Top five A-League talking points: Round 5

Cameron Kellett Roar Guru

By Cameron Kellett, Cameron Kellett is a Roar Guru

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    Without fail, each round serves up a platter of talking points. Whether it be the action of field or action off it, we’re given plenty to ponder and reflect on.

    Round 5 didn’t disappoint and we’ll get straight into the action with the top five A-League talking points of Round 5.

    Click here to read Cam’s previous A-League talking points.

    1. Aloisi’s tactical nous
    It was only three rounds ago that criticism was justifiably being directed in the way of Brisbane Roar players and more so, their coach John Aloisi.

    After their abysmal performance against Newcastle Jets, I asked the question regarding Aloisi’s tactical nous and whether or not he was equipped with the ability to adapt to what appeared an attacking preferred system by teams.

    For in their match against the Jets, Aloisi appeared clueless, with hands in pockets and had no answers to the Jets style of play.

    Fast forward three weeks and it appears either Aloisi had a revelation or he remembered that sometimes all it takes is a little tinkering in order to still get the result.

    On Friday night at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Roar were facing Melbourne City, and with one of the most formidable attacking teams in the competition with the likes of Bruno Fornaroli, Nicolas Colazo, Fernando Branden and Tim Cahill, Brisbane were always going to be in for a tough night at the office.

    What played out though was a defensive masterclass, one which with a little tinkering in tactics, nullified all of City’s attacking options.

    Despite their dominance in possession and field territory, City could not muster one shot on target.

    There were some on social media that were quick to label Brisbane Roar’s tactics bordering on ‘parking the bus’, but when assessing chances created, shots on goal and a large view by fans believing the scoreline flattered City, it is no wonder why fans and experts alike were lauding the marvellous performance by Brisbane Roar and thus placing themselves firmly in title conversations.

    With plenty of action still to take place, Brisbane are far from assured any titles, but if there was one thing in particular to take away from the match, it would be that I believe John Aloisi is maturing into a fine coach – something I never thought possible after his Melbourne Heart days.

    John Aloisi speaks to his players on the sideline

    2. It wasn’t pretty, but Sydney made it a perfect five from five
    Another week, another win. The question is now, when will it end for Sydney FC?

    After their first half performance against Melbourne Victory, plenty thought that history would continue to repeat and they’d taste their first defeat of the season at the hands of none other than Melbourne Victory.

    A major focus in the lead up to the match, was that Sydney FC had not defeated Melbourne Victory since their 5-0 win on Australia Day back in 2014. Another key statistic was one that Graham Arnold had never defeated Kevin Muscat as a coach.

    What it took, was a missed handball in the box – mind you, we all missed it until replays showed otherwise – and from that point on a change in momentum, that substitute David Carney would take full advantage of and ensure Sydney remained undefeated.

    It appeared throughout certain times in the match that Melbourne Victory’s partnerships were starting to come together nicely against quality opposition, as chance after chance was being created.

    The trio of Mitch Austin, Marco Rojas and Besart Berisha were causing havoc with Sydney’s defence, but unfortunately what was missing was their execution.

    Both Berisha and Rojas would be left to rue their missed opportunities which should have had Victory up three goals to none at half time.

    Sydney FC on the other hand made full use of their chances and despite walking away with the three points, they were probably not the better team on the night.

    It’s results like these though that can be perceived as most important to going on to win a title. When you can manage to win at your worst, it’s comforting knowing that when you play your best, you’re near impossible to beat.

    3. Connor inflicts more pain on Adelaide
    Speaking of history, it is definitely repeating itself once again with Adelaide United. Winless after five rounds and coming dead last, Adelaide are the furthest thing from on track to defending both the premiership and championship.

    To make matters worse, they lost to a team pretty much most had stamped as wooden spoon favourites in the Central Coast Mariners.

    For the Mariners though it was a long time coming. After going 281 days without a win, it was finally brought to an end when Connor Pain scored a beauty to beat Adelaide keeper Eugene Galekovic.

    Seeing Connor Pain sprawled on the pitch being mauled by his teammates was a great sight to see for it’s been very troubling times for the Central Coast Mariners.

    Their performance against Adelaide continues a huge turnaround under Paul Okon, who after being selected just weeks out from the season, has done wonders with a team he didn’t even assemble.

