The RBB has been handed an ultimatum from Wanderers management. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

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Sometimes moving forward is all about letting go of the past. We got a reminder of that at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday afternoon when Western Sydney Wanderers downed Perth Glory in the wet.

Victory for the Wanderers was a remarkable seventh straight for the A-League’s newest side and it came courtesy of a goal from a 22-year-old who started his professional career in Europe.

Aaron Mooy began his professional life at English side Bolton Wanderers before moving to Scottish Premier League outfit St Mirren.

But when the Wanderers gave the Quakers Hill local a call, Mooy ditched the cold climes of Paisley for a career back home in the A-League.

Could any of us have imagined that scenario when Perth Glory ventured to a wet Parramatta Stadium back in April 2004?

That was the day Nik Mrdja’s extra-time winner settled the last-ever National Soccer League decider against the soon-to-be defunct Parramatta Power.

There were less fans inside the ground that day than turned up to see the Wanderers beat Perth in a regular season game played in atrocious conditions on Saturday.

For all its teething problems – and it’s safe to say the A-League has had plenty – could anyone truly envisage how far football would come in this country since that dismal April afternoon almost nine years ago?

Perhaps a better indicator is the fact the Sydney FC line-up against Melbourne Heart yesterday included Alessandro Del Piero, Brett Emerton, Lucas Neill and Joel Griffiths. And they lost.

Watching the Heart leapfrog the Sky Blues on the table in front of a raucous 13,700-strong crowd was another indicator that domestic football in Australia is continuing to move forward at an impressive pace.

The ‘Yarraside’ was in superb form and slowly but surely it’s becoming the norm rather than the exception to see large, boisterous crowds file into the stands.

The standard of football continues to improve as well and some of the performances on display this weekend were sublime, not least in the Central Coast Mariners’ 6-2 thrashing of a shellshocked Melbourne Victory in Gosford.

The Mariners made light of the tough conditions, or better said actually used them to their advantage, in what was an outrageously dominant attacking display.

And the win sets up what is surely the most anticipated match of the season to date as the table-topping Mariners get set to host second-placed Western Sydney at Bluetongue Stadium next Saturday night.

Years ago names like Del Piero and Mooy, Neill and Popovic were the type we only read about in the ‘overseas football’ section of the local newspaper.

Now they’re making their mark in our own backyard and it’s us as football fans who benefit.

The A-League was instigated precisely to unify the tribes, so to speak, and with absolutely no disrespect to the NSL, fans of domestic football in Australia have surely never had it better.

And while it’s important to acknowledge the role the likes of Marconi and South Melbourne, St George, Melbourne Croatia and all the other migrant-founded clubs played in helping football reach this point, it’s also important to accept that those days are gone and the code is now in a much better place than anyone could have possibly imagined during the dying days of the NSL.

It’s been a hard slog at times but surely if fans are willing to sit through the sort of weather which lashed Newcastle, Gosford and Parramatta this weekend just to watch a game of football, the future looks bright for the sport in this country.

Sometimes to move forward you’ve got to let go of the past, something newcomers Western Sydney have helped achieve by exorcising the ghosts of the last ever NSL grand 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 since December 2008.

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The Crowd Says (163)

  • February 25th 2013 @ 6:55am
    MV Dave said | February 25th 2013 @ 6:55am | ! Report

    Went to the Heart match…great signs for the A League. Terrific atmosphere and plenty of red and white in the crowd. Although he was regularly booed Lucas Neill must have been wondering why he didn’t come back earlier…big noisy crowd and some great goals. Domestic Football is barely recogniseable since he last played in Oz.

    • February 25th 2013 @ 8:17am
      Stevo said | February 25th 2013 @ 8:17am | ! Report

      looks lke you got your moneys worth MV Dave ! It was a great night and the shining lights weren’t the megabucks SFC players but cheaper priced Jeremey Walker, Nick Kalmar, et al. One of the best non-derby Melbourne Heart games I’ve been to.

