A-League draw inspires confidence for the season ahead

Luke Doherty Roar Guru

By Luke Doherty, Luke Doherty is a Roar Guru

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    Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley. AAP Image/Paul Miller

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    The word draw in football terms rarely inspires excitement, but the start of the 2012/13 A-League campaign has the necessary elements to provide a launching pad for what should be a highly entertaining season.

    In many ways, it’s back to what the competition should’ve looked like at its inception.

    Two teams in Melbourne, two in Sydney, one in Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide and the Mariners and Jets rounding things off.

    Now, it’s about capitalising on the start the A-League always deserved.

    The AFL grand final is on Saturday the 29th of September with the NRL grand final to follow the next day. 

    The Monday news cycle will be dominated by the wash-up from those two events in every market. That leaves three and a half days for officials at head office and in club land to remind the Australian sporting public that the next thing of importance isn’t the cricket.

    The die-hards will, of course, already know when and where their club is playing. Many, will watch keenly as the next phase in the evolution of the new Sydney club plays out on Monday.

    The ones who need reminding are the casual observers, the sports fans who will watch anything as long as they know it’s on.

    That means the competition needs to start with a bang. The first three weeks of the competition should be an easy sell.

    The Melbourne derby between the Victory and the Heart has the potential to get the season off to the perfect start with a huge crowd expected at Etihad Stadium for the opening match.

    That’s followed the next day by the debut of the new side in Western Sydney at a home ground that is still to be determined. They’ll take on the Central Coast Mariners. 

    The grand final replay is the headline act on the Sunday of the first round. Brisbane heads to Patersons Stadium with the Glory looking for revenge following their controversial loss in the decider last season.

    Putting the new Sydney club as the opening fixture of the second round is a smart move. Interest in the team will still be high as they travel to Hindmarsh Stadium to play Adelaide United.

    Brisbane and the Melbourne Victory square off the following night with Ange Postecoglou trying to bring down the side he turned into the envy of every other club in the competition.

    The Victory will be one of the draw cards in round three as well. They play rivals Adelaide at Etihad Stadium. This fixture already has plenty of history.

    The next afternoon Newcastle and the Central Coast Mariners fight it out in the F3 derby at Hunter Stadium.

    That match provides the perfect lead in to the first ever Sydney A-League derby.

    Sydney FC will travel to the home of their new foes and that match sells itself. The house full sign should go up without too much trouble.

    From there, the season twists and turns on its own steam, but the message will still need to be preached to the unconverted.

    How successfully that is done will show in the volume of people strolling through the gate, but as far as a launching pad, FFA couldn’t have done much more.

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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • June 20th 2012 @ 10:49am
      pete4 said | June 20th 2012 @ 10:49am | ! Report

      As successful as the Melbourne derby has been for the HAL. I’d say with the intro of a Sydney derby this season now even our Sydney-centric SBS pundit friends will be jumping on the HAL bandwagon

    • June 20th 2012 @ 11:04am
      nordster said | June 20th 2012 @ 11:04am | ! Report

      Whether the clubs can preach beyond the converted will depend on how receptive the unconverted are. Including the ‘mainstream’ media. Local media maybe is where to push further especially among the many still relatively healthy mastheads in parochial regions, like those in west Sydney. Rather than focusing too much on the more mass media outlets, they are often the slowest to react. Plus they have social media being such a direct link now, albiet to the converted.

      (And tut tut on your opener …the term draw may not inspire excitement but as u will know by now luke, draws can resemble it even the 0-0s 🙂 )

    • June 20th 2012 @ 8:50pm
      Swampy said | June 20th 2012 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

      Has the Phoenix been nixed?

      Seemed to recall that they were still around… nevermind.

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    • June 21st 2012 @ 8:49am
      Stalker said | June 21st 2012 @ 8:49am | ! Report

      Great to see you mentioned the Phoenix??? One of the best away supported clubs! Another shite draw for us on this side of the Tasman. Back and forth with no real double week games in Aust to extend our stays will take its toll on our team this year. (except for the Adelaide – Melbourne fixtures.

      And what happened to the super Wednesday fixture in early Jan. I remember having 50 or so down the pub for a day of a- league… Has this been forgotten?

      • June 27th 2012 @ 4:24pm
        PeterK said | June 27th 2012 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

        Agree, Stalker, re the Super-Wednesday

        And don’t worry about NZ being forgotten — even in Oz, we have no representation north of a line joining Brisbane and Perth.

        And I often wonder why we haven’t looked more closely at Canberra and Wollongong and Launceston.

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