    For Adelaide United though, the task of replicating last seasons efforts are only made more difficult when their is the added rigours of Asian Champions League football.

    Historically teams do not tend to fair well in both competitions and usually if success is sought, one of the two competitions has to take a back seat while the club gives Champions League football their all or another tilt at A-League finals.

    4. What value are the Wellington Phoenix?
    It appears the #savethenix campaign is well and truly over as the sporting public of Wellington and New Zealand are showing interest in the club is not a priority.

    Given the uproar caused by the FFA last season in questioning Wellington Phoenix’s value to the competition, one would think that if the sporting public really wanted the team, they would do more than a half hearted attempt at following the crowd and forming part of the next social media movement.

    In the past, I’ve questioned their existence plenty a times on this very forum and in writing too. I’ve done so more through engagement and asking what can be done to ensure their longevity, rather than the approach of just boot them.

    With that said, it should come as no surprise I’m raising the issue once again, but unless the Welnix owners are looking at making big moves to better the clubs chances at longevity, then why waste the time?

    From a TV viewing audience standpoint (and this is most vital), Wellington offer next to no real value and can instead be seen as a hinderance to the growth in TV viewing audiences in Australia.

    With a season low 41,000 tuning in on Saturday, many are also beginning to once again ask the same questions again – What value does Wellington Phoenix bring to the Australian game?

    Some may argue they bring us players, the likes of Marco Rojas, Kosta Barbarouses and former player Shane Smeltz.

    My counter argument to that is Thomas Broich, Besart Berisha, Bruno Fornaroli, Diego Castro, all players who still came despite no teams from their homeland countries playing in the A-League.

    The biggest concern and issue that the game faces today is ensuring its own longevity in ensuring a substantial increase is achieved in TV rights. But even were this to occur, what part would Phoenix have played in this role other than being potentially used as a pawn to comply with the already set five matches a round.

    With expansion talks almost a daily occurrence and expressions of interest being sent in by teams from Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth, South Melbourne, Wollongong and Tasmania, the list goes on and the value in these teams is envisioned and they are already seen as potentially more valuable than the Phoenix already, and they’re not even in the competition yet.

    I do not wish to upset Phoenix fans, although it seems that way. What I’m more concerned with addressing is that currently their owners aren’t doing enough to show us what value they can bring to the league.

    It might take a change in venue of sorts and that’s a serious thought as I understand there are issues that surround this. Perhaps a legitimate marquee who will attract huge interest to the club? I don’t have the answers, but the facts are the Australian viewing audiences are out engaging and for Wellington Phoenix fans, rather than play the pity card, perhaps asking the tough questions yourselves should be the way to go as your future is not yet guaranteed.

    roy-krishna-wellington-phoenix-football-a-league-2016

    5. Are Perth’s glory days returning?
    To end on a higher note, Perth Glory appears to be doing everything right in order to return to their pre-A-League glory days.

    With local products being given the opportunity to shine in their home state, a style of play no longer associated with boring and a key focus on winning, things are going in the right direction once again.

    Now Glory, like many other clubs, aren’t without their imperfections. For it wasn’t too long ago the club was caught up in a salary cap scandal and found out to have been cheating.

    One can only imagine the damaging effects this sort of thing has on a club, but if your a supporter of a club who has lived through it, I can only commend you on your love and commitment to the club who did you wrong.

    For Glory to have turned things around so well in recent times is a testament to Tony Sage’s commitment to the club and superb operations by CEO Peter Filopoulos.

    With aims to achieve 10,000 memberships, average 12,500 through the gates and win a title in the coming years, the club is well and truly on its way to restoring the faith shown by supporters to stay on board during their more recent dark times.

    What was most impressive on the weekend about Perth Glory was not their performance, despite playing well, but it was the attendance.

    With 13,290 in attendance, it managed to achieve better than both the cricket international Test match and the ever so popular NBL Perth Wildcats.

    What’s just as impressive is that it carries on with the good attendances the club achieved towards the end of last season. So faith has been renewed in the Glory that what they’re doing is right and has potential to lead to greater things.

    That’s a wrap for weeks top five A-League talking points for Round 5. Join me once again next week as I look forward to bringing you the top five talking points for Round 6.

