In A League Of Its Own – Issue 9

Tom’s weekly outlook on the A-League

Last season, we saw the first of mid-week games having a bad effect on the teams who play in them. Melbourne Victory faced Asian Champions League and Hyundai A-League committments towards the end of last season, creating the “Continental Hangover Effect” often seen in Europe. The Victory felt that they were so hard done by, and because the FFA were so stubborn, that they would boycott either the A-League finals series, or the ACL. They attempted both compeitions, playing two high pressure games per week, and ended up failing both. They made the A-league Grand Final, sadly losing to Sydney FC on penalties, and then had to fly out to Japan early the next morning. Playing their reserve team just about, the Victory gallantly lost 2-0, and soon crashed out of the competition. This year, for ACL competitors Sydney and Melbourne, they will not only be faced with ACL & weekend A-League games, but seemingly random mid-week A-League games as well. The situation is crying out for authority, and the FFA need to take control, so that no other teams get the unfair treatment that the Victory got early this year.

Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory would have been glad to see that they got one of their mid-week games out of the way relatively early on in the season, as they faced each other on Wednesday night at AAMI Park. The Phoenix got a point from this match; a very ordinary 0-0 draw with few chances and excitement for the 8,000 strong crowd. They played Melbourne Heart at the same venue on Sunday, where John Aloisi made his first start for the red and white count, scoring one and missing a sitter. Pacy winger Alex Terra made a dashing run with the ball, before he converted handsomely from 18 yards to put the game to bed 20 minutes from time. Tim Brown stole a consolation goal soon after; a tap-in from a pinpoint cross by Paul Ifill to make the full-time score 2-1. The Victory travelled up to Townsville to take on the in form North Queensland Fury. They met in round three; a thrilling 2-2 draw that was arguably the best ever A-League match. The result this time around was the same, but the scoreline different; a 0-0 stalemate the final score.

On Friday night, Perth made the trip to Newcastle to take on the out of favour Jets. Newcastle, as i’ve mentioned in previous articles, are financially gone, and will be lucky to see out the season. The Jets put on a show for the 6,000 fans who turned up, winning 2-0 against top-4 side Perth Glory. Michael Bridges put away a volley from 8 yards early on when the ball was spat out of a scramble in the 6-yard box. Perth had their chances, but Newcastle improved the margin in the 89th minute, when young gun Labinot Haliti put home a goal to finish a comfortable victory for the home team.

Adelaide met Brisbane for what shaped up as an interesting clash. For one, Adelaide United striker Sergio van Dijk returned to play his former club Brisbane Roar for the first time, after a controversial transfer at the end of last season which saw van Dijk leave the club on his own terms, without even seeming to consult management at Brisbane. He contributed nicely this match, but did miss an absolute sitter early in the second half to put the Roar up 2-1. The game ended 1-1 the two 1st half goalscorers Thomas Broich and future Socceroo Matthew Leckie, who scored a scorcher in front of Socceroo coach Holger Osieck.

Gold Coast met Central Coast to conclude the round on Sunday, and to be honest, not a lot happened. An unbelievably low crowd of 3,000 turned up to watch, well, not much. 0-0 the final score, no real controversy or anything to speak of. The only highlight was Robson’s miss from a yard out with an open goal. He somehow managed to nod it wide when it would have been easier to score the goal. I can’t think of many worse misses ever. Perhaps Aloisi’s was worse, or Yakubu’s for Nigeria at the World Cup this year?

So, the FFA and Newcastle are the big two stories coming out of the week. FFA need to take control of numerous situations, including the mid-week games and the Newcastle Jets, who have been guaranteed to survive at least the next two scheduled A-League games against Gold Coast tonight, and Melbourne Victory on the weekend. Beyond that, it looks grim for the club who are forecasted to fold by season’s end.

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. Martin Reeves says

    Tom – as of yesterday the Jets have a new owner – a local mining magnate from reports, so their immediate future is secure.

    If he sticks around, he’ll need to operate differently from Constantine, by engaging with the supporters and local community, and treating the players with a bit more respect.

    Not a great week for Melbourne to play them. I think they’ll come out re-energised and will be particularly keen to win. We’ve got a few ‘out’s which will make things difficult.

  2. Martin, new owner is big Nathan Tinkler, a young zillionaire who has made enormous waves in the racing industry over the last couple of years. The only worrying thing has been an instability in his organisation, with multiple changes of trainers and plenty of controversy – not what the Jets want, but the coin will save them.

  3. Martin, one of our outs is Grant Brebner, who will miss at least one week with TWO broken toes! Not sure when Robbie Kruse is returning, as he has been out for a few weeks nursing some sort of an injury. We should beat the Jets, but they might just pull out something extra for their home fans and new owner.

  4. Martin Reeves says

    Crio – Tinkler should try to revitalise his team the way fellow mining magnate Tony Sage has done in Perth. Big signings to keep the fans happy, and a decent squad for the manager to work with. Sage also mixes well with the fans and uses his profile to sell the club.

    Tom – Kruse was named this week according to the Fox website. I’ll be happy with a point from the weekend.

  5. Tinkler likes to be a normal bloke, but the thoroughbred breeding game spits out nivices and “new” money. soccer should be a doddle after Patinack Farm.
    Are you going to the lunch? I might try to get Tom down for a squash post-cricket nets and prior to the race meeting at MV!

  6. Martin Reeves says

    Would love to but I’m living in Perth these days. Will try to get over for a lunch and a Tigers game in ’11. Good luck at the Valley.

  7. The Reds are top.

  8. Interesting that a side without AFL or NRL focus can get “up” early in the season. A strong adelaide is a good thing for the comp.

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