      • February 25th 2013 @ 4:08pm
        MV Dave said | February 25th 2013 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

        Yes Stevo it was a very cathartic experience to be able to boo both teams. 😉

    • February 25th 2013 @ 8:44am
      Christo the Daddyo said | February 25th 2013 @ 8:44am | ! Report

      This is the first time Lucas Neill has played professional domestic football in Australia.

      But you’re right on the atmosphere – would be great if that became the norm for MH.

    • February 25th 2013 @ 9:33am
      Jukes said | February 25th 2013 @ 9:33am | ! Report

      That was a terrific spectacle to see. Top match. A lot of supporters want to see the heart do well. Always difficult to do that in the shadow of MV. It looked like a great atmosphere and was also a terrific crowd. Long may it continue.

    • Roar Guru

      February 25th 2013 @ 10:05am
      langou said | February 25th 2013 @ 10:05am | ! Report

      Not complaining but personally I don’t think I could bring myself to boo a Socceroo captain

      • February 25th 2013 @ 11:08am
        Roger said | February 25th 2013 @ 11:08am | ! Report

        ^ this

        • Roar Guru

          February 25th 2013 @ 11:12am
          Cameron Kellett said | February 25th 2013 @ 11:12am | ! Report

          ^ this.

          I’m glad he’s back. I’m just glad he isn’t playing for Brisbane Roar, doesn’t exactly fit our setup but still a great addition. He brings a tonne of experience!

      • Roar Guru

        February 25th 2013 @ 11:42am
        AndyRoo said | February 25th 2013 @ 11:42am | ! Report

        I wouldn’t boo him but I can see why.

        I think the Socceroos have stopped being as special as they once were and it feels like you are getting exploited by the FFA with their venue choices and ticket prices.

        I guess that is the FFA’s job to an extent giving their financial position but coupled with the dour negative football played against even minnows the Socceroos “brand” is a bit lacklustre.

        As captain he is sort of the fall guy for the whole thing. He is not the one picking a team full of centre backs and players int he mid east but fans don’t get the chance to boo Holger enough.

        • Roar Guru

          February 25th 2013 @ 11:51am
          Cameron Kellett said | February 25th 2013 @ 11:51am | ! Report

          Booing because of the whole Heart “he’s ours” Sydney “took him” thing?

          Fair enough but playing ability that is so often judged whilst in national colours, with a squad providing no stability and consistency, it’s no wonder the poor guy cops a lot of blame, he has the tag of captain, he can’t pick the side and you’ve pointed that out rightly so AndyRoo!

          I hope after his guest stint he stays for a further few seasons. Money could be an indicating factor though as it’s not just a few games but a full season contract. Can’t say he hasn’t mostly gone where the money is? But good luck to him.

          • February 25th 2013 @ 12:27pm
            Dillan said | February 25th 2013 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

            I think the A-League will be one of the few options available for Lucas next season…

      • February 25th 2013 @ 12:47pm
        Stevo said | February 25th 2013 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

        It was easy!

        • Roar Guru

          February 25th 2013 @ 1:15pm
          Cameron Kellett said | February 25th 2013 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

          As easy as his decision to go with Sydney FC?? 😉

          • February 25th 2013 @ 6:16pm
            Stevo said | February 25th 2013 @ 6:16pm | ! Report

            That’s sooooo last week !

            • Roar Guru

              February 25th 2013 @ 7:01pm
              Cameron Kellett said | February 25th 2013 @ 7:01pm | ! Report

              And this is now…?!

      • February 25th 2013 @ 7:09pm
        crown77 said | February 25th 2013 @ 7:09pm | ! Report

        Why wouldn’t you boo an opposition player please explain to me this?