    Have Your Say



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    The Crowd Says (135)

    • November 8th 2016 @ 9:19am
      Midfielder said | November 8th 2016 @ 9:19am | ! Report

      Good read all your points are valid… the Nux question is one hopefully that can be resolved sooner rather than latter…. me thinks teh Nux board played a smart game last time in finding reasons to stall until a point in time was reached when it was near impossible to replace them…

      Memberships, crowds, TV ratings etc are woeful, the media coverage they get in NZ is small…. by my count there are at least 7 bids or people willing to take their place…

      A east coast team would mean a reduction in costs for other teams…

      • Roar Guru

        November 8th 2016 @ 11:53am
        Cameron Kellett said | November 8th 2016 @ 11:53am | ! Report

        Me thinks you raise some good points, Midfielder.

    • Roar Guru

      November 8th 2016 @ 9:27am
      Kaks said | November 8th 2016 @ 9:27am | ! Report

      Loving this series Cameron, keep it up mate!

      My two cents to your five points…

      1. Aloisi had the perfect plan for City on the day, but the jury is still out on him. I still dont think he is that great of a manager, but I would be happy to see an Aussie icon prove me wrong. Still, I think he is of the JVS mould i.e. has no clue when they need to chase a game. He does not react well when his Plan A isn’t working.

      2. As much as it pains me to say it, the smurfs are showing the grit that you need to be a winning team. But it is a long season so it will be interesting to see how the rest of their campaign plays out.

      3. Very excited with CCM. I must admit I thought Okon did not deserve the role at CCM, but my god is it good to see the team play with a bit of guts and not get walloped every game. Hopefully they can build from this. As for Adelaide, geese I dont understand what’s happening there. I know they lost a lot of quality over the break but they added great player’s to the squad as well and are playing great football. They just loose their concentration at crucial stages and Galekovic hasn’t been able to dig them out of any holes this season due to the superb finishes he has had against him. Not counting them out just yet, they proved last season that they are a force in the league, but they need to start getting results now.

      4. They have no value. They never did and they never will. The only reason NZ was given a license for a team in the first place was due to the fact that we needed to fill a spot in the inaugural season, and the New Zealand Knights flunked in a more populous city like Auckland. Yet here we are still trying to make a NZ team viable in a smaller city like Wellington. The league has surpassed them now, and they are only there so that we can ‘help out’ our little neighbours, however at what cost? I dont get excited when I see a fixture list and see the Nix up against anyone, and I try to avoid any of their home games on Fox just so I dont need to listen to the terrible NZ commentary. They make no money for the league, they are a commercial disaster, they dont get results on the pitch and they dont get fans going to the game. It comes at a huge cost for teams to play in NZ, and it costs the Nix a bomb to play against any other team. They tick no boxes without me even mentioning the fact that we are in the AFC and NZ isn’t. I just dont get it.

      5. I backed Glory from the start of the season and I believe they are still the team to beat, even if everyone has a love affair with MCFC. They have a strong team everywhere on the pitch. They have strong leaders and they have a great manager who, with his sense of humour, would create a great atmosphere around the ground for his players. I’m really hoping that they go all the way this year, a strong league all around the country – not just the east coast – would be tremendous.

      • November 8th 2016 @ 9:57am
        jupiter53 said | November 8th 2016 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        SFC v Glory this Sunday will be big. I still have fond memories of the [irrelevant] 4-0 from the end of last season.
        I presume Glory will still be without Rostyn Griffiths, and I expect his absence to make a significant difference, but they are still formidable without him.

        I do not think City can be favourites. They are too defensively fragile, and the attack is not good enough to make up for that. I think JVS is an example of a manager who does not seem to learn from his mistakes [in contrast to Aloisi].

        • Roar Guru

          November 9th 2016 @ 1:31pm
          Bob Brown said | November 9th 2016 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

          JVS is the reason Melb CIty won’t win anything.
          The Sheik must be going out with his daughter, no other way to explain it.

          He has limited tactics and opposing teams have him worked out by about Round 3. How else do you explain Fornaroli and Cahill no shots on target against the Roar?

