A-League: The Highs and Lows of Round 1
I was lucky enough to watch all five games of the A-League this week and have put into words my thoughts on round one.
Langou’s Gold Star
The performance of the week undoubtedly goes to Adelaide United for overcoming a gruelling travel schedule to win away from home. Having had six months of talk about six day breaks vs. seven day breaks, it was refreshing not to hear a single complaint from anyone involved with Adelaide. This was despite facing off in a mid-week match (that went to extra time) and taking 33 hours to get from Uzbekistan to Newcastle. Arriving only 24 hours before kick-off, the Reds didn’t play the best football of the week but as far as pure determination goes, they don’t come better than this.
1) The Crowds: A record attendance for round one and the second biggest crowd ever for a regular season game. Well done for those that rocked up and well done for those who have supported the league from the beginning, helping us get to this point.
2) WSW: A good effort by the Western Sydney players for securing a point in their inaugural match. An exceptional effort from the administration for building a club within such a short time frame and for engaging the community to such a large extent. The results were obvious with over 10,000 braving terrible weather conditions, creating an atmosphere that could be felt even by those of us watching at home.
3) Wellington F.C: Once again they start the season underrated. With their strongest squad on record they are going to be extremely difficult to beat at home and if they start pinching away points they will find themselves with a genuine premiership chance.
4) Refereeing: Newcastle fans may disagree but overall I thought the standard of refereeing was excellent. I’m sure as the season goes on, mistakes will be made and over the top articles claiming a crisis in refereeing will be written but for now the boys deserve to be praised.
5) John Aloisi: He looked suave, he refused to sit down all game, and he celebrated every goal like a fan. He also won the tactical battle against Australia’s best manager by pressing high up the pitch and not allowing Victory the opportunity to run the ball out of defence. Well done John.
6) Tom Rogić: The kid must have been pinching himself as he rocked up for a NSW-based photo shoot to help promote the A-League. Standing quietly next to Del Piero, Heskey and Ono, it’s fair to say his 13 game A-League career probably wasn’t the main talking point of the day.
Not so Good
1) Flares: They are becoming more prevalent in this country. It is an ugly sight and one a majority of fans don’t want to see. Whether the media is overly harsh towards the code is debatable but bringing flares only gives them ammunition.
2) Sydney F.C. players not called Del Piero: A very disappointing display from Sydney. While Del Piero looked everything like the million dollar player he is, his teammates looked out of their depth playing next to him. At times they even looked nervous about being on the pitch with him. On the other hand Shinji Ono seemed to gel instantly with his WSW teammates.
3) Wellington having to play next Saturday: With a rule stipulating that a majority of Wellington players must come from New Zealand, it’s extremely unfair of the league to expect Wellington and the All Whites to play at the same time. Wellington will be forced to sign players on one match contracts just to have a squad available for next week. I would like to see the A-League have a complete break during internationals but at the very least they should allow Wellington the chance to play mid-week.
Dario Vidosic must be close to a recall to the Socceroo squad with another great display from the attacking midfielder. Following on from a strong champions league campaign, Super Dario gave the Reds the energy boost they needed when he scored within the first minute. He then went on to have five shots on goal, was involved in the play that saw the red card and finished the game with an assist.
The Big Question
Are we going to heckle Del Piero every away game?
The cries of “What a waste of money,” and “Who are ya?” were as predictable as they were unnecessary. This may be wishful thinking but I am hoping this stuff dies down and opposition fans at least wait until he does something offensive before unleashing the abuse.