The 2012/2013 A-League season will begin in October with the Melbourne derby but football fans will have to wait another two weeks for the first-ever Sydney derby.
The new draw has some surprises in it, with a shortened finals series, and returns to regional areas with games in Dunedin, Launceston and Campbelltown.
The season will start on Friday night, October 5, with the massive Melbourne derby at Etihad Stadium.
Sydney FC will then take on Wellington Phoenix and the yet-to-be-named Western Sydney will play the Central Coast Mariners.
This is at a ‘To Be Announced’ venue, as the new club doesn’t have yet have a stadium, name or colours. Time to make some decisions, FFA.
It’s a little disappointing that a Sydney derby won’t have happen in the first round, but perhaps the FFA doesn’t want to put all its eggs all in one basket and build the anticipation for round three. The move also will allow fans to develop some cohesion with chants, outfits, flags and banners.
The first week will also see a grand-final rematch with Brisbane Roar against Perth Glory, which should be a much-anticipated game.
Week three will see Melbourne take on old rivals Adelaide at Etihad, the season’s first F3 derby with the Mariners travelling to Hunter Stadium, and the debut of the Sydney derby at a venue to be announced. ANZ Stadium perhaps? This will be a blockbuster.
Recent rivals the Roar and the Mariners will clash in week eight at Bluetongue Stadium.
The FFA has got it right with again starting the competition after the AFL and NRL seasons are finished, giving the A-League maximum exposure. By introducing a shorter finals series, the FFA has hoped to increase more tension and excitement.
It will only go for three weeks, not four, and the top two placed teams will receive the first week off. That will be the only advantage for the top team as the finals will be a knockout comp with elimination in every game.
This season there will also be a Boxing Day game, Adelaide at home to the Roar, as well as three games on December 27. There will also be two New year’s Eve matches and three games on New Year’s Day. Another plus is the return of the Australia Day fixtures, with three games to be held around the country.
The A-League will head to Launceston on January 12, Campbelltown on February 9 and Dundein on March 3. It’s good to see the community round continued, though there is no spot for Bathurst or other venues such as Port Macquarie, Morwell or any others which is a bit of a shame. Shouldn’t we be taking games to places like Canberra, Geelong and Cairns?
Overall though the FFA has done a decent job with this draw. It may not be flawless, but it’s a step in the right direction. Bring on season eight.