        A few things came to mind why you should:

        1. Melbourne Heart are from Melbourne so makes them Rivals to any Sydney team.
        2. He rejected their contract
        3. This is FOOTBALL, you don’t see Benfica, Sporting Lisbon or FC Porto fans cheer their opposition they whistle and boo until there is no end. Even the players and coaches on Derby games don’t even sit or talk to each other.
        4. No it doesn’t mean that there has to violence and that best friends can’t sit side by side and cheer for different teams even on derby day, but there will always be that heated conversation about their team, etc…

        I’m glad we are starting to see fans become hostile towards opposition teams
        If you haven’t experienced European/South American football, I understand it’s hard to accept but it is normal in football to hate your opponent and players, especially when they either change to a rival club or in Neill’s case he didn’t accept MH’s contract.
        Remember when Figo left Barcelona to go to Real Madrid the man was whistled and booed in every classico.

        Get over it because it will become more often the older the A-League gets.

        • February 26th 2013 @ 3:31pm
          mahonjt said | February 26th 2013 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

          ^ This

    • February 25th 2013 @ 3:41pm
      Kasey said | February 25th 2013 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

      Has Lucas ever had a pro or semi-pro contract(NSL) in Australia?

      I think he said the last time he laced up the boots in Oz was for the AIS team and that seems like a bloody long time ago to me.
      The amount of Red & White in the crowd was very encouraging. To me it shows that potential Heart fans are out there…MHT just need to be given a bit more time to engage with more fans. A great day out for the home team yesterday should help. Luckily the new TV deal all but guarantees the current 10 clubs. Heart can still be a success – it just looks like anything but in the local shadow of MBV and nationally with WSW.

      The move away from the NSL era hasn’t quite removed self-interested parties from attempting to influence the game if the (mostly online) calls for replacing Heart with SMH are any indication, it has just pushed them to the fringe, where such ludicrous ideas(IMO) belong.

      • February 25th 2013 @ 4:04pm
        pete4 said | February 25th 2013 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

        Kasey – no Lucas Neill never played in the NSL. My understanding is he moved to London as a 15 year old to join Millwall. Yesterday was the first time since Alex Tobin back in 1999 for Adelaide City a current Socceroos captain was back in the domestic competition

  • February 25th 2013 @ 7:08am
    Adrian said | February 25th 2013 @ 7:08am | ! Report

    i think the key here is

    “Sydney FC line-up against Melbourne Heart yesterday included Alessandro Del Piero, Brett Emerton, Lucas Neill and Joel Griffiths. And they lost”

  • February 25th 2013 @ 8:13am
    Stanley Hopcroft said | February 25th 2013 @ 8:13am | ! Report

    I used to like the EPL and ECL but lost interest in highly paid diving competitions.

    Now I don’t mind the highlights from the A-Leagues. Some of the skills and the goals are great.

    If only Nicki Carle could revolutionise Australian football in the same way that musicians like Hunters and Collectors did music: an internationally recognised but distinctly local product.

    • February 25th 2013 @ 10:04am
      Jukes said | February 25th 2013 @ 10:04am | ! Report

      I mentioned this among many other things in the fan forum at UWS Western Sydney.

      The A-league has been fantastic for so many reasons this season. Considering its run on a shoestring budget is even more remarkable.
      I have been a football tragic since I was a young kid playing junior football from U6s onwards. I never bought into the A-league until this year and only had a passing interest when it was first formed. The standard of the league has improved immensely since those days, and it has improved a lot more from the NSL days.

      Why this year for me.
      1.The standard of the play is fantastic, better than at any stage I can remember.
      2. Marquee players – fantastic to see good quality players from o/s play here
      3. Young guns – We have fantastic kids who are playing these days and they have me just as excited as a lot of the Marquee’s.
      Think players like Rogic(when he was here), Rojas, Mooy, Virgili, Babalj, Pain, Galloway, Powell. The list can go on and on.
      Great to see kids getting a run and managers having faith in them. If your good enough your old enough.
      4. Coaches who have a bit of tactical nous and actually want to play football – Postecoglu, Arnold, Popovic
      5. My Wanderers team finally arriving in Western Sydney – fan engagement, active support
      6. Great crowds and great atmosphere at games
      7. A lot of thought has gone into planning matches and scheduling games, not easy to do. Think about our opening game happening after the Rugby League GF, the games around Christmas and New year. The double headers and sometimes triple headers we have been having.

