awful weather, two ctacking goals and a pretty good contest. Poor crowd but there were extenuating circumstances – and Wednesday 730 is a great TV slot.

    Tommy, I hope you can find a ticket for the Derby. Should be a big occasion.

  3. Still maintaining a very good standard of reporting, Thomas. Hope that you see the derby live. Come on the Reds.

  4. Ian – I understand your hatred of Muscy, at times even for me, he can be very annoying with his antics. The one thing I don’t like about him, is that he dives alot. As an Australian, he shouldn’t do that at all, because I like to think that most of our players don’t dive or cheat as much as others. As the captain of a great team in the Victory, he should be setting the example, not trying to cheat like that.

  5. Ian Syson says:

    Tom — I got five tickets for Dan and 4 of his mates. If one pulls out would you be interested? Talk to him at training. I should warn you they’re all Heart supporters.

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