Six talking points from A-League Round 27

Karlo Tychsen Roar Guru

By Karlo Tychsen, Karlo Tychsen is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger


24 Have your say

    The regular season is over, and the top six locked in, while the wooden spoon is decided as well. All of which brings us to the Round 27 A-League talking points.

    What value a defender?
    Bobo has the highest scoring individual season by an A-League striker to date, beating the previous mark set by Bruno Fornaroli – all without playing finals.

    It’s an achievement that is unlikely to be bettered any time soon.

    Bobo’s record-breaking goal on Friday night in the Big Blue was the difference in that match. However, the statistics tell me that the true difference maker for Sydney FC was in defence – specifically Alex Wilkinson.

    Wilkinson made two, ultimately critical, goal-line clearances to thwart a desperate and out of-form Besart Berisha, and the in-form Leroy George.

    No Wilkinson, Melbourne score two goals, and there are the two goals that might give Victory, well, victory.

    The second clearance was inch-perfect.

    Yes, Sydney can attack, but Melbourne City attack, but could not win the championship.

    Sydney can not only attack, but they can keep out their opponents as well.

    Wilkinson’s efforts on Friday, in a match with no real material impact, showed Graham Arnold has created a team that wins no matter what.

    Wilkinson is the purer example than anything this team does in attack of why Arnold has created yet another team that has lifted the premier’s plate, and will likely lift the ‘toilet seat’ come full time, grand final day.

    Wellington have work to do, but not as much as some
    In the ruins of Wellington’s season is a team.

    Now, whether it’s a good team, a competitive team, even a bad team, none of us can really know.

    Nothing has gone right for the Nix of late, whether that be coaches leaving, players leaving, players out of form, or simply Nathan Burns’ cursed form in front of goal.

    But individually, each player has a lot to offer.

    Andrew Durante is a warrior, Roy Krishna is a star, Nathan Burns (if he stays) is quality, Sarpreet Singh is going to be big, there are players there to get that team right and build something around.

    It will be incumbent upon the owners to get the off-field staff right over the winter. They have a lot of time to do that, though whether in the long-run it is worth it, as the A-League looks to expand, only time will tell.

    But based on Saturday’s come-from-behind win over the third-placed Melbourne City, Wellington can have hope.

    The bigger question is whether there is enough hope upon which the Phoenix will rise once again.


    AAP Image/SNPA, Ross Setford

    It is time for Kenny Lowe to move on.
    Remember a few years ago when Perth Glory had 44 points, and were top of the league?

    Me neither, because that was the season Perth were found to be rorting the salary cap on a scale that made NRL administrators eyes water, and Perth were kicked out of the finals.

    The Glory really have not offered much by way of competition since.

    Sure, they have been competitive, but title contenders? Not really.

    In Kenny Lowe, Perth have had a loyal servant, a good coach, a great front man, and an ambassador for the club, but this season, that veneer of authority has instead made way for an angry man more known for training ground outbursts than the technical skill to lead.

    And this season, with a good squad, Perth have failed to make the finals.

    It says that Kenny’s time is up.

    It would likely be better for both parties, the club and Kenny, if it was done sooner rather than later, and let the club move on from that fateful salary cap saga.

    8 is enough
    Didn’t Mike Mulvey have a great night on Saturday?

    Does it get any better than sitting in the stands watching ten goals in a game? Count ‘em: ten! That’s entertainment, and I have no doubt had Mike Mulvey not just signed a lucrative contract to look after the side that had just conceded eight of the, he would have had a riot of a time.

    Forget what Newcastle produced, what Central Coast produced was an embarrassment, and those players – sending Joshua Rose out on the sourest possible note – should hang their heads in shame.

    Remember, the Jets, having scored in 24 consecutive games, had been kept scoreless in their last two. You can only imagine that Newcastle were saving them all up for the game against Central Coast, who duly obliged in the most generous of circumstances to allow their F3 rivals to score at will.


    Mulvey would have been thinking to himself one of two things: what have I signed up for, and if only I had waited another week to sign, they would have had to offer me more money.

    Central Coast Mariners, wooden spooners for season 2017-18.

    Good luck Mike. You are going to need it.

    Every season for every team, player, coach, and club is simply an accumulation of moments over an extended period of time.

    For the Wanderers? The moment that summed up their season?

    Well, it’s easy to target Keanu Bacchus’ sending off for lashing out with studs onto on Johan Absalonsen’s knee, and the VAR sent him packing.

    That moment, more than any, in a crunch match playing for finals the Wanderers had to win, is the easy moment to say that was when their season unraveled.

    But the moment Western Sydney’s season came apart was when Tony Popovic signed to coach in Turkey, and the club lost the only coach they had ever known on the eve of the season’s kick off.

    That Josep Gombau came in mid-season with a squad he didn’t pick, and still had the team competing for finals even when Bacchus lashed out, is a hell of an achievement.