      All augurs well for upcoming seasons. Great steps in the right direction. I still think they need to work out the finals format a little better but thats an issue for another day. At least these days the FFA is willing to listen to the fans. As we know what we want from our game. Top stuff.

      • Roar Guru

        February 25th 2013 @ 10:10am
        langou said | February 25th 2013 @ 10:10am | ! Report

        Agree with point 7 Jukes (actually I agree with them all but point 7 is something that gets overlooked).

        Allot of thought now goes into the fixturing to ensure that there are big games on public holidays and plenty of double and triple headers for fans to watch on TV. I would like to see maybe a bit more of this, have a look at the local market and find the times that are best suited to that market.

      • February 25th 2013 @ 12:21pm
        Matt F said | February 25th 2013 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

        Scheduling has been very good. They’ve learnt a lot from the debacle of a few years ago when they started the season in August. The hardcore football fans were obviously still on board but the start of the season got lost to the general public in amongst NRL and AFL finals. By the time they had ended we were 9 rounds in and momentum was gone.

        One of the things they did really well this season was to schedule a lot of blockbuster games in the early rounds. This created momentum that has carried through the season

  • February 25th 2013 @ 9:15am
    Realfootball said | February 25th 2013 @ 9:15am | ! Report

    Good piece, Mike. Indeed, who could have imagined this in 2004? The A-League, we can finally say, is here to stay. I can still remember the hope that surrounded the launch of season 1. But it was fragile hope, very fragile. We had all seen too many false dawns, I think.

    Now, as well as a solid financial base, we are seeing real traditions and rivalries developing in the A-League, and that was the next important stage. Enough years have gone by, and enough characters have come and gone, to create a history. Kids who were 10 when the A-League launched are now voting adults. For the families who attend now, their kids may not even have been born when the A-League rose from the ashes of the NSL – and that is the next phase. For this kids, there will never NOT have been an A-League. Quite a thought. In 10-15 years, I suspect the football landscape will be greatly changed. And I really don’t believe that it’s a matter of “taking” supporters from AFL and NRL. Code wars are nonsense, really. NRL and AFL will always have their supporter bases. The key for football is to develop their own. There is no reason that football can’t match NRL attendances, and I am confident that within a decade, it will. But it won’t be at the expense of NRL. It will be alongside NRL.

    It’s been a splendid season, and for all the vocal criticism of the finals system I, for one, am looking forward to the drama of sudden death finals immensely.

    • February 25th 2013 @ 9:48am
      AGO74 said | February 25th 2013 @ 9:48am | ! Report

      Well said realfootball.

    • February 25th 2013 @ 8:16pm
      crown77 said | February 25th 2013 @ 8:16pm | ! Report

      “…And I really don’t believe that it’s a matter of “taking” supporters from AFL and NRL. Code wars are nonsense, really. NRL and AFL will always have their supporter bases. The key for football is to develop their own. There is no reason that football can’t match NRL attendances, and I am confident that within a decade, it will. But it won’t be at the expense of NRL. It will be alongside NRL…”

      THIS!

  • February 25th 2013 @ 9:36am
    Brian said | February 25th 2013 @ 9:36am | ! Report

    If anyone could settle a debate where would a CCM v WSW GF be held?

    • February 25th 2013 @ 9:42am
      oly09 said | February 25th 2013 @ 9:42am | ! Report

      As a guess, I’d say Allianz Stadium because neither CC or Parramatta stadiums are big enough and ANZ is booked that weekend. It would be an amazing atmosphere.

    • February 25th 2013 @ 10:23am
      Jukes said | February 25th 2013 @ 10:23am | ! Report

      If its WSW vs CCM then it will be Alliance Stadium 100% sure and that is only because ANZ is scheduled to hold a music festival on April the 20th. The Central Coast Mariners also fly out and play ACL matches after the GF date.
      However if its any other NSW team vs Wanderers then they could always think about moving it to ANZ Stadium on the 25th April which is ANZAC day (nothing scheduled). Can you imagine that for a spectacle.

