War and Peace (and A-League)-The Grand….checking VAR….Final

 

 

 

NEWCASTLE JETS 0 MELBOURNE VICTORY 1 (Barbarouses 9)

The Melbourne Victory have their fourth A-League title after a somewhat professional and undoubtedly controversial 1-0 win in the Hunter against the Newcastle Jets.

 

While Victory were very much the better team over the 90 or so minutes the manner in which the decisive goal came about was, of course, the talking point ahead of the celebration of the occasion and symbolic of that inept way the FFA has handled the league this season.

 

The Steel City was abuzz in the week leading up to the event with the big clash imminent. Blue and Red paraphernalia normally reserved for the Knights of the NRL adorning the streets in support of the Jets. Thousands of Victory fans hurriedly booked their flights to Sydney and then on to Newcastle post haste following their massive upset over Sydney FC. While that train journey from Sydney up to Newcastle is a long and laborious one but one that can be unmatched for scenery in Australia at times.

 

With the Victory fans crammed in to one end of the ground, the rest packed to the rafters and some stickman pre-game entertainment done, the game kicked off with an electric atmosphere and the Jets fans seemingly vocally chasing down every loose ball, every small sniff at getting on the attack. With the atmosphere giving the home side a bit of a sugar rush lashing out and giving away fouls. From one of the resulting free kicks Victory struck.

 

On nine minutes Leroy George set in one of his trademark free kicks found the bleached head of James Donachie who headed down to Kosta Barbarouses to lash home albeit through a slight deflection. Replays showed both Donachie and another player were offside for the free kick but the goal for the pacy Kiwi international stood. Plain as day as it was the home fans, the commentators, those at home and anyone else watching it was lost on the VAR referee who didn’t chalk the goal off.

 

This didn’t seem to deter the Jets. With the vocal home support they had been down 1-0 to the other team from the state that sun forgot in Melbourne City and could come back in this. Victory’s defence held but when breached by a rampaging and sublime Jets attack, Lawrence Thomas stood in the way of an equaliser. One particularly brilliant piece of goalkeeping was his fingertip save to deny Irish striker Roy O’Donovan who had flicked on a cross.

 

Riley McGree, the hero of last week and possibly the first ever youtube star to hail from Gawler had his chance to get the Jets back in to it again, but Thomas saved and then saved again a nanosecond later to deny veteran Jason Hoffman. The Victory were holding and barely but thanks to Thomas they took a 1-0 lead in to the sheds at half time.

 

In the second half the exuberance and tenacity worn on the sleeve by the Jets began to dissipate as the Victory turned in a boa constrictor squeezing the life out of the game much like they had done last season. Before the game there were concerns about the Jets inexperience in such a big occasion and it was beginning to show. Star man Dimi Petratos went MIA leaving O’Donovan stranded while McGree and Ronny Vargas had little influence.

 

O’Donovan and the other firebrand striker Besart Berisha clashed at a corner with O’Donovan copping a stray arm to the face giving him a black eye. Former Victory toe cutter Daniel Georgevski lost his cool lashing out and being lucky to stay on the pitch before being subbed. The fire of the season was going out, the Jets were going to fall just short.

 

Free kicks and corners were rocketed in to the Jets goal but Thomas stood firm copping a stray hit to the head that required his first lot of bandages. Then in to injury time when the only sounds were coming from the Victory fans O’Donovan lashed out with extreme prejudice. From a free kick his high boot copped Thomas right in the side of the head and a red card and possible jail sentence in any league in the world. The red mist was always lurking there with the former Mariners man and it came to the fore right when the Jets didn’t need it. Thomas was taped up again to keep his head from falling apart like a sandcastle in the surf.

 

The Victory held out easily in the end to take title number four instantly running over to the throng of blue and white in the corner, some fans lifting dunny seats stolen from somewhere as is the tradition. Someone would be taking an uncomfortable poo somewhere in Australia around A-League Grand Final time. Thomas rightfully got the Joe Marsden Medal for best on ground and also received an apology on pitch from O’Donovan which was good to see. Jets players and fans alike were gutted and unquestionably upset at the loss after coming so far this season.

