The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of Round 2 of the A-League

THE GOOD

 

-Without a doubt the major highlight of many in this round was the Sydney derby. In only its seventh edition the clash between Sydney FC and Wanderers has now found its feet with its first genuine classic. It wasn’t just Sydney FC coming back from 2-0 to beat the out of form Wanderers 3-2 either. It was also the amazing crowd. It was also Vitor Saba (the Brazilian recruit who looks like he should be drinking Melbourne Bitter in a Fitzroy laneway bar) being given his marching orders for a horrible tackle on Terry Antonis. Then there was also the display from the Sydney fans in ‘The Cove’ making a concerted effort to take back the ascendancy in the cross-town rivalry after being mugged by Western Sydney’s popularity that went from strength to strength as Sydney FC lurched from crisis to crisis.

There was also ex-Socceroo Sasa Ognenovski teetering between match winning hero and nut bag red card time bomb waiting to happen. With Brosque’s winner there was also the pitch invasion (without incident thankfully), Janjetovic’s howler for the second Wanderers goal and the Wanderers fans still doing the Poznan at 3-2 down. A fantastic advertisement for the league after the drab match at Adelaide Oval the night before (see Bad) with tension not boiling over in to headline making violence (see Ugly).

 

-With over 40,000 at the SFS for the Sydney derby and over 30,000 at Adelaide Oval on the Friday night a new record was set for crowd numbers in one round with an impressive 106,082 attending all 5 games across the country. It may have been more if Glory managed to get a few more through the gates but they have a long way to go to win back a lot of fans who used to believe.

 

-Speaking of Glory, another cracking comeback on Sunday saw them triumph over the champions Brisbane 3-2 in what was a great way to end the round. The Irishman Andy Keogh was unstoppable as he scored a hattrick and showed more in two games than the man he replaced (Shane Smeltz) did in the past two years. Glory also came back from a goal down twice to down their bitter rivals with entertainment also coming from Henrique who scored a wonderful goal in an action packed second half. Kenny Lowe has his critics but he has the players believing in themselves which is a rare sight at Perth Glory. Glory fans aren’t too hopeful..yet.

 

-One of the major transfer sagas over the off-season was star New Zealand International Michael McGlinchey and his desire to move to the Wellington Phoenix from the Central Coast Mariners. McGlinchey tried to use a loop hole to leave the Mariners with the club changing ownership but was at first denied then allowed to leave when through the PFA it was made quite clear he would never want to play for the Mariners again. In the first game between the two sides since the spat a penalty taken by Wellington’s Jeremy Brockie was saved by but who headed in the rebound? Who else but else but McGlinchey who did the time honoured ‘humble brag’ of refusing to celebrate against his old side. Phoenix would upset the Mariners 2-1 in a wonderful result for a side who lost it at the death the week before.

 

THE BAD

 

-With a huge crowd at a new revamped Adelaide Oval on a warm Friday night the Adelaide United V Melbourne Victory clash was seen as a big chance for the league to have another showpiece game and perhaps cash in on the massive momentum Port Adelaide had gained from a change of venue. Unfortunately the game was marred with mistakes on a slippery over-watered pitch and only in the last 10 minutes did it liven up with a wonderful goal to Sergio Cirio and then quick reply from Victory. With the game live on SBS TV it was a shame that the game didn’t get to a decent level to show off the league to a free to air audience between two sides that play an open and attractive game.

 

-If Melbourne City want to hang on to some of those coming along to see David Villa then they want to put more in than the drab performance against the Newcastle Jets. The Jets are defensive to say the least but City’s inability to break down a side that on paper are inferior to their team of international blow ins and young stars means that they need to strike while the iron is hot with the rebranding from Heart to City. Their attempt to airbrush the Heart name out of its history could be done a bit more tactfully too.

 

THE UGLY

 

-While the Sydney Derby was fantastic drama on Saturday night the league still needs to tread very carefully with the rivalry it has manufactured. While the lined up face-off between the players at the start of the game was like something from a WWE pay per view event the fans need to also be kept ‘on a leash’ as it were so something doesn’t spill over. It is hard for the FFA with this rivalry becoming a major boon for them but it’s a fine line between pumping up the made up hatred and not being hypocritical with overzealous security and bans if the passion spills over like it almost did when Brosque scored Sydney FC’s third and a 100 or so ran on to the field to celebrate.

 

-The form of Western Sydney could only be described as ugly and it won’t get easier. Not only did they lose their third league game in a row for the first time it was also the first time they had blown a two goal lead and lost in consecutive games to their crosstown rivals. What was ugly though on Saturday night was the fact that Sydney FC’s players intimidated them and got in to their heads. Uncharacteristic mistakes and stupid red cards are not normally their way. Wanderers now have to regroup for the Champions League Final(s) then travel to Wellington and then Perth before a glut of games to catch up on the games moved to the ACL. You would say this is their biggest test yet but it’s something they have fed off since day one.

 

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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