Whether your team won or lost, Round 27 was flat-out fun

Stuart Thomas Columnist

By Stuart Thomas, Stuart Thomas is a Roar Expert

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    Sometimes sport is comedic. Not in a nasty, vindictive sort of way; just fun.

    On the weekend, I sat with my youngest daughter and watched Indian Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra launch himself into his event. Each time he threw, he ended up in something of a handstand position, headband and all, on his way to the gold medal on the Gold Coast.

    He is an entertainer and his style unique.

    Whether it be ‘lay down’ Sally Robbins rowing at the Olympics, Steven Bradbury’s ‘last man standing’ effort or a Commonwealth Games closing ceremony, humour will always be a part of sport.

    Round 27 of the A-League was no different, despite creeping up on us slowly, after Friday night’s ‘Big Blue’ played out to script.

    The remainder of the weekend proved to be a tipping disaster and my personal selections could be heard drifting off into the vacuous distance, like a tumbleweed in the abandoned town of a western gunslinger.

    In the end, with orgasmic tension and excitement in two key matches, the A-League produced one of the most remarkable, unpredictable and sometimes comical rounds of the season.

    A weekend consisting of 24 goals is a good starting point.

    Wellington got things rolling with a come-from-behind victory against Melbourne City. The team having hardly fired a shot all season and the skills of youngster Sarpreet Singh, sent City home without a point. Are you kidding me?

    Just when many thought this City team was different, more consistent and in a position to play in a grand final (and they still may) the visitors fell to a Phoenix team that climbed off the bottom.

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

    It was brilliant viewing and put pressure on the Mariners, who would need a similarly out-of-character performance against Newcastle in Gosford if they were to avoid the spoon.

    The performance they put up was astonishing for all the wrong reasons. Defending like plastic cones and rebuilding the lost confidence of the Jets, the Mariners were abysmal and A-League record-keepers were called into action, as the goal tally mounted.

    A penny for Mike Mulvey’s thoughts as he looked on. He appreciates the epic mountain before him but did even he realise it was this bad?

    It was sad to see Josh Rose bow out in that way, however the most chaotic, comical and record-breaking F3 derby was difficult to watch without a smile on one’s face – excluding Central Coast fans of course.

    The shootout in the west later that night between Perth and Brisbane – two teams seeking the sixth spot on the table – would surely be a stern and grinding affair with caution prudent.

    It proved anything but, despite the opening goal from Perth. The early lead seemed to support the general consensus of a Glory triumph on home ground.

    A certain ‘slippery fish’ had other ideas and changed the face of the match to draw Brisbane level. Thomas Kristensen added another for the visitors and Henrique was at it again early in the second half to stretch the lead to two goals.

    It was a terrific game to commentate and predictable drama was to follow. Jamie Young saved a penalty from Diego Castro after his own foul on Andy Keogh and a late own-goal saw Perth pull one back.

    They were to fall short and it was hard not to smile, realising that John Aloisi had dragged his veterans from nowhere into the six and had one last shot at the finals.

    John Aloisi speaks to his players on the sideline

    After six rounds, Brisbane sat stone cold motherless. With imports stranded overseas, ACL numbers falling off kit and a cool manager refusing to admit to the disaster over which he was presiding, it looked like the proverbial train wreck.

    In the end, they didn’t get going until the final third of the season. When they did, the Roar looked impressive.

    Surely this would all come to nought, with the Wanderers assured of victory against Adelaide in the vast expanse of ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

    With Adelaide resting Isaias and nothing to gain from a positional perspective, it was all set up for Brisbane’s last season charge to be muted on the final day.

    The eerie quiet in the stadium without the Red and Black Bloc in attendance added to the bizarre goings-on in the final round. Who would ever have envisaged that one day the Wanderers would play in such a vital game without their loyal active supporter group behind them?

    We shook our heads and wondered how it got to this.

    The game lived up to the head-scratching nature of the round. The early penalty to Oriol Riera was scratched out by Baba Diawara’s equaliser, before Daniel Adlung stunned the muted crowd and put Adelaide in front.

