What I liked and disliked about the 2017-18 A-League season

Evan Morgan Grahame Columnist

By Evan Morgan Grahame, Evan Morgan Grahame is a Roar Expert


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    At times like these, while we’re still washing out the bitter aftertaste of the grand final’s diVARster, it’s best to pair the palatable with the unpalatable.

    This season has been a meal of competing flavours, soothing sweetness driving in one way, sharp, acetic notes streaking through the other; at times the culinary dissonance produced delicious results – bacon and maple syrup – at others it was more like mustard and ice cream. 

    Still, it seems a good compromise to pair the best with the worst, the great with the gripe, and so…

    I liked: Sydney’s continuity
    As much as their dominance of the regular season staled things slightly, the mechanisms that allowed Sydney to dominate were a healthy change.

    So often following great seasons, A-League teams find their roster gutted, with key marquees roaming off back home, and young stars biting hard on lures, reeled away overseas for better or worse.

    Of course, Sydney being one of the league’s biggest, wealthiest clubs doesn’t hurt, but it was still encouraging to see all but two of their main stars from the 16-17 campaign – a record-setting season, remember – retained for this season.

    Filip Holosko was more than replaced by Adrian Mierzejewski, and Andrew Redmayne was probably – at worst – the third best goalkeeper in the league this season.

    Naturally, it was the fact Milos Ninkovic, Bobo, Alex Wilkinson – who has re-signed for another two years – Josh Brillante and Brandon O’Neill all returned that really cemented Sydney’s second straight Premiers Plate. Graham Arnold – another key element over these last two seasons – has now gone, and we’ll have to see if this thread of continuity survives the upcoming off-season. 

    Sydney head coach Graham Arnold raises his arms as he celebrates victory at the final whistle during the FFA Cup Final between Sydney FC and Adelaide United at Allianz Stadium in Sydney, Saturday, November 121, 2017.

    AAP Image/David Moir

    I disliked: The FFA’s marketing plan
    The FFA announced they’re looking to take on a new creative and media agency this month, and perhaps with their ears still ringing from the grand final fallout, they’ll look with a little more urgency.

    Simply put, the way they marketed the 2017-18 season was dreadful; the ‘You’ve got to have a team’ campaign is sitting grey and mouldy in the corner of the cupboard, and there has been precious little offered up to replace it.

    Things got worse for the governing body when Tim Cahill – their main marketing stud – up and left the league in a strop halfway through the season. The goodwill that had reached a frothing crescendo after the 2015 Asian Cup victory has evaporated entirely; the ongoing FFA Congress saga, the fairly bitter end to Ange Postecoglou’s reign, the various VAR hiccups throughout the season, all of these have nibbled away at the league’s momentum over the past year.

    A smart, eye-catching advertising campaign could have blown these critters away. The FFA recently said their marketing budget will be doubled for next season; two-times zero is still zero, one fears. 

    I liked: The Newcastle revival
    From floundering in the black pit of despair, to soaring into the gleaming light of glory. Well, although technically Newcastle finish this season empty-handed as far as silverware goes, the turnaround overseen by Ernie Merrick and Lawrie McKinna, fuelled by a collection of sharpened, organised players, has been remarkable.

    The enthusiasm the city generated for their team was a boost for every regional expansion hopeful, and it was reported more than 100,000 people – inside the stadium and in viewing venues around the city – gathered and watched the Jets in the grand final.

    As much as Merrick’s tactical approach was nullified in the decider, as well as spluttering at times during the season, it was hugely satisfying to see a squad constructed and arranged with such clear thinking and sound reasoning around a coherent tactical intention. They will feel the most aggrieved by how the season ended, but they shouldn’t let the final clanging note drown out what had been a wondrous symphony of redemption. 