      • November 8th 2016 @ 10:17am
        punter said | November 8th 2016 @ 10:17am | ! Report

        Pt 2 Kaks. In the A-league with such small squads, things can change very quickly, as you mentioned Adelaide, on top of losing those players, they also have some quality on the sidelines.

        However, quite enjoying my Monday morning Caramel Lattes these days.

        • Roar Guru

          November 8th 2016 @ 10:20am
          Cameron Kellett said | November 8th 2016 @ 10:20am | ! Report

          Punter, obviously there is still round six to get through, but I thoroughly look forward to the round seven clash between Roar and Sydney. Hopefully come that Monday, your Caramel Latte tastes like a salted Caramel Latte. πŸ˜‰

          • November 8th 2016 @ 10:32am
            punter said | November 8th 2016 @ 10:32am | ! Report

            Cam, we’ve had a lot of salted Caramel Latte over the last few years, allow me to enjoy some more for the next few weeks, how good to continue our winnings over Perth, BR, MC & Adelaide.

          • Roar Guru

            November 9th 2016 @ 1:37pm
            Bob Brown said | November 9th 2016 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

            Have faith Punter.
            Broskey will be wearing another Golden Toilet Seat around his neck by season end.

            Even the referees are favouring us.

            Sip, sip latte, read, read SMH, sip sip latte, salt those pork bellies and curly fries . . . Sydney, gotta love it.

        • November 8th 2016 @ 11:00am
          Nemesis said | November 8th 2016 @ 11:00am | ! Report

          People go on about small squads in A-League. But why do you need squads bigger than 23 players for a sport where 11 take the field? In the 1970s, 1980s the biggest teams in Europe only had squads of 23. I’d like to have FIFA implement a rule that has a maximum of 23 player squads for every team at any level.

          One of the greatest clubs teams in England in the past 50 years was the Liverpool team that won the European Cup and English Title in 1976/77. That squad was only 23. And, they were flying around Europe in the days when international travel was not as luxurious and movement around Europe for UK passport holders wasn’t as easy as it is today.

          Liverpool Squad: 1976-77
          GK: Clemence, McDonnell
          DF: Hughes, Jones, Kettle, Lawler, Lindsay, Neal, Smith, Thompson
          MF: Callaghan, Case, Heighway, Lee, Kennedy, McDermott, Cormack
          AT: Fairclough, Keegan, Kewley, Toshack, Waddle, Johnson

          • Roar Guru

            November 8th 2016 @ 11:08am
            Kaks said | November 8th 2016 @ 11:08am | ! Report

            Why are we comparing sports in the 70’s to now, when we have made leaps and bounds in sporting health and know that the physical toll on professional players is huge?

            • November 8th 2016 @ 12:02pm
              Nemesis said | November 8th 2016 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

              Is there scientific data that says 23 man squads can’t cope with a season of football? If it’s a level playing field (all teams with 23 players) then there can be no issue. Part of being an elite athlete is managing your body to win. If I get a chance over the week end I will run a review of the Premier League clubs last season and find out how many minutes each of their bloated squads played last season.

              Thank you for giving me a good topic for my next article.

              • Roar Guru

                November 8th 2016 @ 12:17pm
                Kaks said | November 8th 2016 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

                Google is a tool, it’s not just there for aesthetic reasons!

          • November 8th 2016 @ 11:28am
            Waz said | November 8th 2016 @ 11:28am | ! Report

            11 positions, 2 players for each position = 22.

            Damn it, you’re right man !!! 23 is wasteful; quick break out the torches, pitchforks and 1970’s flares ….. we need to act on this blatant over indulgence!!!

      • Roar Guru

        November 8th 2016 @ 12:12pm
        Cameron Kellett said | November 8th 2016 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

        Cheers for the kind words, Kaks.

        My two cents to your five points on my five points… πŸ˜‰

        1. I believe Aloisi is maturing as a coach, but into a great manager is still to be seen. A glimpse here and there with a tinker of tactics is nice but consistency is key. I would agree he is of a similar mould to JVS as well. JVS at times has no answer to what’s going on and if plan A isn’t working, he still sticks with. Time will tell, but much like you I hope Aloisi continues to develop into not just a fine manager but a great one. It would mean more success for my beloved Brisbane Roar.