    The Wanderers did draw level before the break, yet seemed to panic throughout much of the second half. They missed a penalty, had Keanu Baccus sent off for an ugly foul, and a late goal to Ryan Kitto sealed the deal for the visitors.

    By the end, I couldn’t help but picture John Aloisi with a XXXX celebrating and starting to plan his trip to Melbourne City next week.

    The best thing about such a crazy weekend was just how much fun it all was. It reminded me of how we all probably felt when we kicked our first sphere and were introduced to the Beautiful Game.

    Stuart Thomas
    Stuart Thomas

    Stuart Thomas is a sports writer and educator who made the jump from Roar Guru to Expert in 2017. An ex-trainee professional golfer, his sporting passions are broad with particular interests in football, AFL and rugby league. His love of sport is only matched by his passion for gardening and self-sustainability. Follow him on Twitter @stuartthomas72.

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    The Crowd Says (39)

    • April 17th 2018 @ 6:52am
      shirtpants said | April 17th 2018 @ 6:52am | ! Report

      What are the thoughts on Aloisi up in Brisbane? He said when he got the team on the park they’d be in contention and here we are.

      I’m a Sydney supporter but that aside, the last 5-10 rounds have been great for the league. Heading into the finals, Sydney don’t have this aura of invincibility around them, unfortunately the jets fell away but Victory or City could shake things up. A shame there hasn’t been a better showing in the ACL but we are at a massive financial disadvantage against some of those sides.

      Far too many doom and gloom articles. Bring on the finals!

      • Roar Rookie

        April 17th 2018 @ 7:18am
        Waz said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:18am | ! Report

        I don’t think you’ll get a single view on Aloisi up in Brisbane – there’s plenty actively against his leadership citing the predictable pattern of this season; the majority are probably neutral on him, hoping he’ll be successful but not happy with what they’ve seen of his side this season. I can’t recall anyone being an active promoter of him though?

        Assuming he’s staying they key is – has he learned his lessons from this debacle of a season? Will he surround himself with better people? Get his team fit for R1? Treat the FFA Cup seriously? Recruit players fans will get excited about?

        The next few months will tell. As for the finals, it’ll be what it will be – perform like we did v WSW and we’re toast, v Glory not so much but we’ll need to be better all round

      • April 17th 2018 @ 9:56am
        Lionheart said | April 17th 2018 @ 9:56am | ! Report

        Aloisi has destroyed the brand and identity Roar built up over a number of years. He’s taken us from one end of the spectrum to the other on player age, fair play and local content. Many of his imports like Kalfallah, Gameiro, Oxborrow haven’t fired and haven’t won over fans while some youngsters he released (we can only keep the very best) are doing quite well at other clubs. He’s had a lot of injuries especially to defenders (still) and credit to him that we defended well against Glory last week with the players he had – but he should have had more, he has failed to bring any young players through. Roar was the club for young players to come to and develop. Not any more.
        Having said that, I think it’s woken up management who realise this business requires much hard work and attention.

        • April 17th 2018 @ 7:30pm
          JJJ said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:30pm | ! Report

          I cannot discern a style of play that he is trying to inculcate. That’s what worries me most.

    • April 17th 2018 @ 6:53am
      Onside said | April 17th 2018 @ 6:53am | ! Report

      Another bit of fun Stuart, a team in Germany awarded a VAR
      penalty when both teams were in the dressing room at half time.

      http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/43791511

      ( sorry its off topic, but I had to post it somewhere )

      • April 17th 2018 @ 6:58am
        shirtpants said | April 17th 2018 @ 6:58am | ! Report

        That is utterly ridiculous!

      • Columnist

        April 17th 2018 @ 8:49am
        Stuart Thomas said | April 17th 2018 @ 8:49am | ! Report

        Brilliant yet horrific all at the same time.

      • April 17th 2018 @ 10:40am
        Mark said | April 17th 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report

        UEFA and the Premier League must be laughing. All credit to them for standing up to the pressure from FIFA to implement the farce that is VAR.

