The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Round 11 of the A-League

THE GOOD

-Well it’s taken until December but finally there are no more undefeated teams in the league. Second placed Victory was the last one to fall this season after late drama in the derby against a resurgent and physical Melbourne City. While there were some questionable decisions (see Bad this week) City were the better side and deserved to win.

One star on the day was the much maligned Tando Velpahi. A former Glory and Victory keeper; the 27 year-old has pretty much stagnated since moving to Melbourne in 2011 due to injury and the fact his abilities apart from shot stopping are very limited at best. Still, he made some fantastic saves and commanded his area against the most potent strike force in the league to keep a clean sheet and hand City their second win in a row. Tando also strung together some semi decent performances in his time at Glory too, before normal service resumed so he’s not the cure to all of City’s ills just yet.

Finally City have some momentum but it will be a true test of faith on Boxing Day when they host the runaway league leaders Perth.

-While most have been talking about four clubs so far this season breaking away from the rest of the league, you can now perhaps add Wellington Phoenix to that group. The Kiwis were again fantastic against an injury hit Sydney FC on Sunday with my own personal sacred cow, Nathan Burns, putting the Nix up into fourth on the table.

The 26 year-old’s first goal was a wonderful example of why he must be in the Socceroos squad for the Asian Cup (that will probably have been announced before you read this) with a wonderful strong run and finish to stun the home team that had done so well in Melbourne the previous week.

While it was another great win over Sydney, there was also a nice touch back in Wellington for their oldest fan. Eileen Burt was surprised on her 100th birthday with a number of Phoenix players showing up un-announced at her nursing home with a big Phoenix themed cake. Even Jeremy Brockie, a player heading for the exit in a couple of weeks, made light of his own situation saying Eileen could have his 11 shirt on the roster once he’s gone. A nice touch for a team obviously enjoying their football with video of the surprise up on New Zealand station TV 3’s website.

-Another team enjoying their football is Perth Glory. Despite a cup loss during the week and a rogue ex-employee bleating to the press about alleged dodgy deals (see Ugly), their best reply was saved for Saturday night and belting the rudderless Mariners 4-1. While Chris Harold took his form in the youth league up to this level with a well taken double, it was the goal from 17 year-old Danny Da Silva that everyone was talking about.

A brilliant piece of skill, foresight and blatant opportunism saw Da Silva send a brilliant volley past a faffing Liam Reddy to put the game to bed. While clubmate Mitch Nicholls is out of the Asian Cup with injury and Josh Risdon’s horror show in the FFA Cup Final may have seen him be struck off the list for the same tournament, Da Silva did himself no harm with his star showing. Whether he’s ready for such a jump is another matter.

-Canberra may never see an A-League side considering they struggle to even have decent patronage for their rugby teams but their W-League side Canberra United are doing very well indeed. Up against clear favourites Glory, the capital city side showed that would continue to be the Perth side’s bogey team, winning 3-1 to take their second title. There are so many good news stories from this side too. Everyone from the Sykes twins (Ashleigh winning player of the match) to the 15 year-old Grace Maher who more than held her own after being chucked in and, like the twins, originally hails from Dubbo. Not that big a shock when you see that Canberra was the only team to take it up to Perth during the season, but an upset none the less.

THE BAD

-While Mark Milligan finally got his comeuppance for his errant elbow thanks to the MRP, a similar incident again highlighted another monumental referee cock up. With approximately 20 minutes to go in the Melbourne Derby Jacob Melling swung with intent collecting Leigh Broxham around the face after a wrestle. Surely it was a automatic red card? Apparently not. The referee only dished out a yellow which mean the MRP couldn’t act further to overrule an offence that may have been as awful as Milligan’s from the week before. Broxham’s play acting after being struck, the fact he was also fouling Melling before the elbow – and reputation as being a bit of an arse – probably didn’t get him any sympathy.

THE UGLY

-While it is still all wild speculation at the moment, Perth Glory’s season could be derailed by allegations of salary cap rorting. The club are strenuously denying all allegations with the finger being pointed at a disgruntled ex-employee who remains anonymous but much like Ian Thorpe’s sexuality was it is a very badly kept secret as to who it is. While it’s not unprecedented (Sydney FC were caught years ago and ended up being docked 4 points) the FFA need to tread very carefully with the facts at hand and not pull a kneejerk reaction because of influential commentators in Sydney calling for blood against an easy target. Would they delve that deeply if it was one of the clubs with big political clout on the East Coast such as Sydney FC or pouring money in to the league like City? This may galvanise Glory if they are clean – like they say – or this may destroy them for this season and beyond if guilty. There’s a massive elephant in the room at Perth Oval.

-Sydney FC’s injuries continue to rise and quite possibly ruin their season. With Ali Abbas, Corey Gamiero and (to a lesser extent) Nick Carle all out for the season cryptic messages from Graham Arnold indicating bruising defender Sasa Ognenovski may miss the rest of the season with a hip injury add more concerns. Their one saving grace is the next transfer period and an extended break due to the Asian Cup just around the corner.

About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Glory Guerrillas Producer and Co-Host. Contributer to Football Nation Radio and Football West. Worships at the feet of the mighty Cats, Socceroos, Matildas, West Perth, Glory and Glasgow's Green and White most of the time.

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