The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Round 27 of the A-League

THE GOOD

After the tightest battle for the Premier’s Plate seen in 10 years of the A-League Melbourne Victory were finally the team to finish on top at season’s end after 27 rounds and plenty of action. Even the haters cannot argue the title was more deserved than the other nine sides. Sydney FC didn’t lose a match away from home all season which is an extraordinary effort to say the least and United and Phoenix both had their moments but all lacked the consistency of Victory.

While their defence was a shambles at the best of times the three-pronged attack of marquee screwball Besart Berisha, signing of the season Fahid Ben Khalfallah and the young star Kiwi Kosta Barbarouses more than made up. If any of these players went down then there was always Archie Thompson on the bench too. Behind the players was a brutal midfield led by the captain Mark Milligan and recently returned Carl Valeri along with the mercurial yet inconsistent Brazilian Gui Finkler. Thrown in Daniel Georgievski, the workhorse Leigh Broxham and a smattering of other players and it’s a squad that has shown its worth.

This is the first trophy for Victory in six years which you have to say is a long time to wait when they are the most popular and well run team in a 10 team league. Will they go on with it now? It’s too tight to call with the competition now straight knockout but full credit to the divisive Kevin Muscat and his team. They’ve come this far.

– United’s season has slowed to a crawl but they certainly gave their fans hope for their first A-League title by making mincemeat of an awful Melbourne City at Hindmarsh on Saturday night. While it was all one way traffic for the fast thinking Reds the highlight was undoubtedly the amazing run and goal from Tarek Elrich. The new Socceroo received the ball in his own half and managed to go on an amazing run through an admittedly static defence to finish brilliantly and appear on highlight reels and youtube compilations for quite some time.

Even Tarek’s brother, the troubled former Socceroo and Fulham winger Ahmed, sent congratulations from jail where he’s currently serving time on gun charges. Many United fans are upset that their final against the Roar is at Adelaide Oval this Friday although this may work in their advantage with the Roar having never played at the refurbished venue and won seven and drawn one the last 8 times they’ve played United at Hindmarsh.


THE BAD

– The Newcastle Jets are a team from a proud footballing area of the country, the third champions of the A-League with a production line of talent from the region that only the Queensland Institute of Sport could match. All very impressive but the less said about this season the better.

The Jets didn’t win a game until Round 11 of the season and their second wasn’t until round 22 some four months later. They finished with three wins, eight draws and 16 losses and bottom of the ladder scoring less than a goal a game on average and conceding at least two a game. You can blame the owner, the coach or the players that rebelled but it has been a massive mess this season and even makes a team that blatantly cheated the cap out West look half decent.

Like Glory, the Jets are stuck with an owner they don’t want and who would rather fight the FFA in public to drag the reputation of the league down with them instead of handing back the licence for the good of the club. So will things improve? Doubtful at best in the current climate.

– Glory also need to be mentioned one more time with their annual ‘Most Glorious Player’ awards night cancelled for the first time in its 18 year history. The club thought it would be ‘awkward’ to hold the night considering the events of the past few weeks which can only be answered by most fans with ‘no shit’.

It’s another kick in the guts for the players who worked hard all season only to have their chances of silverware stripped by the FFA. Now they won’t even be recognised by the club for their efforts throughout the season. Then again some of the players were considering boycotting the event anyway. Let’s hope there is still some recognition given to the best player of the season even if there isn’t the annual self-proclaimed lavish event.

THE UGLY

– Saturday afternoon’s game between Wanderers and Glory was pointless at best but ahead it went after a delay due to hail with Glory winning an entertaining encounter. Not that there were many of the Wanderers core supporter group ‘The RBB’ there to see it. An incident in the first following a flare being ripped in the RBB section resulted in scuffles, pepper spray being used and a young boy being treated for the effects of said spray among others.

The RBB protested outside claiming police brutality, the police claim that they were stopped from ejecting the person who lit the flare and were the target of projectiles as well as jostled. Whatever the reason (and to quote Jeffrey Lebowski) this aggression will not stand [man! – Ed]. The RBB and ‘ultra’ groups like it offer colour, noise and atmosphere which is wonderful for the league and adds to the spectacle. There isn’t a need though for boring middle class kids from boring middle class suburbs thinking they’re in Donesk or Zagreb so they think they stand for something. Covering their faces, thinking it’s them against the world and above all else endangering the safety of others with flares and other such tools doesn’t make them look hard, it makes them look like complete wannabes.

The cops may have been over the top, this will come out in the subsequent investigation but the FFA and the clubs need to find some kind of way to ensure the atmosphere isn’t killed from over policing and more trouble doesn’t occur because of idiots who have seen ‘Green Street hooligans’ or youtube videos of the Polish league once too often. Wanderers will seemingly escape another fine too even after the incidents that happened in Perth some 6 weeks ago (flares, pitch invasion) which doesn’t help placating fans from other clubs that believe the FFA treats the RBB with kid gloves.

Anyway, despite all that there are now 6 teams to fight it out for the finals over the next three weeks. May the best team win and may we be entertained.

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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