      • April 17th 2018 @ 12:43pm
        chris said | April 17th 2018 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

        you couldnt make this stuff up could you?
        What next? The team is leaving on the team bus and gets a recall ? lol

    • April 17th 2018 @ 7:05am
      Kangajets said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:05am | ! Report

      Stuart
      It’s been a fun season for us long suffering Newcastle fans .

      To see the jets score 25 rounds out of 27 . To see them score 8 goals on Saturday night .

      I can remember over the last 4 years, where I’ve been to 10 home games a season and probably only seen the jets score 8 goals all up , it’s been putrid for so long .
      So with that context , the joy of 2017/18 and the way they play , the running off the ball into space and the quick transition is fantastic to watch .
      I hope that McKenna, Merrick and the team stick around and build a powerful club.

      As for round 27 it was really what I thought the game of football was all about,
      the intent to attack and score goals ,
      being a bit proactive and direct ,
      taking risks
      rather then this negativity of passing sideways all gsme .

    • April 17th 2018 @ 7:25am
      Buddy said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:25am | ! Report

      Strange sense of fun! I doubt that viewpoint is shared by MC or CCM, especially Josh Rose! Come to think of it, Damien Keogh didn’t look as though he was enjoying a home game under lights. The person who I observed having most fun at the weekend was Lawrie Mckinna who chose the right game to stand with the squadron and celebrate a fine season that hopefully won’t be over at the next hurdle.
      Whilst the RBB may not have been gathered behind the northern goal on Sunday afternoon, it was not as quiet or as subdued as might have been expected. The WST certainly made plenty of noise and although they do not sing and chant for the full 90 minutes they do make their presence felt with a lot of “olay olay”
      Lasting memory of the weekend other than Wilkinson’s fantastic goalline clearance was not daring to look away on Saturday night for fear of missing another goal!

      • April 17th 2018 @ 7:34am
        Kangajets said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:34am | ! Report

        Lawrie coached the jets youth team to a win at 7 pm
        Posted the youth team win and support on Facebook for us , then drove to Gosford and jumps into the crowd to sing and have a beer .
        How more community engaged can you be .

        While I don’t expect David Gsllop to come to every game , where the heck is he ???
        Why didnt Gallop choose to get involved with the fans from the beginning???

        It’s the people like McKenna that should be running the show. Someone who actually likes football and football fans

        • Roar Guru

          April 17th 2018 @ 9:47am
          Kaks said | April 17th 2018 @ 9:47am | ! Report

          Oh how good would it be if we could get some passion and understanding in the FFA…

          Glad to see Newcastle doing well, the long suffering Novocastrian fans deserved it with the support you gave your team during the hard times over the last few years. Enjoy this season guy’s.

      • April 17th 2018 @ 9:00am
        Kangajets said | April 17th 2018 @ 9:00am | ! Report

        I’m not sure why my response didn’t go through

        But lawrie coached the youth team , then drove to Gosford to join the jets fans in the crowd
        That’s engaging with your supporters

        David Gsllop … watch and learn abt how much football fans can be .

        • April 17th 2018 @ 10:02am
          fadida said | April 17th 2018 @ 10:02am | ! Report

          Lawrie excelled himself at the Glory game last week; got drunk, took over the mike at half time, sang with Shannon Nolls (sic). Hilarious, and shows a real human side

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

          Come on KJ. I saw Gallop in Martin Place making speeches with a Socceroo scarf adorning his Armani suit.

          • April 17th 2018 @ 1:15pm
            kangajets said | April 17th 2018 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

            I humbly apologise

            Gallop …. hero to the common man 😂

      • April 17th 2018 @ 9:43am
        kangajets said | April 17th 2018 @ 9:43am | ! Report

        Buddy

        Something doesn’t seem right with Gombau and the team .
        I think the wsw should bite the bullet and let him go .

        Also , even though I like Kenny Lowe, because he looks a bit like peter garret dancing in midnight oil , I think Kenny should leave Perth .

        • Roar Guru

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

          Gombau is fine, it was always going to be hard trying to work with a team that was moulded by a Manager who plays a different game to you that leaves a week before the season starts.

          Give him another season with a team he wants and a pre-season in their legs and see what happens. We saw the team start to make some headway at the back end of the year, would be ridiculous not to give him a proper shot.