    Steven Ugarkovic of the Jets

    AAP Image/Darren Pateman

    I disliked: Key injuries and departures
    It feels as though this season has been markedly more disrupted by key injuries and departures than most. Bruno Fornaroli’s pre-season ankle injury kicked us off, Ronny Vargas’ broken leg followed two months later, and the bad luck barely slowed down all season.

    Perth were shorn of Adam Taggart for weeks, and Adelaide missed their new, efficient marquee Johan Absalonsen. Rhyan Grant missed the entire season for Sydney FC, and Roy O’Donovan missed 13 games for Newcastle.

    All these players could have been key for their teams; their presence could have changed things dramatically. To cap things off, we lost Rhys Williams in the warm-up for the grand final, and only a miracle recovery allowed Nigel Boogaard to take the field in his team’s final two games. 

    As for the departures, well, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume, having been in second place for the Golden Boot when he left, that Ross McCormack might have helped City in their finals run-in. For that matter, Tim Cahill might have too.

    Obviously, Andrew Nabbout’s departure was a huge blow to the Jets’ potency in attack; perhaps he might have broken through the Melbourne Victory rampart in the final. Mark Milligan left the Victory mid-season too, although he was playing poorly before he shot off. 

    These things, to one extent or another, can’t really be helped, but if the football gods could shine a benevolent light down on us next season, well, ta muchly.

    I liked: The uber-goals
    The total goals scored this season wasn’t especially high (408); one goal more than last season, and far fewer than the plundering that occurred in 2015-16. But there was a higher concentration of blooters, of howitzers, of thunderbastards, of worldies, of goals-and-a-half this season.

    The highlight reel from this campaign alone runs like an all-time collection; from Nabbout’s scorching outside-of-the-boot curler against the Wanderers, to Ninkovic’s close-control clinic against Newcastle, every sinew of goal-scoring talent was flexed this season.

    There are few things more satisfying than a free-kick rocketing in off the crossbar, and Mierzejewski gave us one of those. James Troisi and Connor Pain treated us to that special kind of strike from distance, that flies like an arrow, unwavering in its trajectory, into the top corner.

    Besart Berisha gave us a high-stakes, contorting bicycle kick, and Dario Vidosic’s angled wallop had echoes of van Basten. Mark Milligan called upon the image of Matt Le Tissier with his dink-and-volley against Adelaide, and Riley McGree sent a shockwave around the planet with his Puskas-worthy scorpion volley on the run in the semi. It’s all there below, treat yourself.

    I disliked: The player merry-go-round spins on
    Everyone is well aware of the rusted-on A-League journeymen; Osama Malik, Liam Reddy, Mark Bridge, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, et al. They’ve bounced around the league, largely being serviceable players wherever they’ve landed.

    But there seem to be a raft of young players up and leaving too, jumping turbulently from club to club. 

    Last season, Ruon Tongyik player over 1000 minutes for Melbourne City; he played literally zero this season. He, along with Nick Fitzgerald and Bruce Kamau – two attackers who began the season in the rotation, and ended it firmly out of it – moved to the Wanderers.

    Trent Buhagiar was only in the starting XI just four times this season for the wallowing Mariners, and was released this week, reportedly heading to Sydney. Daniel De Silva, who was highly involved in the Mariners first team this season, is reportedly heading to City; a pairing of De Silva and Daniel Arzani could be very tasty next season. 

    Scanning down the list of youngsters to play this season, one wonders exactly what’s in store for, say, Christian Theohaurous; the forward finished the season strong, appearing in 11 of Victory’s final 16 fixtures, having appeared exclusively as a sub in 7 of their first 15. It was genuinely disappointing to find out he would miss the grand final through injury, such was his relevance.

    Logic would imply he’s on an upward trajectory, but then one can turn to Roar youngster Joe Caletti who played every one of Brisbane’s final ten games last season – as well as the most of the first half of this season – but has been out of the Roar squad since December last year.

    It seems that, for younger players in our league, their star can fall as easily as it has risen. Remember Lachie Scott?