      • February 25th 2013 @ 11:05pm
        Brian said | February 25th 2013 @ 11:05pm | ! Report

        I think they should seriously look at ANZAC Day being GF day every year. Play it at night after the AFL/NRL

  • February 25th 2013 @ 9:41am
    AGO74 said | February 25th 2013 @ 9:41am | ! Report

    Very good piece Mike. Was only thinking yesterday about the 04 GF @ Parra Stadium and the different domestic football scene that faced Perth Glory on saturday night.

    Today’s Daily Tele has the first 4 pages inside the back page devoted entirely to football. Before any stories on NRL, cricket, rugby or AFL. Quite a turnaround.

    • February 25th 2013 @ 12:25pm
      Ian Whitchurch said | February 25th 2013 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

      Moving the game to the clear air of late autumn and summer was a brilliant move.

      Move to the space and let the ball find you 😉

      • Roar Guru

        February 25th 2013 @ 12:35pm
        Fussball ist unser leben said | February 25th 2013 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

        Yes, of course, summer is free of all sport … which makes it easy for SOCKAH.

        Summer only has ..
        * International Test cricket, featuring best players in the world
        * International 1-day cricket, featuring best players in the world
        * International T20 Cricket, featuring best players in the world
        * BBL cricket, featuring many of the best players in the world
        * Sheffield Shield cricket, featuring many of the best players in AUS
        * Spring Racing Carnival, featuring best horses in Australasia & some of the best in the world
        * Grand Slam Tennis, featuring best tennis players in the world
        * F1 Racing, featuring best F1 drivers in the world

        I’m struggling to identify ANY professional sporting events that compete against AFL & NRL in winter?

        Winter seems to be the time of the year when there’s nothing else to do outdoors apart from watch AFL & NRL.

        • Roar Guru

          February 25th 2013 @ 12:56pm
          langou said | February 25th 2013 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

          The four biggest sports in Australia are Rugby League, Rugby Union, Aussie Rules, Soccer and Cricket.

          Letting Soccer compete with Cricket in the late Autumn and Summer rather than the big three codes of football in the Winter was a wise move.

          • Roar Guru

            February 25th 2013 @ 1:05pm
            Fussball ist unser leben said | February 25th 2013 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

            Yup, Union, League & ARF have pretty clean air during the winter months – there’s absolutely nothing else for sports fans to do in winter other than follow one of these codes.

            • Roar Guru

              February 25th 2013 @ 1:36pm
              langou said | February 25th 2013 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

              There would be more competition during Winter except Soccer and Basketball moved out of their traditional seasons to avoid having to compete with those sports mentioned.

              The F1 goes for four days, Aussie Open 2 weeks and Spring Carnival roughly a month so yeah there is a little bit of competition but nothing that is sustained over long periods.

            • Roar Guru

              February 25th 2013 @ 1:44pm
              Fussball ist unser leben said | February 25th 2013 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

              “There would be more competition during Winter”

              What are the international sports events that compete with AFL, NRL & Rugby in winter? These club competitions are competing with other club competitions.

              PS: I do concede, Greyhound Racing does seem to have a committed following during the winter.

            • February 25th 2013 @ 1:48pm
              Ian Whitchurch said | February 25th 2013 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

              Fuss,

              There used to be this football code that started in April, and then they moved to late summer.

              Similarly, a football code in the UK moved from its traditional winter to summer, in the search for clear air as well.

              Some of us pay attention to reality, even when it tells us things we would rather not be true.

            • February 25th 2013 @ 2:05pm
              Matt F said | February 25th 2013 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

              Why does it matter if they are “international” competitions? This comment thread is about media coverage in Australia. Whether a competition is international or not is irrelevant when it comes to local media coverage.

              I also find it hard to believe that NRL and Super Rugby aren’t international competitions given they have international teams playing in them. That’s not to mention the international rugby period which goes for ages.

              As for all the summer competitions you mentioned, five of them are the same sport. Of the three non-cricket ones the horse racing goes for 3-4 weeks, the Aus Open goes for 2 weeks and the F1 for under a week. They certainly don’t compete with the A-League over the entire season.