          • Roar Guru

            April 17th 2018 @ 6:33pm
            Griffo said | April 17th 2018 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

            If Adelaide’s experience is anything to go by, give Gombau a chance.

            Still I think he should have stayed with the U23 national team but all in the past.

          • April 18th 2018 @ 8:45am
            Paul said | April 18th 2018 @ 8:45am | ! Report

            #GombauOUT

            Gombau did not adapt to the style of play the squad was set up for.

            As far as I’m concerned Lederer should show him the door and say “Don’t let the door hit you on way out”.

            BTW The refereeing in Wanderers-Adelaide game was so one-sided with Kris Griffiths-Jones refusing to call Adelaide for blatant fouls and refusing to pull his yellow card and Absalonsen should have been red carded for the initial rugby tackle on Baccus Jnr.

            • April 18th 2018 @ 12:16pm
              Buddy said | April 18th 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

              He gave WSW 2 penalties……. unheard of for him!

              • April 18th 2018 @ 3:59pm
                Paul said | April 18th 2018 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

                And you could see for the VAR call he really didn’t want to.

    • April 17th 2018 @ 7:27am
      Kangajets said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:27am | ! Report

      Stuart

      Of the 24 goals I thought I’d check how many Aussie’s scored the goals
      Taggart
      Kitto
      Bugshar
      Pain
      Champness
      Jackson
      Petratos
      Magree x 3

      I thought Riley Magree was excellent all over the field , I wonder if club Brugge will extend his loan .

      Anyhow this gets to my point that Newcastle have been best served by their Australian players this season , something that isn’t highlighted enough in the media .

      Who would be the best Australian players at each club this season ???

      Thoughts people??

      Nabbout/ petratos/ Magree/ Champness / Ugarkovic/ boogard/ Hoffman
      Brilliante/ Zullo/ Wilkinson / brosque
      Young/ pepper
      Wales
      Theoharus/ Williams
      Brattan / Arzani
      Kitto / Blackwood sorry Adelaide fans
      Ikonomidis
      Taggart / Italiano

      Somebody, try to pick their Aussie A league team of the year ?
      No room for Matty de Simeone or David the ginger Pele Carney . 😁

      • April 17th 2018 @ 8:43am
        Michael Mills said | April 17th 2018 @ 8:43am | ! Report

        I’d go with this (in 4-2-3-1):

        Thomas
        Zullo
        Wilkinson
        Williams
        Wiltshire
        Brattan
        Brillante
        Nabbout
        Petratos
        Arzani
        Taggart

        Bench
        Izzo
        Topor-Stanley
        Ugarkovic
        Kitto
        Ikonomidis

        Very hard to make a choice between Brillante, Brattan and Ugarkovic

        • April 17th 2018 @ 9:26am
          Kangajets said | April 17th 2018 @ 9:26am | ! Report

          Good team

          Lots of goals amongst these ….Petratos Taggart Nabbout And arzani in the front 4.

          Thomas in goals is the only player I’d argue against

        • Roar Guru

          April 17th 2018 @ 10:16am
          Kaks said | April 17th 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report

          For all the issues the Wanderers had on the field, I would still pick Janjetovic over Thomas. Other than that, great squad.

          • April 17th 2018 @ 11:51am
            Michael Mills said | April 17th 2018 @ 11:51am | ! Report

            Janjetovic has been excellent. I guess I find it difficult to pick him as a Sydney fan!

            In real life I’m not sure how functional this front four would be. You’d potentially want Ikonomidis up front because he offers a bit more than Taggart when leading the line and would create space for the three advanced midfielders behind him. But certainly it’s a entertaining prospect as a hypothetical lineup.

    • April 17th 2018 @ 8:41am
      TK said | April 17th 2018 @ 8:41am | ! Report

      It was certainly entertaining – just what you want it to be. Did feel for CCM and such a turn around from the holding city to 1 nil the week before. Consistency has been an issue outside the top two all year and that will make the finals this weekend particularly interesting i think. Glad things livened up a bit for the final round.

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