The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Round 8 of the A-League

THE GOOD

-It sounds awfully out of place to refer to anything to do with the death of Phillip Hughes as ‘good’ but the respect shown to the tragic passing of the cricketer by fans over the weekend was impeccable.

With at least two of the games this round known for its combative atmosphere not a noise was heard during the minutes silence for all five of the matches with banners unfurled by some and bats left out at all games. The applause at the 63rd minute should also be noted as something very touching.

Francis Leach perhaps made the best point that hit home with me personally Sunday’s edition of ‘Offsiders’, when he said that sport is what Australians play to almost celebrate our enormous good fortune to be in a country such as this. The codes these days seem to be about warring over market reach, fried chicken advertising, TV deals and extracting money from middle class Australia. At least for one weekend, that was forgotten about under the most tragic of circumstances. Mention should also be made about young Glory and Matildas star Sam Kerr (brother of Daniel) who celebrated her hat-trick against Sydney FC with a batting motion on the ABC TV game yesterday.

-The Phoenix rises? This team from Wellington coached by a man with the personality to match the climate of the city he lives in flexed some real muscle Sunday afternoon against a hapless City side. Much like Perth Glory, the recruiting has been a big factor and their big factor has been one Nathan Burns. As I said in this blurb after round one, he is a player that was a potential star and an important player at the 2011 Asian Cup, but lost his way with some wrongly chosen moves between overseas clubs.

At Phoenix he is now in his element as one of the top scorers of the league and bagging the first ever hat-trick in the club’s history. Burns is also ably supported by the Fijian winger Roy Krishna (who won’t be around long at this rate), former Celt Michael McClinchey and the irrepressible Dutchman Role Bonevacia who also scored again in this match. Ernie now has the team that he wants without the deadwood of the Herbert years, and with the home-ground advantage they have, they will play surely fall in a big hole to not make it in to the finals this season.

THE BAD

-One term I have used more than any other in life is probably ‘you can’t polish a turd’ and that term seems to now pretty much apply, again, to Melbourne Heart/City. City were abominable in Wellington, with a performance that was, arguably, one of their worst on record.

So is it the coach? The players at his disposal? The culture? It just echoes that same problem the club always has which is seemingly all three. John van’t Schip did well when the original coach of the club – which the fans behind him point to as a reason to keep him, but this time he looks for excuses more readily with players seemingly just not up to standard skill or attitude wise. Their one win has been over the champions (who are awful this season so far) and will be back to sub 10,000 crowds at home while their neighbours gallop off in to the distance… again. Damien Duff must be wondering what he’s gotten himself in to.

-Adelaide United has been the most skillful, entertaining and dangerous team in the league so far this season… then they played the Victory in Melbourne. In what could only be described as the ‘Kosmina Curse’ the Reds again turned to water against Victory in what is a worrying psychological barrier that keeps them from getting one over their rivals when much is at stake.

Victory’s tactics were spot on in the pulsating game at AAMI Park on Friday night. The plan was to pressure United straight away, don’t let them get in to their rhythm and above all else put pressure on their chocolate soldier central defenders. They did all of this which caused United to make some massive errors including one from one of said confectionery defenders, Nigel Boogaard, that had them a goal down after only couple of minutes.

United were back on level terms and eventually went down 3-2 (I won’t bring up that penalty or Mabil’s miss) but there’s still something there that stops them taking it up to Victory. They almost got a result but it’s been almost a heap of times.

THE UGLY

-Recently I got around to finally seeing ‘Hunger’, the first movie from Oscar winning director Steve McQueen about the hunger strikes during the troubles in Northern Ireland. The movie pulled no punches with its bleakness and horror on both sides of a traumatic time in modern Britain that hadn’t left me that disturbed since watching Snowtown.

Saying all that though, I found that movie more enjoyable and uplifting to watch than Sunday’s F3 Derby.

You can only really see how much Newcastle and the Mariners are both struggling when they play each other. This clash has lacked a spark for a fair few years with the Jets normally not up to the task but, again, Sunday lacked any of the fire or emotion a derby should have no matter what position the teams are in. It was more like the two teams are Barbie dolls being made to kiss by a curios child such is the lack of emotions. Yes, there were goals but there was also a host of fundamental skill errors with the pace of the game like something from the first couple of years of the league. It might be telling, seeing as they biggest clashes these two had were during those first few years of the league.

-Unless you are very inclined to be a Sydney FC fan you would probably agree that Ali Abbas is, at the best of times, a bit of a prick on the field. He is relentless with the chatter, the niggle at times and tackling that has seen many players crack and even (allegedly) slander Abbas about his former homeland Iraq. This unfortunately overshadows his story of claiming asylum in Australia in 2008 through to being granted an Australian citizenship in 2012 in what is a wonderful story.

Love or hate the combative midfielder it is tragic that Ali will be out for the next 12 months after injuring his ACL in the Sydney derby on the weekend. This was after another suspect tackle from Iacopo La Rocca in the opening stages of the game when nerves were a jangling. This injury means he will not only miss the rest of the season (the second Sydney FC player to go down with a serious knee injury in a fortnight) but out went any chance he had of playing for Iraq in the Asian Cup being hosted by his new adopted country.

The booing of Abbas by the Wanderers fans as he went up the tunnel wasn’t really welcome either but there was nothing that malicious in it (you would hope) and was probably more pantomime. Let’s hope both he and Gamiero are back soon.

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.

Comments

  1. Vaughan Menlove says

    Got to agree in regards to Heart. Just wonder what Van’t Schip is doing there. I hear Kalmar has been told he has no future at the club. Not even playing in the youth team. He doesn’t have faith in the players at the moment

  2. Dennis Gedling says

    Scott Munn needs to come under scrutiny too. He was left in his same position as CEO after the takeover and has seemingly not done much to change the culture of the place even with the backing of the new regime.

Leave a Comment

*