 

For the Victory though this was a ‘Bradbury’ of a title. All season long they had failed to really get going, two wins followed by losses and always in the shadow of Sydney FC. Just at the right time they clicked though where experience came through and almost nabbed them a title the season before. Muscat had out coached his old master and shown his nous when some impatient Victory fans had unfathomably called for his head halfway through the season. Victory had once again shown that being the most professional club with the best culture in the lands reaps benefits when it matters. It also shows that they always expect.

 

Of course the VAR (non) decision would overshadow the event. The FFA, realising they hadn’t erred for almost a week, sent out a statement admitting the equipment wasn’t working and they had dropped a bollock. More about that below but the season was done. This was the toughest season the A-League and its fans have had to endure but Victory fans wouldn’t be too disheartened with the way it all turned out.

 

Image result for Jets Victory Grand Final

 

 

SACRED COW OF THE ROUND – Lawrence Thomas

Lawrence Thomas proved why he may have been the keeper of the season with his heroics in this Grand Final. He’s always been a strange looking fellow. A cross between Gareth from the Office and Sideshow Bob with a hint of Max Headroom chucked in to the mix. When the Jets swarmed around a besieged Victory back four Lawrence persevered with one fine save followed up with a quite unbelievable double save with reflexes only seen in places like the Marvel Universe. 

 

The physical punishment copped by the heroic keeper were also something to behold. After copping one knock that required bandages the boot to the face from O’Donovan didn’t really help him either resulting in more bandaging making him look like a casualty from the war in Crimea by nights end. You just needed Nurse Nightingale coming out with the magic sponge.

 

Image result for A-League offside

 

CLOWN OF THE ROUND –  VAR and the FFA. 

The week had been too good to be true for some major cock up not to occur. Of course it had to be the VAR. Somehow the vision didn’t get to the ones checking. Why not go next door? Why not delay the decision? It was passive and weak just to allow a goal that never should have stood and a reason why the system is a farce.

 

Last week the league made headlines around the world for the amazing scorpion kick from Riley McGree. This week normal service resumed and the reason why the league made headlines was because of a massive cock up using a system that’ll feature in Russia next month.

 

Fitting it ended this way really.

 

WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT WEEK 

Nothing really which may come as a relief for some. Next month though the Socceroos head to Russia with the shadow of Ange still looming large. The A-League goes in to hiatus with more questions than answers from the FFA board down. Hopefully this season is rock bottom…right?

 

About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Glory Guerrillas Producer and Co-Host. Contributer to Football Nation Radio and Football West. Worships at the feet of the mighty Cats, Socceroos, Matildas, West Perth, Glory and Glasgow's Green and White most of the time.

Comments

  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Geez, what a long season. Thanks for providing this wrap every week DG. It’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it.

    Anything planned for next month?

  2. Especially long when you watch Glory most weeks. I think my mate went and got a third kid on the way just so he would have less time to get to games next summer.

    Definitely got things happening in the lead up and during the big dance in Russia.

  3. Peter_B says:

    Endorse Swish’s thanks. Not a big A League follower but have become a big Champions/Europa league watcher. The Liverpool/Real Madrid final between the young attacking challenger and the cunning old dog should be a ripper.
    Can we get Daylight Savings change date in Europe (WA does not believe in this heresy) altered for a 0330 rather than 0230 kick off? I found getting up at 5am in Perth to watch the second half of games easy. 4am is a stretch.
    World Cup times should see me living permanently in the spare room with Shandy the Wonder Dog and watching on the IPad.
    Can you ask Putin to shift time zones to accommodate us DG?

  4. Dennis Gedling says:

    Whilst my dad was a member of the Communist Party at one stage and used to preach his gospel in ‘Red Corner’ at the Midland Workshops I think he doesn’t hold much sway in the Kremlin these days.

    The good thing is the one 6pm game this time around is when Australia play France in their first game and on a Saturday no less. The other two games are at respectable hours like 9pm too.

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