        2. Got nothing to add. Time will tell.

        3. For the Mariners, performances like these would be renewing hope the club is in the right track. Finals appearances might be still some way off, but the opportunities they’re once again giving to new players and young talented ones is comforting and given their track record in the past, if they can continue like this, they may once again produce top quality internationals.

        4. I, much like you, do not get excited either at the prospect of facing the Phoenix. They’re luckier in the fact they’ll I’ll still tune in on Fox to watch their home games but even still, their match against the Jets was up there for one of the worst matches I’ve seen this season.

        5. I’m really hoping that they go all the way this year, a strong league all around the country – not just the east coast – would be tremendous.

        If Brisbane Roar aren’t going to win then I’d be happy for Perth Glory to go all the way. It would result in all major cities having won A-League silverware and I think that’s important for a salary capped league. I love how success isn’t just relegated to two or three teams. I like the major European competitions, but I don’t get too excited for I find the rich clubs flourishing all the time to be rather off putting.

        • Roar Guru

          November 8th 2016 @ 12:16pm
          Kaks said | November 8th 2016 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

          My two cents to your two cents about my two cents on your five points πŸ˜‰

          Agreed with every point!

          • Roar Guru

            November 8th 2016 @ 12:25pm
            Cameron Kellett said | November 8th 2016 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

            Haha. I’ll think I’ll leave it there, I don’t want to go confusing myself.

        • November 8th 2016 @ 4:08pm
          j binnie said | November 8th 2016 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

          Cameron – Enjoying the points you are making but point one was surely made with your tongue squarely in your cheek when you drew a comparison between a Roar performnce of just 3 weeks ago with their performance of last weekend and then suggested it was an enlightenment in the coach’s thinking that worked the magic.
          That sort of transformation my friend would have to be accomplished by a divine intervention ,(like the parable of the 5 loaves and 2 fishes) and I don’t thiink JA has reached that level of operation just yet.
          He has changed the system of play of course but I know of one blogger on this site who agrees with me when I say it’s taken him a while to make a such a move, almost a full season now.
          Let’s settle back and see what can be done to improve the Roar’s finishing for there is still huge improvement needed in that department. Cheers jb.

          • Roar Guru

            November 8th 2016 @ 4:57pm
            Cameron Kellett said | November 8th 2016 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

            J binnie, the tongue was planted firmly in cheek when making that comment. I would have to agree with the assessments you’ve made regarding Brisbane Roar and John Aloisi.

    • Roar Guru

      November 8th 2016 @ 9:35am
      Epiquin said | November 8th 2016 @ 9:35am | ! Report

      On point 3: start loading the confetti cannons with blue and yellow streamers now. Here come the mighty Mariners!!!

      On point 4: The A-League doesn’t need Phoenix. The NRL needs NZ, as Rugby League is a relative minnow sport on the global scale and it’s important to keep interest in the sport alive across the ditch. The AFL even potentially needs NZ because they are close to reaching saturation point in it’s current market.

      Football, on the other hand, is ubiquitous and does not rely on NZ’s small-ish market. I believ more value would be added from an additional Australian side to take their place.

      • Roar Guru

        November 8th 2016 @ 9:56am
        Kaks said | November 8th 2016 @ 9:56am | ! Report

        Very good point about NZ epi.

      • Roar Guru

        November 8th 2016 @ 2:07pm
        Cameron Kellett said | November 8th 2016 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

        Agree with point 4, Epiquin. Not so much point 3, but you never know.

      • November 8th 2016 @ 5:43pm
        cambrai said | November 8th 2016 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

        I watched the game last Saturday; it was poor viewing, not only a fairly average game but the vision of all these thousands of empty yellow seats is off putting. Wellington has been given enough time to turn things round but their officials must know that it is a lost cause. The public is simply not interested. It is also unfair for other teams to be denied an opportunity, i am pretty sure a team based n Wollongong would do better. The way out might be for Wellington to hand their licence inFFA.

        I think Sydney is also failing as far as crowds are concerned, they have remained stagnant for 10 years; in fact on per capita basis, they have the smallest attendances of all Australia based teams.

        The hope of the side is Newcastle; if the team was winning and playing good football, it would really benefit the comp.

