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A-League season preview [part three]

Roar Guru
9th July, 2009
43
2000 Reads

The third part of this A-League season preview looks at the chances of Brisbane Roar, Newcastle Jets, Wellington, and Central Coast.

Brisbane Roar (6th)
It will be a weird year for the Brisbane Roar. They have had a change of name and a new chairman in former state MP Chris Bombolas. Some of their supporters have been changing their allegiances to the two Queensland teams by going south (Gold Coast) or north (Townsville).

The Roar has lost Tahj Minniecon to Gold Coast United and Massimo Murdocca to a long term injury.

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Not too many new signings: 24 year old Brazilian Henrique came late into the campaign and showed glimpses of skill that could be exciting to watch. Michael Zullo will be hoping to benefit from the second coming of Robbie Kruse, and then there is the Indonesian Dutchman with the Brazilian name Sergio Van Dijk, who was on fire during the second half of last season. Mitch Nichols and Tommy Oar are two other exciting players to watch out for.

PREDICTION
Brisbane to make the finals and perhaps even the grand final.

FAN CULTURE
The Den is not the best supporter’s end of the A-League, but can still Roar.

Newcastle Jets (7th)
The problem child of the A-League, with chairman Con Constantine either angry at the FFA or his own fans. The Jets have lost their coach, Gary Van Egmond, on the eve of the season to a job at the FFA coaching the AIS.

But no fear, Novocastrians, ‘sexy football’ disciple Branko Culina is the new boss.

The former coach of other Australian football clubs was at one point citing his then pay masters Sydney FC as being the “Manchester United” of the A-league. After Newcastle Jets come dead last year, will Branko be calling the Jets the “Newcastle United of the A-League?

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One hopes not.

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Have lost most of their good ones.

PREDICTION
Somewhere in the bottom four.

FAN CULTURE
The Squadron is situated in the worst home end, which is to the side of the play rather than behind. Being an ultra does not mean you should get a good view of the game.

Wellington (8th)
Wellington has lost some key players and still holds a tenuous place in the league. New Zealand could qualify for the World Cup in South Africa next year. Seven players from Wellington Phoenix could figure in South Africa. It will be good for New Zealand football, Wellington Phoenix and the A-League if that happens.

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Diego from Adelaide United will add some quality and experience in the midfield, while Leo Bertos, Brazilian Daniel and Tim Brown are capable at times. Marco Rojas won a Yellow Fever scholarship worth $5000 that allowed him to train with the Phoenix for a week, and then got signed up on a two year deal.

PREDICTION
Will miss out on the finals, just.

FAN CULTURE
Supporter group Yellow Fever will be fearless and shirtless and singing “same old Aussies always cheating” all season.

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Central Coast (9th)
Just switch off the machine because the Central Coast is dead. They need the word new to spring up. New players, perhaps a new coach, and please, for the sake of football and all who love it, a new way of playing would be good as well. Mile Jedinak can’t be that good for the Central Coast to have not won a game since he left.

PLAYERS TO WATCH
None. I am bored already not talking about them. New signings are on the horizon. Adrian Caceras is good to watch, but he is always in the bench. Mat Simon barnstorming style is starting to get him goals.

PREDICTION
Long balls, boredom, can I go now?

FAN CULTURE
The Marinators. At least someone is trying.