            • February 25th 2013 @ 10:15pm
              Wanderlust said | February 25th 2013 @ 10:15pm | ! Report

              I disagree! Get out to your local park & support the thousands of kids playing FOOTBALL this winter. And that’s just local park Football. There’a a Premier League, Premier Youth League & 3 other tiers (Senior & Junior) of top level Football being played every weekend during Winter, in EVERY State. Oh, & If spending all day Saturday watching these terrific games isn’t enough, back up on Sunday to see the Women’s Premier League as well as Women’s games in every District Association competition. Nothing but NRL & AFL to watch in Winter? Have you guys been living under a rock???

        • February 25th 2013 @ 1:12pm
          Ian Whitchurch said | February 25th 2013 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

          Its posts like that, Fuss, that make me glad that several of the codes I like have people smarter than you running them.

        • Roar Guru

          February 25th 2013 @ 1:38pm
          TheGenuineTailender said | February 25th 2013 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

          Bare in mind that in winter there are nine or 10 games of league and AFL every weekend plus a couple of rugby matches, where as in summer there might be six or seven BBL games a week or one test. Having the A-League in summer means there is vastly less competition for attention and it was a master stroke.

        • February 25th 2013 @ 5:03pm
          oly09 said | February 25th 2013 @ 5:03pm | ! Report

          Fuss, you seem to be missing the point.

          During winter the NRL and AFL have games every day from Friday to Monday – exactly when the A-League would have games. These two codes dominate not only the local media, but also ground allocations.

          On the other hand, in summer some of the competitions you’ve mentioned are over in days (F1 – four days, Aust Open – 2 weeks). Also there’s surely only a couple of international T20 games a season and Sheffield Shield is hardly a big crowd puller.

          Even Tests and one-dayers struggle, so really football only competes with domestic T20 for TV viewers and crowds. But I’m sure you already knew all that.

      • February 25th 2013 @ 2:05pm
        Titus said | February 25th 2013 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

        I think the effects of this are sometimes overstated, there has been negligable effect on A-league crowds, ratings and online interest despite the games being up against Rugby, League, AFL and Cricket these weekends.

        In other words, the a-league has its own set of fans, during the season the number of AFL/League/Rugby fans watching games is minimal. What would be interesting would be to see the effect on the BBL if it was up against those codes.

        • February 25th 2013 @ 2:15pm
          Australian Rules said | February 25th 2013 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

          Titus, the effect of moving the A-League season was harrdly “negligible”. It was enormous.

          And it makes complete sense that as the competition gears toward finals, interest and crowds and ratings etc, would not be toppled by AFL & NRL practice matches.

        • February 25th 2013 @ 2:41pm
          Titus said | February 25th 2013 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

          How much of the increased interest was Del Piero, Heskey, Ono, WSW, Ange etc? Its hard to say.

          Even if the a-league was starting now, at the same time as the other codes, it would have its own market. The key is to provide the best product, and while it has a long way to go, having flicked between all the games on the weekend, the a-league holds its own an has probably the most scope for improvement.

          • February 25th 2013 @ 3:19pm
            Australian Rules said | February 25th 2013 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

            Yes, but many A-League fans are fans of the AFL and NRL too.

            The clear air of summer is an obvious winner for the A-League.

            • Roar Guru

              February 25th 2013 @ 3:59pm
              Fussball ist unser leben said | February 25th 2013 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

              What evidence do you have that indicates A-League fans, who also follow AFL or NRL, would choose AFL or NRL in preference to A-Leauge?

            • Roar Guru

              February 25th 2013 @ 4:16pm
              langou said | February 25th 2013 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

              I dont think AR or anyone is suggesting that all cross code fans would go with the AFL or NRL but that cross over period does leave allot of people like myself torn, particulary when both your teams are playing at the same time.

