In A-League of Its Own – Issue 30

by Tom Riordan

Tom’s weekly outlook on the A-League

The first week of the finals have come and gone, with all 3 matches ending in somewhat predictable results. The first of them was on Friday night from Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, where the Reds hosted Wellington Phoenix. With Adelaide finishing 3 places higher than the New Zealanders, a Reds win was well and truly on the cards before kick-off. The Phoenix performed admirably throughout the game, but the inevitable Adelaide goal came 20 minutes from time, after Marcos Flores and Serge Van Dijk combined again to set up skipper Travis Dodd for the only goal of the game. It was a neat finish from Dodd, whose goal sends his team through to week 2 of the finals to face an in form Gold Coast.

 

Gold Coast earned the right to jump on the plane to Adelaide, following their strong performance at home against an out of sorts Melbourne Victory. On what was a hot day on the Coast, the pitch at Robina was typically awful, making for very interesting conditions for teams who are normally inclined to play a fluent game. The match was pretty much end-to-end, with neither side able to hit the back of the net in the first half, despite a couple of near misses for either side. The second half was even more open with plenty more chances, and both sides hit the woodwork before Gold Coast broke the deadlock in injury time. All season set-pieces have been the Victory’s Achilles heel, and the Gold Coast made them pay, when Dino Djulbic popped up in the penalty area and headed the ball home. Melbourne’s up and down season unfortunately came to an end, and although some are predicting wholesale changes to the setup at the club, I feel stability is the key to any club, and we’ve made 3 grand finals by doing so.

 Central Coast hosted premiers Brisbane Roar at BlueTongue Stadium on Saturday night, in the first leg of the major semi-final. I predicted a 1-0 win for Brisbane prior to the match, thinking that the class of the title favourites would be too good for Central Coast. Both teams started strongly, creating chances and getting shots away, but Central Coast managed to hit the woodwork and have a certain goal blocked before half-time. As the second half went on, Brisbane’s class shone through. Kosta Barbarouses scored the first of 2 second half goals for Brisbane, by powering a shot low and hard across his body and just past Matt Ryan, who on another day could have saved the shot. Central Coast did manage to hit the woodwork twice in quick succession soon after Brisbane’s opener, but still couldn’t find the equaliser. The second goal came when Matt McKay linked up with Barbarouses on the right, heading home nicely to seal the win and give Brisbane a big 2 away goal advantage heading to Suncorp Stadium.

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. Would love to say something constructive here, Tom, but my soccer knowledge is so limited that all I can come up with is that now that they’ve been eliminated, I’m not really surprised that “Wellington Phoenix” is an anagram of “No win. Long exit. Help!!!!”

  2. John Butler says

    Tom, how do you rate the Victory’s season? And how are they set up for the future? By advocating stability, you may still have some thoughts on necessary changes.

  3. Daniel Garb has reported that ex-Victory keeper Mitch Langerak will this week guard the Borussia Dortmund onion bag against mighty Bayern Munchen…he’s taken his chances before and looks the goods. What an opportunity!

  4. What about Jason Culina having a “presser” announcing a move to Newcastle while nominally still skipper of a team in the finals? Hmmmm!

  5. JB #2,
    With Muscat now set to take up an assistant coaching role at the Victory, it may suggest that Ernie Merrick might finally hang up the clipboard and depart the senior role at the Victory, making way for current assistant Aaron Healey, who I rate as a very good candidate for manager. As for the playing ranks, Robbie Kruse has been said to be staying at the club, despite offers from overseas. Bringing back Danny Allsopp has identified, i think, that the Victory are too scared to change the key personnel at the club. Archie Thompson, Roddy Vargas, Ernie Merrick, Muscy, Allsopp, Aaron Healey and Football Operations Manager Gary Cole have all been at the club from the word go. That’s saying something.

Leave a Comment

*