    As much as pastures appear greener from a distance, it can’t be good for development to bounce in and out of the first team – or, indeed, in and out of clubs – season on season. Naturally, this process is the result of the need to win in the short term, to the detriment of youth development in the long term; as such it’s very hard to shift.

    Surely if players with potential – like Tongyik or Da Silva – are to be moved around so, then transfer fees between clubs must be allowed at some point. 

    Well, that’s surely enough for now. The VAR argument I’ll leave to those below the line. See you at the World Cup!

    Evan Morgan Grahame
    Evan Morgan Grahame

    Evan Morgan Grahame is a Melbourne-based journalist. Gleaning what he could from his brief career as a painter, the canvas of the football pitch is now his subject of contemplation, with the beautiful game sketching new, intriguing compositions every week. He has been one of The Roar's Expert columnists since 2016. Follow him on Twitter @Evan_M_G.

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    The Crowd Says (129)

    • Roar Rookie

      May 10th 2018 @ 7:15am
      Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 7:15am | ! Report

      “but then one can turn to Roar youngster Joe Caletti who played every one of Brisbane’s final ten games last season – as well as the most of the first half of this season – but has been out of the Roar squad since December last year“ …… yeah, a BROKEN FOOT will do that!

      • May 10th 2018 @ 10:15am
        Lionheart said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:15am | ! Report

        another well researched article, like if it didn’t happen in Melbourne or somewhere around Sydney, well it just didn’t happen.

    • Roar Guru

      May 10th 2018 @ 7:20am
      Grobbelaar said | May 10th 2018 @ 7:20am | ! Report

      I don’t like the player merry-go-round either, but this has existed from the very start.

      It’s crazy that in a league only 13 seasons long, with only 10 clubs, that there are so many players who have played for half of them.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 10th 2018 @ 7:57am
        Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 7:57am | ! Report

        And yet it’s common place in football in the rest of the world as well. The average stay for most players in the EPL is 2-2.4 seasons with few clubs averaging above 3. Most players recycle.

        “Recycling” occurs in a football economy, it’s just more noticeable in Australia because there are only 10 professional clubs and about 180 professional footballers and a further 100-ish offshore.

        Its basically a “first world problem”, a non-issue, but people like you will use it to try and degrade the code and insecure followers of the code will lap it up and, like a hypochondriac, turn nothing in to something.

        Football in this country is not unique, player recycling occurs all over the football world and only the whinging-Aussie’s go on and on about it.

        And please, before anyone replies do your research on other leagues in the world … and while you’re at it, look up the definition of “first world problems” 😉

        • Roar Guru

          May 10th 2018 @ 8:08am
          Grobbelaar said | May 10th 2018 @ 8:08am | ! Report

          It’s not a code issue, it’s an A-League issue.

          I doubt you get the same propensity elsewhere of players having played for half the clubs in a league, and managing to do so within an 8 year period.

          As one example amongst many, the Jets’ keeper in the grand final has played for no fewer than six A-League clubs.

          • Roar Rookie

            May 10th 2018 @ 8:16am
            Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 8:16am | ! Report

            Do your research. The A League is no better and no worse than other leagues.

            What you “doubt” can be tested if you bother to do some research.

            Unlike the AFL, which only has one professional league in the world, you can compare football with over 200 leagues in the world.

            • Roar Guru

              May 10th 2018 @ 8:53am
              Grobbelaar said | May 10th 2018 @ 8:53am | ! Report

              You reckon you’ll find someone having played for half the Serie A clubs?

              Are you serious?

              • Roar Rookie

                May 10th 2018 @ 9:14am
                Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

                Bruno Martella plays for Serie A club Crotone. He’s 25 changed club five times.

                I’m not even trying. You are though lol.

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 9:23am
                AdelaideDocker said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:23am | ! Report

                There’s a bloke named Luca Toni who’s played for some 17 different clubs in three countries, including 14 different Italian clubs.

