Monday, September 7, 2009

A League Round Five Review

(Article published in Goal weekly)
The A League crowds are the talk of the competition at the moment. Particularly puzzling are the Gold Coast Crowd figures. Arguably the White Shoe Brigade has the best squad in the league, the best stadium and is getting more press than any other team. Mad Miron and Professor Palmer are doing a great job PR wise so what’s the problem?
Even though most of the Surfer chicks and Grommets were absent at Skilled Park Stadium up on the Gold Coast, those who did go were treated to a wonderful game of entertaining high pulse football.While sometimes the focus is on who is not there, when it should be on who is, the action on Saturday evening was excellent dude, gnarly even! 

The Gold Coast support would have been stoked to get a 2-1 win over title pretenders Sydney FC and go two points clear at the top. Shane Smeltz has been as cool like an ocean breeze this season with eight goals scored in five games. Like Russell Crowe, Phar Lap and everything else that is good from New Zealand we should really be claiming him as an Aussie……… somebody check his passport.

Melbourne Victory is in crisis mode read the Tabloid head line.Danny Allsop is normally the consummate professional but he did a Cassio and refused to play on against the Jets on Thursday nights. The management at Victory knocked a big money move to the Middle East and Danny had a bit of a dummy spit and took his ball and went home. 
The Victory must be cursing the FFA and Fox for scheduling their games opening two home games of the season on Thursday night. Both round one and five crowds were lower than expected and the A League need the large victory support so they can prop the league's plummeting crowd averages.

Adelaide United is a club who seem to have lost their way at the moment. They just can’t put it together on the park. The team look they are trying too hard and it’s draining to watch at times. The Reds are wasting chances when they get them and some players are not showing up….Cassio, has anyone seen Cassio? A couple of weeks back Red’s coach Aurelio Vidmar said they would have to change the way the team trains, due to the large amount of players that were getting struck down with calf injuries. If you can’t train properly the obvious question how can you play……..

The Central Coast Mariners are just the jammiest of bastards of the A League aren’t they? The game was played in Canberra on Friday night .A small crowd of 5000 plus will not help the Canberra’s bids cause to get into the A League next season. However the surface certainly helped the Mariners get a win as a tennis ball bounce did not assist Perth Glory keeper Tando Velaphi. With the score at 1-1 and with only a handful of minutes remaining Velaphi slipped and fell at them most awful moment.

Dylan Macallister did show some skill to run past the Glory keeper who was now crawling on his knees. The Mac then laid the ball to Mat Simon from the by line and the tall lanky striker side footed it in to an empty net, for an unlikely home away from home  2-1 victory to the Mariners.

The North Queensland Fury are starting to finally get there shit together. The Scouse man Robbie Fowler scored a delightful goal when he found room in the penalty box to open the scoring with a sublime right finish. The Fury were unlucky to have Paul Kohler sent off in the first half and were cursed by the football gods when a Mitch Nicholls deflection salvaged a point for the Brisbane Roar. 

The Roar seem to be suffering from a huge fan backlash after the club raised membership prices from $390 to $1080 for a family pass. Those extra four games the hike has been justified for better have fairy dust sprinkled on the ticket; otherwise it’s a con job. Who knew Scrooge moved to Brisbane!!!

All in all round five of the A League had a mixture of granite juxtuposed with some excellent play, if only the crowds would stop paying attention to those sports they play with a rockmelon.

A League Import Watch:Chicks love getting them and blokes want to play like them………… I’m talking about Gold Coast United’s Brazilian triumvirate of Milson, Anderson and Robson. Other imports that impressed were the Phoenix’s Paul Ifill, Adama Traore and Bas Van der Brink of Gold Coast United and of course the Fury’s Robbie Fowler. Song for the Newcastle Jets is playing consistently well this season and the Kosovo kid Labinot Haliti scored a great equalising header against the Victory.

A-League Socceroo Watch:Mile Sterjovski and Jacob Burns are starting to “show themselves” as Pim Verbeek likes to say. The Jets Ljubo Milicevic was superb again. and Verbeek should have a look at Grizzly Adams when Holland and Oman come to Australia in October.

Hot Spot: The Gold Coast United showed that without Jason Culina they can beat a full strength Sydney FC and must be favourites for the Championship.

Odd Spot:Mathew “Hallmark” Breeze once again showed he has a card for every occasion, sending the Fury’s Paul Kohler to the sheds after the defender received a second yellow for a rather soft challenge.

Best Goal Celebration so far:Lloyd Owusu (ADL) scored against the Fury last week and there must have been at least three different dance moves in one. The man who played for Ghana twice finished the move by the holding up the roof.

Quotes Of The Week:“When Shane is one-on-one with the goalkeeper like he was for the second goal, you can light your cigar!”Miron Blieberg coach of league leaders Gold Coast United lights up a Cuban.

Goal of the Week: Robbie Fowler’s poise and composure for the Fury’s opening goal against Brisbane Roar brought back memories of God’s Liverpool days.

A Football Story Team of the Week:
GK:Vuckovic(CENT), LB:Traore(GCU), Ljubo Milicevic(NEW), Vargas(MEL), RB:Elrich (NEW), LM:Minneicon(GCU) CM:Talay(Fury) CM:Thwaite(GCU) RM:Williams(FURY) FW:Smeltz(GCU) FW:Fowler(FURY)

Round Six Predictions:
Adelaide United 1v1 Central Coast Mariners

Newcastle Jets 2 v 1 Brisbane Roar

Sydney FC 2v 1 North Queensland Fury

Melbourne Victory 2 v 1 Wellington Phoenix

Perth Glory 0 v 2 Gold Coast United

Hyundai A-League 2009/10 – Leading Goal-Scorers
 8 – Shane SMELTZ

 3 – John ALOISI, Robbie FOWLER, Sergio VAN DIJK, Archie THOMPSON

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