    That they didn’t ultimately qualify has nothing to do with Bacchus’ foul, but everything to do with the unfortunate timing of the loss of their head coach.

    Josep will have a full off-season now to work on his squad, and the Wanderers next season will be back much stronger, to once again start accumulating moments that matter.

    So we move onto the finals, with Melbourne City hosting Brisbane, and Melbourne Victory hosting Adelaide.

    Intriguing match ups, both of them, and no real clear-cut favourites.

    City should have the advantage over Brisbane, however the Roar are amazing away from home, summed up with the way they beat Perth to just make it into the finals.

    Victory on the other hand, against Adelaide, are the favourites – but, again, the Reds have scored at will lately, having won three of their last four, losing only to the imperious Sydney FC.

    Victory have also lost their last start – to that team again, Sydney FC.

    The pressure of elimination of each finals match does funny things to players, so nothing should be taken for granted.

    But, at the very least, here’s hoping to packed stadiums, big viewerships, and an exciting series to put to bed one of the less-memorable domestic football seasons.

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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • April 16th 2018 @ 7:35am
      Buddy said | April 16th 2018 @ 7:35am | ! Report

      Friday night’s game showed in just a few valuable seconds just why Sydney FC are head and shoulders above the rest and we don’t need play offs to understand that. In a game that had nothing riding on it for the hosts and with the distinct possibility of finishing the match with injuries that may affect their acl challenge, Sydney fielded what appears to be just about their strongest side. The moment I refer to in the game was that magnificent clearance from his goal line by Alex Wilkinson when Leroy George and most of us watching on television thought his clever footwork was about to be rewarded with an equalizer.
      The save summed up the team’s attitude, workrate as well as their professionalism and desire/competitive nature. It is easy enough to say that any player would have tried to make the clearance. That may be so, but In watching four out of the five games in round 27 there was plenty of evidence to demonstrate that just because the team needed a particular performance and contribution, it was not always forthcoming. Perth hardly played like a team fighting for their season. CCM just rolled over and appeared to be looking for the exit way before 90 minutes was up; and WSW played in fits and starts and consequently fell short.
      Sydney FC and Alex Wilkinson did not fall short by any measure.

    • Roar Guru

      April 16th 2018 @ 8:56am
      Grobbelaar said | April 16th 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

      Tweet from good friend to the Roar, the Wookie:

      At the end of the 2017-18 Aleague home and away season, attendances finished down 13.39% on the previous season. Total attendance was 1,437,334 at an average of 10,647. R27 was attended by 49,274 persons, down 21.3% on the final round last season.

      • April 16th 2018 @ 9:08am
        Nemesis said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:08am | ! Report

        Those are terrific crowd figures, given the events that have transpired this season. Probably puts ALeaugue amongst the Top 10 1st division football leagues in Europe.

        Amazing for a crap, low quality competition with no global celebrities.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 9:29am
          fadida said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:29am | ! Report

          Agree nemesis. It was a season when pretty much everything that could go wrong did; VAR, biggest drawing clubs struggling, incredibly negative publicity, fan unrest and still the crowds were ones we could have only have dreamed of in the NSL days.

          Imagine how great the crowds will be in a good season?

          Ps, I would have thought Wookie would be too busy watching his code of choice to worry about ours?

        • Roar Guru

          April 16th 2018 @ 2:05pm
          Grobbelaar said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

          Not only that, of the 47 FAs in the AFC, the A-League is ranked 27th in terms of annual revenue.

      • Roar Pro

        April 16th 2018 @ 9:36pm
        Doran Smith said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:36pm | ! Report

        At least the football that was played in Round 27 was attacking and there were plenty of goals scored.

    • April 16th 2018 @ 9:05am
      Nemesis said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:05am | ! Report

      “at the very least, here’s hoping to packed stadiums, big viewerships, and an exciting series”

      Why set yourself up for disappointment? There is absolutely no reason to expect packed stadiums, nor high TV ratings for either of the Finals this weekend.

      Last season City pulled 10k to the finals, with Tim Cahill’s presence probably helping push the crowd up an extra 5-10%. This season there is no Cahill and there is less interest in the competition.

      Same with Melb Victory. Last season, a Prelimiary Final – more important than an Elimination Final – pulled 20k fans, which was about 10% higher than MVFC’s H&A crowd at the same venue.

      Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by having unrealistic expectations.

      Reasonable forecasts

      MCY: 8k
      MVF: 17k

      PayTV viewing – maybe 75k for both games.

      • April 16th 2018 @ 10:05pm
        realfootball said | April 16th 2018 @ 10:05pm | ! Report

        Good lord, you have some time on your hands. I was just surveying the threads, and you’re all over the place like Ebola epidemic.

    • Roar Pro

      April 16th 2018 @ 1:44pm
      Doran Smith said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

      Liberato Cacace looks like a good prospect, while Matthew Ridenton has been a shining light for the Phoenix. The Phoenix even managed to avoid the wooden spoon.