                No I’d never heard of him before today, but I ‘spose it helps proves the point that footballers change clubs. A lot.


              • Roar Rookie

                May 10th 2018 @ 9:28am
                Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:28am | ! Report

                Must be really good if so many clubs want him 😂

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 9:32am
                AdelaideDocker said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:32am | ! Report


                Haha, have a look at the list of clubs!! That’s insanity.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 10th 2018 @ 9:42am
                Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:42am | ! Report

                ha ha. His agent must be RICH 😂

              • May 10th 2018 @ 9:49am
                Redondo said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:49am | ! Report

                AD – Luca Toni was a top footballer. He was the forward Pirlo kept drilling passes to against Aus in the 2006 World Cup.

                Ironically there was talk of him coming to the A-League at one stage.

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 10:01am
                AdelaideDocker said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:01am | ! Report


                Interesting! Guess I learn something new everyday! That many clubs is a massive effort.

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 11:29am
                Grobbelaar said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:29am | ! Report

                All examples you throw up underscore the issue Evan has raised: the merry-go-round WITHIN the A-League.

                Players playing with half the clubs of the one league (or more in a few cases).

                None of you have come up with an example of any player anywhere else in the world where he has played for half the clubs of the one league (I’m sure there’s a tin-pot league out there where you’ll find an example, but that’s kinda the point, isn’t it?)

              • Roar Rookie

                May 10th 2018 @ 12:01pm
                Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

                You’ve again been found out for what you are 😂

                The case is now proven: player movement in the A League is no better/worse than in other leagues including EPL and Seia A.

                Them’s the facts for you.

                We can see you for what you are. But at least you’ve helped dispel this particular myth 👍

              • May 10th 2018 @ 1:44pm
                fadida said | May 10th 2018 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

                It’s a ten team league, of course this’ll happen, particularly when 18 players per squad must be Australian.When it’s a 14 team league it’ll be less. When it’s 18 it’ll be even less so.

                I’m sure if we dropped foreign quotas, this minimising recycling, you’d then be on here claiming that Australian players like Reddy weren’t being given a chance to make a living in their own country. You’ll always deliberately look for a negative.

                I’d rather have some recycling mixed with the excitement of unknown international players each season than a sport played in one country trading and swapping players each year, a known player pool with no international transfers.

        • May 10th 2018 @ 8:10am
          chris said | May 10th 2018 @ 8:10am | ! Report

          Waz you’d think with the fish bowl that is AFL and to a lesser extent the NRL that player recycling is even more pronounced.

          • Roar Rookie

            May 10th 2018 @ 8:22am
            Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 8:22am | ! Report


            I was wondering about that myself; this topic came up last month and I went looking for players movements in other leagues and the HAL is basically “normal” (I couldn’t be bothered checking other codes).

            A real comparison would occur with a country with one professional league and a small number of clubs.

            Then I got thinking about the question “what is the problem with player recycling?” … the problem seems to be people complaining about it! And so we apparently need to stop player recycling to stop people complaining about it lol.

            It’s nonsensical, there is no problem with player recycling – it occurs everywhere in the world – other than Aussie’s have found something to complain about.

            • May 10th 2018 @ 8:49am
              chris said | May 10th 2018 @ 8:49am | ! Report

              Yes well I wouldnt worry too much about Mr AFL/Grob going on about it as I read your response to his probably negative take on anything football.
              He must be taking time out from his busy cutting and pasting exercise for his opus on the world cup history.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 10th 2018 @ 9:02am
                Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:02am | ! Report

                I know, I know 😞

                The stats do not back up the argument, what people are asking for in the HAL is contrary to what happens in the world of football:

                Redmond, Southampton, 250+ appearances for three different clubs and he’s only 24.

                Roberts, Swansea, 50 appearances with 4 different clubs in the last 4 years. He’s only 22.

                Kenny McLean at Aberdeen, 250 appearances in the last 9 years including Scotland caps. Changed clubs 5 times. He’s only 26.

