A-League teams need to focus to win preliminary final

Mike Tuckerman Columnist

By Mike Tuckerman, Mike Tuckerman is a Roar Expert

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    Perth Glory's Shane Smeltz the difference for his A-League club

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    Make no mistake, the A-League is in a world of trouble. The shocking events in Newcastle this week have unfortunately well and truly overshadowed Saturday’s preliminary final between the Central Coast Mariners and Perth Glory.

    Both clubs have reason to be shocked by Jets owner Nathan Tinkler’s attempts to hand back his A-League licence.

    The Mariners – who have had cash-flow problems of their own – are geographically Newcastle’s closest rivals.

    And no doubt Perth owner Tony Sage’s phone was ringing off the hook after Newcastle’s shock announcement given that the Glory chief has been one of the most outspoken critics of Football Federation Australia.

    The difference between Sage and Tinkler though, is that Sage has a genuine love for the game.

    Tinkler showed via several comments during the week he has no such fondness for football and much prefers rugby league and the NRL.

    How the FFA cleans up this mess remains to be seen but a protracted court battle seems inevitable.

    Of more immediate concern is how the Mariners and Glory players handle the distractions of the week.

    The Mariners have more to worry about given that should they beat the Glory, they have to travel straight after the match to the outskirts of Seoul to take on Seongnam in the Champions League.

    And coming off the back of their two-legged semi-final defeat to Brisbane Roar, coach Graham Arnold will need to do his utmost to have the Mariners primed for the Glory game.

    That’s not to necessarily to say Perth should go into the preliminary final as any kind of favourites, particularly when Central Coast proved themselves the most consistent team during the season.

    But momentum is a key factor in finals series and that’s something the visitors will have on their side after making the cross-country trip to Bluetongue Stadium.

    They’ll also be playing in front of a subdued atmosphere, in my opinion.

    Sadly, I can’t see too many extra fans turning up in Gosford for this grand final qualifier and I think those in the stands will be as stunned by the news coming out of Newcastle this week as the rest of us.

    Far from being a hostile home crowd, I think the picturesque venue will be bathed in a state of shock.

    Just a week after a 10-team league look secure for next season, the Jets saga has once again thrown the competition into chaos and taken the focus off the football on the pitch.

    Hopefully the Mariners and Glory can turn that around for 90 minutes – or perhaps longer – this weekend.

    We need some good news to cap off another difficult week in the history of the A-League, so here’s hoping we get it with a standout preliminary final.

    Mike Tuckerman
    Mike Tuckerman

    Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he settled in Brisbane, and has been a leading Roar football columnist from December 2008.

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    The Crowd Says (23)

    • April 13th 2012 @ 10:07am
      pete4 said | April 13th 2012 @ 10:07am | ! Report

      I don’t agree that what’s happened off the park will effect this match at all. Saw a tweet before Mariners have front page coverage in their local paper.

      http://express-advocate-gosford.whereilive.com.au/news/story/mariners-urge-fans-to-turn-out-in-force/

      Looking forward to this one. My tip is: Glory

    • April 13th 2012 @ 10:11am
      Roarsome said | April 13th 2012 @ 10:11am | ! Report

      Front page!! Well done to the CCM and the paper. Should give them a plug.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

      • April 13th 2012 @ 11:35am
        Kasey said | April 13th 2012 @ 11:35am | ! Report

        Excellent to see the Mariners on the front page (football coverage for a ‘good’ reason :))
        I think that momentum is the crucial factor here.
        After stylishly accounting for MHT and Wellnix, the Glory appear to have all of it. The Mariners have been #1 on the ladder since week 11 of the season so to only finish 2 points ahead of a fast finishing Brisbane outfit and then produce a bit of a damp squib in the Major Semi Final tie (they looked ‘in control’ for about 20 minutes over the total of both games) has surely sucked their players (and possibly fans) momentum wells dry. I predict the Glory will get up and unfortunately for those who pay more attention to the crowd figures than the games, they will likely do it in front of a crowd right on or about the CCM season average (9,607). I would consider a 111k crowd a success. Not sure if that is just being realistic or overly cautious. For the crowd watchers, they’ll have more ‘fun’ at the GF. Yesterdays offerings to the God of PAX indicate over 20,000 tickets sold already and only BRFC members have had access up to now. IIRC general public sales begin on Monday once the other participant is known. If the Glory do get up, their fans are likely to snap up the away allocation quickly despite the distance needed to travel as it has been quite a while between drinks for the glory boys. Were I a Glory fan I would fancy my teams chances of beating Brisbane based on the momentum gained from beating MHT, WPX and CCM in the lead up.
        summary: [predictions guaranteed or your money back:) ]
        Glory by 2 goals
        crowd 10k +/-500

        • April 13th 2012 @ 12:47pm
          Nathan of Perth said | April 13th 2012 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

          Lot of Glory supporters indicating they’ll make the trip if we can get up. Sticky situation – you want to attend the prelim but if you do you have already used your rainy day money and can’t go to the Grand Final! Stupid $600 return flights!

