It seemed as though we were waiting an eternity for the return of A-League football, but just like that, our first round is over – and what a round it was.
Each week I aim to address pressing matters, ask the tough questions and identify what we love. So let’s get things started.
Team of the round – Melbourne Victory
This is a no-brainer. For only the second time in 10 seasons, Melbourne Victory managed to notch a win in the opening round, but it wasn’t so much the win that got the pundits talking, but he manner in which they won.
Melbourne Victory were the first team in a Round 1 fixture to score four goals while also becoming the first to score four against the resilient defence of the Wanderers.
If early signs are anything to go by – they have a squad that that on paper is unrivalled – Victory surely sent an ominous warning to all others with that result.
Is it too early to label them favourites for this season’s premiership? Or will Adelaide United, under the tutelage of Josep Gombau, be able to show how far the Spanish influence can take them when both teams face off this Friday night?
Player of the round – Damien Duff
Damien Duff, a former EPL seasoned professional, showed that despite being at the ripe old age of 35, that age would act as no deterrent during his time ‘Down Under’.
In a dominant display by the Irishman and by Melbourne City, Duff wound back the clock to out-pace and out-skill some of the younger more fancied Sydney FC players.
There were plenty of players during Round 1 that attracted the attention of A-League fans, but given Duff’s age, many would have been quick to judge what valuable contribution, other than experience, he could have offered.
With the likes of David Villa, Robert Koren, Erik Paartalu and David Wiiliams playing alongside him, this season could act as a new lease on life for Irishman.
Supporters of the round – Sydney FC
Ten seasons on and the Cove stood proud facing the rebranded Melbourne Heart.
Their voices could be heard loud and clear as the active bays were filled to the brim.
The Cove have had the usual troubles, but a new season saw them brimming with optimism and enthusiasm. They looked the best I’ve seen them for some time.
With the derby expected to be officially a sell-out, the Cove will want to ensure they make it known that SydneyIsSkyBlue.
Concern of the round – Fan attendance for Mariners and Wellington
Are you one to criticise or defend? The attendances the Mariners and Wellington achieved for Round 1 have left some questioning how committed both regions fans remain to the cause.
Many will point to the fact that both of these teams have a low populous, but it doesn’t take long to identify that both of these clubs have gone backwards in terms of support.
For the Mariners, their success off-field was at its highest in the 2007-08 season.
While Wellington revealed during their 2009-10 season that there are football fans in New Zealand – or at the very least there are ‘event goers’.
So in light of their attendances for the opening match of the season: Are you one to criticise or defend? Are you concerned as to the support each region is able to garner?
Burning questions ahead of Round 2
Will David Villa start against the Newcastle jets? And will City fans be able to finally out number those that occupy the Green Seat Elite?
Will marquees, Marc Janko (Sydney) and Robert Koren (City) make their Club debuts?
Glory fans my have low expectations, but is this finally the season to turn the tides?
Join me next week for ‘A-League: Round 2 Wrap’.