        • Roar Guru

          November 9th 2016 @ 1:40pm
          Bob Brown said | November 9th 2016 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

          Under the ANZUS Treaty Australia has to support everything NZ does, or they’ll send more dole bludgers to Bondi and St Kilda.

    • November 8th 2016 @ 9:37am
      pete4 said | November 8th 2016 @ 9:37am | ! Report

      1. Brisbane was the standout result of the round;

      2. “The hand of Dave” goal will be interesting to see how it plays out in the final series when VAR arrives;

      3. Connor Pain that’s a contender for goal of the season;

      4. The Phoenix need some wins but doesn’t get easier when they play the Mariners in Canberra this week minus five internationals away on NZ duty. Does that figure include Sky Sports figures?

      5. The Glory are finally due for a Championship.

      • Roar Guru

        November 8th 2016 @ 2:09pm
        Cameron Kellett said | November 8th 2016 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

        Pete4, contender maybe, but not sure if Connor Pain’s goal would stand a chance against Timmy Cahill’s epic.

        So answer your question regarding the tv viewing audience, the short answer is no.

    • November 8th 2016 @ 9:48am
      jupiter53 said | November 8th 2016 @ 9:48am | ! Report

      Your comment is that Aloisi is maturing into a fine coach, and that you had never thought that possible after his Heart days.

      Some years ago I bought a fascinating book by Gianluca Vialli and Gabriel Marcotti [Italian Job]. Vialli discussed his experiences playing and coaching in Italy and England, and compares and contrasts. One of the contrasts is the attitude to managerial failure. The broad extremes are that in England it takes a long time to get fired, but then it’s very hard to get another job. In Italy you get fired very quickly, but that is not held against you, and failure does not stop you from getting hired again.

      As an example [Spanish rather than Italian, mind you] he points out that when Rafa Benitez started coaching he was fired from 3 jobs in 4 years, and each time he had left the club in the relegation zone. He was only successful in his next job with Tenerife, and from there he went to Valencia, from where his story is well known.

      Valli makes the point that a good manager learns from his mistakes [the same as the rest of us do if we are intelligent, and honest with ourselves]. I was really impressed with Brisbane’s tactics against City., and I think Aloisi has learnt from his Heart experience.

      In the same way, there were people calling for Arnie to be fired after SFC’s failure last season, and indeed in Italy he would have been fired. SFC management have got it right giving him another chance, and he has recruited well this year. Indeed, in my opinion, this is the most evenly strong squad Sydney have had in my time supporting them.

      I agree that Victory should have won on Saturday night, but Sydney were very impressive in the way they took advantage of Victory’s off night in front of goals. For example, Grant had a shocker against Austin first half, but had the mental strength to play very strongly in both attack and defence in the second half.

      It is already a fascinating season with every team looking capable of improvement.

      • Roar Guru

        November 8th 2016 @ 2:12pm
        Cameron Kellett said | November 8th 2016 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

        Enjoyed reading your comment, jupiter53. I agree with much of what you say and also agree that Sydney FC made the right decision sticking by Graham Arnold. All too often we find coaches getting the boot to quickly in football. As much as we hate our teams having poor seasons, I don’t think the knee-jerk reaction of firing the coach is always the best way to go.

    • November 8th 2016 @ 10:29am
      punter said | November 8th 2016 @ 10:29am | ! Report

      Again great read Cameron,
      Pt 5, very impressed with what Perth is doing both on & off the field, very strong all round team. would love to see 1 more creative midfielder to take pressure of Castro. CEO Peter Filopoulos is outstanding, says all the right things, a football man thru & thru.

      Pt 4, Never wanted Nix to be kicked out as we have already lost too many teams, but they really need to start giving something.

      Pt 3 Okon didn’t really do that well as national junior coach, has impressed me, but jury still out.

      Pt 2 We are Sydney, the famous Sydney FC. Top of the league.

      Pt 1. Brisbane was outstanding on Friday night, they played to nullify City, but still had the Ange football about them. Well done JA.

      • Roar Guru

        November 8th 2016 @ 2:16pm
        Cameron Kellett said | November 8th 2016 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

        Thanks for the kind words and contribution, punter. I always value your opinion and insight into all matters football.

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