            • February 25th 2013 @ 4:33pm
              nordster said | February 25th 2013 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

              Football can never rely on the summer ‘clear air’ all that much as it is a more year round sport. Its a good time of the year to showcase the league with holiday night games and attract some new punters. But even this I think is more pronounced during its establishment phase. Once it has an audience its less of an effect.

              In fact it would be better to be playing a longer season….whenever that is, summer autumn winter spring…as it keeps people engaged more of the year plus has the added benefit of improving our football. Playing for nine or ten months will set australian football up to go to another level.

            • Roar Guru

              February 25th 2013 @ 4:39pm
              Fussball ist unser leben said | February 25th 2013 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

              “I dont think AR or anyone is suggesting that all cross code fans would go with the AFL or NRL”

              Errr … I think that’s EXACTLY what they’re suggesting.

              Otherwise why bring it up?

              It’s possible that AFL & NRL will lose as many fans to HAL as the other way around.

              In fact, every one of my mates, who regularly attends HAL no longer attends AFL – even though the competitions are NOT being played during the same time of year.

            • Roar Guru

              February 25th 2013 @ 4:59pm
              Cameron Kellett said | February 25th 2013 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

              I don’t think Australian Rules is suggesting a preference of cross code support but that it is commonly known without statistical evidence that both AFL & NRL supporters can follow the A-league and vice versa.

              I’m a season member of Broncos and Roar, attended lions games and reds and can honestly say I am what AR implies.

              Not everyone fits into this category or does what I do but support can be all round.

            • February 25th 2013 @ 5:46pm
              Australian Rules said | February 25th 2013 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

              Apologies in advance for being rational, but if the A-League season were to commence now, some would continue attending the A-League and some would go to AFL or NRL games. langou & kellett pointed out the obvious – most people like multiple sports.

              As for Fuss’ comment:
              “It’s possible that AFL & NRL will lose as many fans to HAL as the other way around.”

              It’s possible. But it was the A-League that chose to defer its season because it was getting swamped amidst the AFL & NRL finals. This comment is not an attack on soccer, it just the reality of what actually happened.
              And it’s proven to be a smart decision by the FFA.

            • February 25th 2013 @ 9:17pm
              V bomber said | February 25th 2013 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

              It would be a fascinating study to see how many A league fans are also members and keen supporters of AFL and NRL clubs. I have followed A league since inception, and 50-70% of my 20 odd friends who follow A league also are AFL members. Of these, most would give priority to AFL, 1-2 would prioritize ALeague and a few would be torn. Those are not statistically significant numbers i appreciate! What do other people think?

            • Roar Rookie

              February 25th 2013 @ 9:25pm
              c said | February 25th 2013 @ 9:25pm | ! Report

              vb interesting comparisons, i reckon the game that provides the best all round game day experience will win out, time will tell 🙂

            • Roar Guru

              February 25th 2013 @ 10:24pm
              langou said | February 25th 2013 @ 10:24pm | ! Report

              V Bomber my friends that follow the A-League are also AFL fans with the exception of a couple of people, who will still attend a couple of AFL games a year.

              When I was in Germany for the World Cup they were announcing the AFL and State of Origin results over the tour buses and their was allot of interest in those games.

            • Roar Guru

              February 25th 2013 @ 10:37pm
              Fussball ist unser leben said | February 25th 2013 @ 10:37pm | ! Report

              @ V Bomber
              I’ve got ~20 mates, who regularly attend A-League.

              3 out of 20 are AFL season ticket holders & would choose AFL over HAL.

              17 of us have ZERO interest in AFL.

              All 20 have ZERO interest in NRL or SuperRugby.

            • February 26th 2013 @ 8:53am
              Australian Rules said | February 26th 2013 @ 8:53am | ! Report

              So from these responses it’s pretty clear…many if not most A-League fans are also AFL/NRL fans…which obviously makes complete sense.

            • Roar Guru

              February 26th 2013 @ 9:16am
              Fussball ist unser leben said | February 26th 2013 @ 9:16am | ! Report

              “…many if not most A-League fans are also AFL/NRL fans”

              Huh??

