In A-League of its Own 1 (11/12)


Tom’s weekly outlook on the A-League

After the longest and most dramatic off-season the A-League has ever seen, the AFL and NRL have made way for what should be the most competitive season yet. It’s hard to avoid the proverbial elephant in the room, and the signing of Harry Kewell to Melbourne Victory was so big, that the FFA and Bernie Mandic made it last most of the AFL and NRL seasons, which, if nothing else, kept the A-League in the news for the 5 or so months when it would usually be obscured. If you look back on all of the reports that occurred during the saga, he probably “reportedly” signed for the Victory 5 times, but the official signing was the biggest that the A-League has seen in its short history. Kewell is sure to make a big impression on the A-League, and hopefully it encourages many from the Socceroos’ golden era to come back for the last 3 or so years of their career. The Victory also gained Jean Carlos Solórzano from Brisbane and young gun Marco Rojas from Wellington to make for a good looking line-up.


The Victory’s main two rivals Heart and Sydney also managed to make 2 monstrous signings over the off-season. Heart somehow tied up the services of former Victory star Fred on a transfer, making many Victory supporters (including this one) somewhat envious, especially as the Heart cleverly announced it right in the midst of the Kewell saga, snaring some of the attention away from their cross-town rivals. The Heart also signed former Fury star David Williams and Victory poacher Mate Duganzic, making for a lightning fast forward line when they join Alex Terra. The Brett Emerton transfer to Sydney was arguably a better one than Kewell’s, as Emerton at that point was a key in form player at Blackburn in the English Premier Division. As it stands though, Sydney may have lost that “Bling” tag that they earned in the early days of the A-League, following Emerton’s arrival to a club with players like Terry McFlynn, Bruno Cazarine and new signing Michael Beauchamp.


The Newcastle Jets seemed to be getting back on track when they announced earlier in the year that billionaire Nathan Tinkler was buying the club and taking it into a “new and prosperous chapter” in the club’s history. Then, he managed to persuade Socceroos midfielder Jason Culina to play for the club under his father Branko and they strengthened an already sturdy defence by bringing in 2 experienced defenders from overseas. At that point, some people were talking finals. But then it all began to unravel. Some 2 weeks after it was announced that Jason was arriving at the club, it was then announced that he had sustained a serious leg injury that could keep him out until around finals time. And just late last week, the club confirmed spectacularly that Branko was no longer required because he allegedly signed Jason already knowing about his son’s injury troubles. Despite having a more than capable defence, the Jets don’t have anybody up forward. Culina would have been providing the assists to somebody, but now that he’s out the Jets could well end up with less goals than the mere 29 they scored last year. So now, Newcastle could turn into the new North Queensland of the competition, although thankfully because of Tinkler, they might have some money to keep them around.


Perth Glory looks as though they might make their way into the top 4 this season after signing A-League golden oldies Shane Smeltz and Travis Dodd. They have also snared former Celtic player Liam Miller, who the Australian media seem to have big wraps on, and the Glory can look forward to their most successful A-League season ever. The Central Coast Mariners were 3 minutes away from the title last year, and this year I think they will go all the way. Their squad has remarkable depth, and whilst they lost Pat Perez and Dylan Macallister, they gained Adriano Pellegrino, Troy Hearfield and Stuart Musialik from other A-League clubs. Adelaide managed to recruit brilliantly this season, by bringing former Bruce Djite back to the club and securing Jon McKain and Zenon Caravella’s services for the upcoming season, making for a very tidy and deep defence. They also quietly managed to sign Socceroo Dario Vidosic, who is probably the new Jason Culina, only better. Finally, the reigning champs have lost stars Matt McKay and Carlos Solórzano, but have gained defenders Matt Jurman and Jack Hingert, as well as young striker Kofi Danning from Sydney. I doubt that Brisbane can go back-to-back, as they lost too much quality to contend again, but with the way they play, the sky and Asia could well be the limit.


Finally my predictions:

Grand Final – Central Coast vs. Melbourne Victory

Champions – Central Coast Mariners

Wooden Spooners – Newcastle Jets

Top goal scorer – Sergio van Dijk (Adelaide)

Johnny Warren Medal – Travis Dodd (Perth)

Rising Star – Dimi Petratos (Sydney)

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.


  1. It is still a tough local sporting market, despite Aussie Rules and NRL finishing. The races crank up, the NBL is making a new push – sell out for the Tiges this week – and the ra ra Ruggers are in the news. A cracking Victory and Sydney match on Saturday is imperative. Victory look vulnerable at the back from what i read… a”flapper” for a new goalkeeper for starters! and they’ll miss Robbie Keane.2-2?
    Heart play away at 4ish. Fox have fantastic coverage.

  2. John Butler says

    Welcome back Tom

    Much would seem to have been staked on Kewell staying fit and being fair dinkum.

    Brilliant if it works.

  3. Kewell will tear up the a-league

    Grand Final- Victory (premiers) v Adelaide

  4. Tom reporting on the A-league for another season… now that’s exciting…. And with Harry K in the mix… BRING IT ON!!! (as they say) ;)

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