A-League 1,000: The Beath Edition


1,000 words, thoughts and musings on round nine of the A-League which goes from Gosford to Auckland and finishes in Adelaide.


Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Sheep Cow Whale Ships, Thursday – Central Coast Stadium

This game could signal the start of a poor weekend of fan attendance if the planned boycotts from major active fan basses occur but Melbourne’s Aaron Mooy is used to playing well in front of a small crowd so it shouldn’t affect him. Still missing Fabio Ferreira the Mariners should get back Mitch Austin here but a quick back-up makes it tough for them even though they are at home. After they copped a battering in the first half the Mariners conceded twice against the Wanderers when exposed through the middle quickly in transition and then late in the game after nearly equalising. Melbourne’s light blues will come to attack and that could mean an entertaining affair, especially if Austin comes back for the home side and Josh Rose fires on the flank as well.


Big game for: Veteran midfielder Nick Montgomery will be missing on account of having accumulated five yellow cards to date this season so whoever replaces him will have the primary role here of making sure Mooy is facing away from goal most of the time. On the odd occasion the Mariners midfield wins the ball in these contests the locals will need to zip wide quickly and try to get in behind the visitors if they push up too much.


The ‘I’m really looking forward to’ bit: After projecting Daniel Heffernan might get a run off the bench the striker was largely ineffectual against the Wanderers however John van’t Schip’s team have shipped 15 goals this season so Tony Walmsley should give him another chance.



Sydney FC v Newcastle Jets, Friday – Allianz Stadium

Newcastle’s now almost standard reshuffle in the days before a game didn’t seem to hinder their ability to fight back at home but it’s a different prospect facing a Sydney FC outfit which are probably mad as heck after recent poor finishing has seen them squander winnable games. Leonardo’s inclusion helped the Jets last weekend and his battle with Sydney’s imports in midfield and defence should be a highlight here. However the absence of skipper Nigel Boogaard from Scott Miller’s side certainly swings things in the host’s favour.


Big game for: Only Perth and Adelaide have scored fewer goals than Sydney this season and after 15 attempts on Thursday, and several going close, it actually wouldn’t be surprising to see Sydney score two or three goals in a coming game but will it be at home where they have struggled recently?


The ‘I’m really looking forward to’ bit: No more whining about poor refereeing. Officials are human and have bad games but 66 fouls in their last three matches at home tells us the problem might be Sydney. Asking Chris Beath to be excused from their games is a nonsense. Beath is one of only three full-time A-League officials so would the next excuse in January be ‘Sydney aren’t playing well because we get the inexperienced referees?’ Do you need us to call the Wahmbulance Sydney FC?


Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Victory, Saturday – QBE Stadium 

The brotherhood of the travelling footballers head to Auckland’s glorious north shore and will try to right the wrongs when they faced the Victory in Melbourne on Cup Eve. After getting kicked off the park in Sydney Wellington will be hoping their playmakers can stay upright and if they do it promises to be a very good contest. Wellington will have learnt a lot from the defeat to Melbourne last month but in the interim Melbourne has had the chance to rest key players and give fringe players like Rashid Mahazi more of a run than Kevin Muscat may have planned at the start of the season. With Vince Lia playing back into fitness last weekend off the bench Wellington are close to having their best eleven available so that is useful for Ernie Merrick.


Big game for: Besart Berisha. Sure he got a penalty last weekend but he has never scored in Albany so really how good is he? Yeah sure Melbourne has never ventured over the Auckland Harbour Bridge but that’s not the point. Shape up Besart!


The ‘I’m really looking forward to’ bit: With dual threats at free kicks there might be ‘scissors-paper-rock’ between Gui Finkler and Oliver Bozanic to see who takes the first dead ball situation.



Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar, Saturday – Pirtek Stadium

The late scratching of Mark Bridge and Federico Piovaccari doing an ADP and not fancying the trip to the Central Coast meant little as the Wanderers continued to roll which gives them a good shot for six on the spin here. Brisbane’s lack of recent goals will have John Aloisi worried. Not since round four when they beat the hapless Adelaide 3-0 have they scored more than two goals in a single game but perhaps that hasn’t been helped with the impact of national team duty on players like Matt McKay and Olyroo Jamie Maclaren. Tony Popovic’s side seem far more settled and perhaps seeing themselves officially lose the title of Asia’s top club side in recent weeks has spurred them on.


Big game for: Thomas Broich. After Brisbane got the lead in Newcastle Broich continued to ping around the park chasing back a lot however he needed to be saved to set up the second goal which would have got them a cushion. Those around him need to help out in that regard.


The ‘I’m really looking forward to’ bit: Depending on the extent of Bridge’s injury and whether Piovaccari can last 90 minutes this weekend will mean Socceroos Dario Vidosic will likely play a key role here.



Adelaide United v Perth Glory, Sunday – Beer Sauce Burger Stadium

What do we say about Adelaide? Like Sydney they look to have goals in them but like Sydney they disappoint in the final third. At the other end of the pitch Eugene Galekovic’s return has helped immensely and this should translate to a more confident defensive unit in the coming weeks. If the Reds don’t win here it’s hard to see Guillermo Amor seeing out the year. But we have said that before. Perth continue to miss Hungarian Gyorgy Sandor, who has been out for a month, amongst their quartet of absentees and losing young back Aryn Williams to a red card late just compounded a bad night in Melbourne.


Big game for: Last week we spoke about Perth’s key defenders but both Dino Djulbic and Josh Risdon missed out due to injury with Djulbic, 32, expected to be out for a few more weeks. In their defeat last week Glory might be able to use the spark they got in the final half hour from striker Joe Knowles last week in their forward line here at the Holden Street complex.


The ‘I’m really looking forward to’ bit: Craig Goodwin seems to be Adelaide’s best attacking threat with the ball on the run. More of his teammates need to step up, the Reds need to look for overlaps and short passes to break things up as teams are wise to Goodwin now and it doesn’t leave Adelaide much else it attack at times.


The betting bit – One serious one not:

Western Sydney saluted for us last weekend and on the strength of Brisbane’s lack of scoring in recent weeks we will follow-up with the Wanderers again $2.15 to see off Brisbane but gosh Perth was tempting at $4.25 into an early yellow card for something silly like a player kicking the ball away in whatever game Chris Beath is officiating in. Just to annoy Sydney FC.


Profit: 35.95 units (ten units per investment)


Record: 5/8  

This preview first appeared here: https://hamishneal.wordpress.com/2015/12/02/a-league-1000-the-beath-edition/

About Hamish Neal

Born in Lower Hutt New Zealand Hamish is forever wedded to all things All Black, All Whites, Tall Blacks and more. Writing more nowadays in his 'spare time' (what is that anyway?) but still with a passion for broadcasting. Has worked in various sports development roles in England, Northern Ireland and Australia.

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