The A-League's newest clubs look set to form the biggest rivalry in Queensland.
The A-League has shown us that when it comes to a fight, don’t mess with a Queenslander, especially a Northern Queenslander.
Just like the greatest rivalries in history - David and Goliath, North versus South, and Boss Hogg and the Dukes of Hazzard - meetings between Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury should be fierce and fascinating ones.
During the last week I have sat down at my desk, slipped into my reading slippers and grabbed a box of popcorn, fully entertained by the two teams' pre-season stoush.
The fight was all over a friendly that turned into anything but.
First the Fury announced that Gold Coast had cancelled the game:
“Gold Coast United have withdrawn from their commitment to play NQ Fury in a pre-season clash in Cairns, leaving Fury officials stunned & angry.”
Fury chairman Don Matheson labelled the episode a disgrace and poked fun at the private jets that Gold Coast owner Clive Palmer boasts about.
“I can only apologise to the people of Far North Queensland who have shown their support for our Club and football," he said.
"I just can't figure out the Gold Coast decision, maybe all three of the Board's jets were in for service that week."
Professor Palmer (I heard a joke that started the same way), owner of Gold Coast United and the second richest man in Australia, then gave the reasons why the game was canceled.“We would have had to pay for the flights up to Cairns or Townsville so that would have been an extra expense, said Gold Coast United CEO Clive Mensink.
The Fury and their Players
“In the case of the game in Cairns, we were advised of some uncertainty regarding the availability of the stadium that was to host the match and we have subsequently questioned the standard of the opposition given their recent performance in Singapore."
Angry at the FFA
“FFA’s short-sightedness in scheduling five out of our first seven Hyundai A-League games away from home is the only disgraceful Board decision.”
In response to the cancellation Don Matheson then offered to play the Gold Coast at their home ground.
“I don’t understand the Gold Coast’s reasons for canceling the Cairns game, but I do understand Professor Palmer’s resolve to bring quality football to the Gold Coast, so I’m willing to send my boys south in the interests of lifting the game’s profile in Queensland.”
The Fury where also the first to draw their swords:
“I’m sure a match between North Queensland Fury and Gold Coast United would create the same level of interest, if not more, so at the sake of sounding clichéd: let’s play the game Professor. You can run but you can’t hide."
A day later everyone finally made up.
“Professor Clive F Palmer, today acknowledged North Queensland Fury’s acceptance of his open invitation to reschedule the proposed pre-season match between the two clubs to Skilled Park, and has locked in June 23rd for the clash.”
The Fury of the Heat
The heat does some strange things to people noble winner for literature Albert Camus can attest to that. So why did the Fury play their first professional game in Singapore against a Singapore side no-one has heard of? The 1-0 loss they suffered is forever written in annuls of Wikipedia, for future generations to wonder; why this team decided to play their first ever match in Singapore?
Robbie Fowler had a groin injury and could not play in that game. How many times will we read that when the Fury squad is announced before they play?
Melbourne and Sydney Quiet
The Gold Coast and NTH Qld are making plenty of noises while the two biggest clubs in the country in no specific order Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC have been a bit subdued.
Save for some trial games it has been quite for both teams, perhaps because both squads have been finalized for a while; a symptom of such a short A League season and such a long off season in between.
Both clubs have signed their marquee players on two year contracts. That is what makes the headlines. Maybe a fresh approach for the Marquee concept needs to be look at?
Fury Young Guns
North Queensland has been trialling some interesting players Roy Krishna from Waitakere United and Osama Malik from Adelaide United are two young players who caught my eye at the recent Club World Championship where both showed their pace and skill after coming off the bench.
I have been reading all about Nth Queensland Fury exploits courtesy of an excellent fan blog called The Journal here is the address: www.nqfuryfcthejournal.blogspot.com.
Yesterday the Fury lost to the Central Coast Mariners 1-0 at Jardine Park in Rockhampton; the goal scorer was former Napoli man Giorgio Di Vicino.
The Fury and Gold Coast have showed the rest of the A-League how to build a rivalry. The Fury has already anointed the Gold Coast with an offending nick name “The Gold Coast Chavs” and the Gold Coast has offended almost everyone. June 23rd up on the Gold Coast the Fury will be hoping to get one over their state rivals, I will be getting out the popcorn.
Con Stamocostas, Goal.com