              I just said:

              a) 17 out of 20 A-League fans have ZERO interest in AFL
              b) 20 out of 20 A-League fans have ZERO interest in NRL.

            • Roar Guru

              February 26th 2013 @ 10:14am
              AndyRoo said | February 26th 2013 @ 10:14am | ! Report

              I think a lot of people don’t need to decide because they don’t support the A league or the AFL per se.

              Rather they support Collingwood and Melbourne Victory and may or may not care about the big games in either code not involving their teams.

              I know I used to support Rugby league but I wouldn’t say I’m a Rugby league supporter any more. Now I would say I am a Parramatta Supporter because unless they are involved I am probably not going to watch it.

              I

            • February 26th 2013 @ 10:23am
              Australian Rules said | February 26th 2013 @ 10:23am | ! Report

              Yes I realise what you just said Fussball…but obviously, others disagree with you.

              langou, kellett and V bomber…who are all A-League devotees, enjoy a variety of sports, like most people do.

              I mean, the world would be a boring place if we were ALL rabid one-eyed zealots wouldn’t it?

            • February 26th 2013 @ 10:25am
              Matt F said | February 26th 2013 @ 10:25am | ! Report

              Thankfully the A-League has more than 20 fans Fuss. It may surprise you but what goes on in your social circle is not necessarily reflective of everyone else. Of my friends who support the A-League, almost all of them also support teams in other sports whether they be AFL, Rugby Union, or NRL.

              Of course, I won’t be arrogant enough to claim that because me and my friends do this every A-League fan also does the same thing but it would cancel out your 20 friends.

        • February 25th 2013 @ 3:00pm
          Ian Whitchurch said | February 25th 2013 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

          Titus,

          The A-League games were up against preseason and trial matches …

          • February 25th 2013 @ 5:32pm
            Jukes said | February 25th 2013 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

            Just to carry on from this, I would be interested to see how our numbers stack up against NRL and AFL when
            the codes overlap. I suspect our numbers will more than hold their own. I would never dream of A-league
            going back to a winter league, but having our Finals during the AFL and NRL’s first couple of weeks of the
            season I think is the right way to go. The A-league was also moved for another reason and that was to
            align our season more closely with the European and Sth American leagues.
            I think it was done to help with scheduling conflicts for Internationals and the like. Being able to get our best
            players back etc.

            I know there is a movement in Europe to possibly change their league schedules to be a summer league rather
            a winter league. Would be a logistics nightmare. I dont think that would help us one bit. Lets hope it doesnt
            happen.

            • February 26th 2013 @ 8:23am
              Kasey said | February 26th 2013 @ 8:23am | ! Report

              Anecdotally quite a few A-League following friends of mine feel that the AFL administration has adopted an overly aggressive stance towards football especially via it ‘media partners’ and thus on principle if they ’were’ cross-overs that followed HAL football in Summer& AFL Footy in Winter, now often they feel that it is their ‘duty to football’ to ignore the AFL and actively ensure they are not putting any money into the already vast AFL war chest. Is the AFL doing anything illegal or immoral? I don’t know but I do know that the old saying is that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. Perhaps if the AFL were serious about generating more fans it would have a quiet word in the ear of the Mainstream media to lay off the “you’re not a true-blue Australian if you follow and enjoy Soccer” inferences.

          • February 25th 2013 @ 6:29pm
            Titus said | February 25th 2013 @ 6:29pm | ! Report

            I don’t get this at all Ian, and it might just be my Football perspective, but there is always massive interest in the pre-season.

            It is a chance to see your new pick-ups, get a taste of what sort of form your team is in and probably most importantly, it is the first football for 6 months.

            If indeed there are AFL and NRL fans who are choosing to watch the A-league over their pre-seasons then that is quite a compliment to the a-league.

            I guess with Foxtel you can just record all the games you want to watch anyway, I recorded all a-league games and the NSW/QLD Super Rugby game.

            I just think, fine this is our season, but I don’t think when the season is matters so much and I definitely don’t think we have to shy away from competing/complimenting other sports.

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