In A League of its Own – Week 23

Tom’s Weekly outlook on the A-League

With the finals series approaching, many teams are now scrambling to get points to launch themselves up a few places on the table. Teams that have their position on the table wrapped up are Brisbane to finish top and North Queensland to finish last. Every other team can either move up or slip down at least one place in these last couple of weeks.

Gold Coast hosted fellow flood ravaged Queenslanders North Queensland to kick off gameweek 23 in the A-League. With Shane Smeltz returning to the Gold Coast setup after his stint overseas, things looked rosy for the hosts even before the match began. Bruce Djite grabbed 2 first half goals, in a dominant 45 minutes for Gold Coast. The second half was much the same, with Smeltz himself getting on the scoresheet, and Chris Harold adding a fourth to the total. North Queensland will end up with the wooden spoon, and I can’t help but think that this may well be their last ever season in the A-League as that franchise.

Game two of the round came to us from Sydney, where the Sky Blues hosted the out of form Melbourne Victory. Even with Danny Allsopp returning to the club, Robbie Kruse and Archie Thompson were sorely missed. After a first half dominated by Sydney, Danny Allsopp capped a well crafted Carlos Hernandez move just after the break, but that goal was later cancelled out by new signing and substitute Juho Makela, who tapped home a Nicky Carle shot-cross in the dying moments.

Melbourne Heart salvaged a late draw away to Perth on Saturday night, after Alex Terra scored a blinding goal 20 minutes from time. Before that, Perth had put on a good display against Heart, and had scored through Todd Howarth in the first half. But, typical of the Glory this season, they conceded at the death and could only claim a point out of the clash.

Newcastle’s finals hopes are slowly slipping away from them, after a string of poor performances has left them hanging by a thread at 6th on the table. Their latest poor display, was at home to Central Coast on Sunday, where they lost 2-0. Matt Simon continued his good season, opening the games’ scoring in the 14th minute. John Hutchinson then showed why he was one of the Mariners’ best players last season, by scoring 3 minutes from time. He has been out of favour with new manager Graham Arnold, but he might have just turned the corner.

The first of two gameweek 24 Melbourne games come to us tonight, from AAMI Park, and has the Heart pitched against Gold Coast. Gold Coast will want to hang on to their top 4 place, whilst the Heart will need a win to keep their finals chances a reality. The second is arguably the biggest game of the season so far, and is the derby. It is at Etihad Stadium, and – if advertised well – will draw over 40,000 to the great stadium. The game starts at 7.00 PM, so get down there and experience the atmosphere of a proper game of football. Heart will need a win to get into the finals while Victory will not want to lose their place in the six to their cross-town rivals.

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. Martin Reeves says

    Tom – things are starting to get interesting at the business end of the year.

    I suspect Victory will miss out on the finals – our form is dire and we were lucky to get a point in Sydney.

    Without looking at the run home, I think Wellington and Newcastle will round out the top 6 with both Melbourne clubs missing out.

    Adelaide and Gold Coast are strengthening their squads in preparation for the finals, but I can’t see Central Coast winning anything this year.

    Brisbane remain favourites and I don’t think the floods will disrupt them too much.

    I’ve been watching a fair bit of the Asian Cup with the conducive WA time zone. Matt McKay did OK last night, as did Sasa Ognenovski (former Adelaide/Brisbane defender). Jason Cullina will be missed now we are out of the group stage and David Carney wasn’t too horrible before hurting his shoulder. Robbie Kruse hasn’t had much game time unfortunately, much to Ernie’s chagrin.

    Poor crowds this season aside, the quality of football in the A-League and output of A-League players at the Asian Cup bode well for the game here.

  2. Martin,
    agree with most of the points you make there. I think that the top 4 will remain the same, with room for just one of the Melbourne teams in the 6 (Hopefully the Victory!). Newcastle will be the other team in the finals i think.

  3. Nth Qld are a disgrace.

  4. Chris Weaver says

    Kevin Muscat is a disgrace.

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