          • April 13th 2012 @ 12:55pm
            Kasey said | April 13th 2012 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

            I have to say I have a soft spot for Glory (all those years in the NSL where I didn’t have my own team, looking enviously westward at the Purple hoardes with their broad based club to support.) Thanks for showing the way for Adelaide United to be formed in 2003:) If they get up over the Mariners I’ll be hoping
            they. Can. Go. All. The.way. [/US sports voice] I expect many blogosphere rants about how the finals are anti-football when w team that finishes third can be considered champions after playing well for 1 month, but finals are Australian culture. Bring it on. Good luck to them. Brisbane won last year, they don’t need this like the long suffering Perth fans do.

            • April 13th 2012 @ 1:05pm
              Nathan of Perth said | April 13th 2012 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

              If Glory pull off the extremely improbable and win the next two to become Champions, the howls of anguish will be staggering. The number of people that have discounted, put down, dismissed and otherwise derided Glory and their play this year has been right up there.

              Alas, both of these teams have been bogey teams of our’s for years now.

              • April 13th 2012 @ 1:18pm
                Roger said | April 13th 2012 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

                We believe in your team Nathan.

                It shall be the year of the Glory. It’s been a long time coming.

              • April 13th 2012 @ 1:23pm
                Nathan of Perth said | April 13th 2012 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

                And let the Glory Anthem be sung from the terraces across the land 😀

        • April 13th 2012 @ 5:49pm
          BES said | April 13th 2012 @ 5:49pm | ! Report

          Wowsers Kasey!! I would consider a “111,000 crowd a success” as well!!

          • April 13th 2012 @ 8:36pm
            Kasey said | April 13th 2012 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

            111k: Yes the Gosford City Council has apparently applied to have a replica of Tehran’s Azadi stadium built directly over Brisbane Water;) in a bid to lure the 2022 World Cup final away from ANZ (They are only a few years behind the times up that way;) I won’t tell them if you don’t!)
            Gee wouldn’t that go over well with the Green lobby;)

            http://www.worldstadiums.com/stadium_pictures/middle_east/iran/tehran_azadi.shtml

            Of course later on I predicted 10k +/- 500 which I think is pretty realistic. Anybody disagree?

    • April 13th 2012 @ 11:21am
      Raghu said | April 13th 2012 @ 11:21am | ! Report

      Go Glory………………….

      • April 13th 2012 @ 1:24pm
        Nathan of Perth said | April 13th 2012 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

        #HWFG

    • April 13th 2012 @ 11:49am
      Titus said | April 13th 2012 @ 11:49am | ! Report

      I’m jumping on the Glory bandwagon, however, if CCM pack out Bluetongue I may get on board their bandwagon.

      Pretty commited, I know.

    • Roar Guru

      April 13th 2012 @ 12:02pm
      Fussball ist unser leben said | April 13th 2012 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

      CCM has one trophy this year, so I’m firmly on the Smeltzy bandwagon as it rolls across the nation.

      Besides, if CCM makes the GF they become the team with the greatest number of GF appearances in the HAL … and, no MVFC fan wants that to happen!

      • April 13th 2012 @ 1:43pm
        Axelv said | April 13th 2012 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

        I’d rather be 2 / 3 than 0 / 4 😀

        • April 13th 2012 @ 9:38pm
          Davi Heidelberg said | April 13th 2012 @ 9:38pm | ! Report

          It would be nice to see the Mariners lose another Grand Final (ex-wifes team) but like Kasey I have a soft spot for Perth as they showed us how an A-League team should be run years before we had an A-League.

    • April 13th 2012 @ 1:10pm
      Roger said | April 13th 2012 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

      Go Glory!

      And Mike, how are you going to wear comments like “Make no mistake, the A-League is in a world of trouble” when it turns out that actually, it’s not the end of the world, that we will continue, and next year will be yet another improvement?

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