A-League: Sydneycentric?

by Stephen George

I have never been sure that what I am about to declare was in fact happening before my eyes (and ears) but after sitting through almost another year of A-League, I am almost convinced there is not just jealousy but rather a conspiracy bubbling away up north towards our poor old Melbourne Victory.

A pleasant Sunday afternoon/evening was again made (partially) less enjoyable by the fact that our household had to endure the commentary coming out of Sydney for the Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory clash.

The first question that came to mind was “Where is Paul ‘Trimmers’ Trimboli?” to give the commentary some balance. Unfortunately for us ‘Victoryans’ we couldn’t even turn the volume down and put SEN 1116 on the radio as they weren’t broadcasting the game live.

Oh how I miss the dulcet tones of Trimmers, Zappers and Francis!

Outside of the Grand Final, this was arguably the biggest match of the A-League season.

The lead up to the second leg of the major semi final on 7 March 2010 started three weeks earlier on Valentine’s Day: a match that decided the minor premiers and automatic qualification for next year’s Asian Champions League.

Unfortunately for Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC won.

Despite the significance of the day in the world of romance, there was no love lost between the two teams.

In what was considered by some to be a spiteful game, one player was lucky not to be given his marching orders via a red card whilst another was left with an injury that, at the time, looked season ending.

The following week’s game, funnily enough between the same combatants had us supporters on the edge of our seats as the finals had now arrived and renowned hard man and captain of Melbourne Victory, Kevin Muscat would be returning to the fold after a two week suspension.

As Fox Sports did their pre-match preview on the pitch, the Victory supporters close by chanted not so complimentary words in the direction of Sydney based ex-Socceroo and commentator, Robbie Slater. The complete opposite was aimed at none other than Paul Trimboli, a Melbourne born and bred ex-Socceroo who gratefully acknowledged the chants with a smile and a wave.

The result that evening pleased the Melbourne Victory supporters as they took a slight advantage to Sydney for the second leg.

Move forward 17 days to the second leg of the major semi final and I parked myself in front of the television for one of the most anticipated clashes in the A-League’s short history.

What followed had my mind wandering.

Had Trimmers been injured in the warm up? Had he been dropped following the first leg of the major semi final for a performance that wasn’t up to scratch? Was he being rested for the Asian Champions League tie in 48 hours time? Was the fact that he smiled and waved two weeks earlier in front of his Sydney colleagues considered ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’ or not teamwork?

Or, and I sincerely hope not, was he just not part of their plans as he was from Melbourne?

The answers did not become clear during almost three hours of edge of the seat viewing: all I know is I was subjected to four Sydney based commentators.

If Trimmers was unavailable, what about Ross Aloisi from Adelaide for a bit of impartial commentary? Actually, come to think of it, he probably dislikes Victory as well following the 6-0 mauling of his Adelaide side in the 2006/2007 Grand Final.

Thank goodness Melbourne won as I swear the gloating and wallowing in self pride would have been unbearable. Rather than the 20 minutes of post match review, it could have extended well into the night!

Where do I get some impartiality? The search is on far and wide.

If the Grand Final on March 20 is another ‘grudge match’ between Melbourne and Sydney, perhaps Bruce McAvaney or Dennis Cometti will be available given it is a non AFL week.

Please Bruce and Dennis: HELP!

About Stephen George

I am an avid sports fan who admires anyone who can play or participate in sport at pretty much any level. My favourite sports are AFL, soccer, Major League Baseball, Rugby League and NFL. I have recently finished my Diploma in Sports Journalism and I am interested in improving my skills by contributing to the Footy Almanac


  1. Tony Roberts says

    Mike Cockerell (also the SMH’s soccer writer) and Andy Harper are the worst Blingers on Foxtel – Harper is bright, but compromised by his past involvement with Sydney’s board. Robbie Slater would also probably like to express bias for Sydney, but coherent expression escapes Robbie. Despite growing up in Sydney, Bozza is by far the fairest and most perceptive Foxtel specialist commentator, not to mention the most entertaining and witty. Simon Hill is always impeccably competent and impartial re Victory, which is more than can be said for his ex-mates like Les and Foz at SBS.

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