      • Roar Guru

        April 16th 2018 @ 2:00pm
        Grobbelaar said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

        The team which claimed the wooden spoon has claimed it twice in the last four seasons, and finished 8th the other two seasons.

        When P&R comes in, the Mariners will be the ones to put your money on to be the first club relegated.

        • April 16th 2018 @ 2:26pm
          Nemesis said | April 16th 2018 @ 2:26pm | ! Report

          Isn’t that the same miserable failure of the AFL team you support all your life? Imagine if AFL had relegation? Your team would’ve folded decades ago.

          • April 16th 2018 @ 11:13pm
            Mattyb said | April 16th 2018 @ 11:13pm | ! Report

            Nemesis,I really wish you wouldn’t talk so much about other sports on the football tab,is it really that neccasary?

            • Roar Guru

              April 17th 2018 @ 8:29am
              Grobbelaar said | April 17th 2018 @ 8:29am | ! Report

              One of the more annoying aspects of this board.

              Someone in authority should politely ask him to stop because it ruins it for everyone else who are here to talk about the football.

        • Roar Pro

          April 16th 2018 @ 9:34pm
          Doran Smith said | April 16th 2018 @ 9:34pm | ! Report

          Mariners actually have some good players: Mcging, Hoole, Pain, Powell and Golec when he returns from injury.

          • April 17th 2018 @ 7:54am
            fadida said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:54am | ! Report

            That is a list that screams “wooden spoon”. Hoole and Pain are totally inconsistent, McGing NPL quality, Powell a 4th or 5th choice striker. Golec a 4th choice defender not a starter

            • Roar Guru

              April 17th 2018 @ 6:50pm
              Griffo said | April 17th 2018 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

              Hoole was too inconsistent to stay at the Jets and he has delivered equally to the Mariners I think when he had an opportunity to do what Nabbout did the previous season.

          • Roar Guru

            April 17th 2018 @ 10:59am
            Kaks said | April 17th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

            Precisely why the got the spoon. I can name a host of players in the NSW NPL that deserve an A-league contract ahead of every single CCM player. Vranic, Jesic, Speranza (take your pick from the brothers), Mallia, Muata-Marlow, Panny Nikas. The reason CCM are doing so poorly is that they have recruited a lot of never have been’s and never going to be’s.

            • April 17th 2018 @ 11:13am
              Nemesis said | April 17th 2018 @ 11:13am | ! Report

              You’re basing that purely on technical ability in the NPL? The move to full-time professional athlete is not just technical ability. History is littered with technically gifted kids who can’t make the step up because they don’t have the drive & the discipline to fulfill what’s required of a professional.

              This CCM team took SydFC apart twice. I don’t recall any other team that managed to do this season – in fact, some teams got embarrassed by the same SydFC team that CCM easily matched on 3 occasions.

              Put Bobo & Adrian in this CCM team & they’d win the title.

              • Roar Guru

                April 17th 2018 @ 12:33pm
                Kaks said | April 17th 2018 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

                You have an issue with me basing my opinion after watching technically gifted footballers in the NPL, yet you base your claim on 2 performances out of 27. Bobo and Adrian wont stop CCM shipping 49 goals.

              • April 17th 2018 @ 12:47pm
                Nemesis said | April 17th 2018 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

                I’m basing my opinion on the fact that the majority of technically gifted amateur & semi-pro players all over the world don’t have what it takes to make it as a professional.

                As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing wrong with CCM that cannot be fixed with a couple of quality players. The fundamental structure & plan will succeed.

                Now, I wouldn’t say the same for: Perth, Brisbane, MVFC, City, NIX. I don’t see any structure, or plan, when I watch these teams playing. They all have players who provide quality moments, but no repeatable plan that I can see.

              • Roar Guru

                April 17th 2018 @ 1:01pm
                Kaks said | April 17th 2018 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

                “I’m basing my opinion on the fact that the majority of technically gifted amateur & semi-pro players all over the world don’t have what it takes to make it as a professional.”

                I agree with you, however I also see a lot of players at CCM – players like Hoole, Paine, Golec etc. who I believe are very lucky to be in the A-league based on their ability alone. You say that you see a structure in place, and all they need is quality players…that’s precisely my point, they dont have quality players and I see a lot of young players in the NPL who I believe would do much better.

              • April 17th 2018 @ 1:35pm
                fadida said | April 17th 2018 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

                They’d score more goals nemesis but still finish bottom 3. Unless you plan to play them in defence?

              • April 17th 2018 @ 2:18pm
                Nemesis said | April 17th 2018 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

                “They’d score more goals nemesis but still finish bottom 3. Unless you plan to play them in defence?”

                In ALeague, you can usually win the title if you score 1 more goal than the opponent for just over 50% of matches and score the same as the opponent another 30%.

                No extra points given for keeping a clean sheet.

    • Roar Pro

      April 16th 2018 @ 1:47pm
      Doran Smith said | April 16th 2018 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

      There are no certainties in the A-League this Season.