                The list goes on and on …

                Mr. AFL, who is basically a 5th Columnist, relies on people not knowing much about world football to be ducked in to a problem that doesn’t exist.

                It’s a shame some football supporters, especially writers, are getting sucked in too.

            • Roar Guru

              May 10th 2018 @ 9:13am
              Grobbelaar said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:13am | ! Report

              Player recycling is certainly a philsophical question, but there is little doubt amongst those who really understand world football, that in the A-League it’s at the very extreme end of what happens.

              In any event, Evan is the one who raised it (with good reason IMHO).

              He mentions NTS (has played with four of 10 clubs).

              He mentions Liam Reddy (has played with seven of 10 clubs).

              Is it a problem? Well, the bulk of any championship winning team will have over half of its players at other clubs within two years. Given, there are only 10 teams in the A-League, to see this constant merry-go-round within the same league does look a little bit B-grade.

              Let’s look at it another way, at some of the more celebrated players in the world:

              Lionel Messi – 14 years at the one La Liga club.
              Cristiano Ronaldo – 9 years at the one La Liga club.
              Andres Iniesta – 16 years at the one La Liga club.
              Gerard Pique – 10 years at the one La Liga club
              Sergio Busquets – 10 years at the one La Liga club
              Gianluigi Buffon – 17 years at the one Serie A club
              Giorgio Chiellini – 13 years at the one Serie A club
              Claudio Marchisio – 13 years at the one Serie A club

              then we go to the A-League
              Leigh Broxham – 11 years at the one A-League club
              and that’s where it ends.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 10th 2018 @ 9:20am
                Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:20am | ! Report

                “there is little doubt amongst those who really understand world football, that in the A-League it’s at the very extreme end of what happens“ … that is incorrect. A lie in fact.

                The world-wide stats do not back up the recycling myth. I’ve given you evidence to back up my argument, you’ve offered none of relevance.

                Player recycling is a function of modern day football, it commenced due to freedom of contract and the global trend in labour movement, it affects multiple (probably all) leagues in the world and is not unique to the HAL.

                Here’s the average contract lengths in the EPL, the worst club average is 1.8 years:


              • May 10th 2018 @ 10:35am
                Post_hoc said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

                Alex Brosque 2 A league teams

                1 Year at roar and
                8 years at Sydney FC?

                Santalab 2 A league clubs

                Archie Thompson 1 A league Club

                Sotirio Age 22 1 Club
                Scott age 21 1 A league Club
                Aspropotamitis Age 21 1 A league Club
                Vedran Age 30 2 Clubs

                etc etc so once again Mr AFL doesn’t have a clue, what a surprise

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 11:25am
                Grobbelaar said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:25am | ! Report


                so even with your very best examples they have been at two A-League clubs.

                As I said, only in the A-League do you find loads of players who have played for half the clubs in the comp.

                Evan raises it as an issue, and rightly so.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 10th 2018 @ 12:04pm
                Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

                yeah but nah.

                Racism in AFL is an issue though.

                How many clubs had the Sun’s player been at before he decided to take legal action against the AFL??


              • May 10th 2018 @ 2:48pm
                Post_hoc said | May 10th 2018 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

                Mr AFL, not my very best examples at all, I picked a couple of people from my memory bank.

                And I noticed you completely ignored the several i gave you from Wanderers who have only had 1 club….but you ignoring stuff that doesn’t support your AFL centric viewpoint is not really news is it

            • May 10th 2018 @ 9:37am
              Redondo said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:37am | ! Report

              Waz – player recycling is common in AFL. See: http://www.afl.com.au/news/2017-12-02/which-club-has-the-most-recycled-players

              Also note that Sydney Swans had around 12 recycled players in the early 2000s.

              What Grobbelaar fails to explain is how or why recycling is a problem.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 9:56am
                fadida said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:56am | ! Report

                It’s not a problem. It makes sense in the A-league where there is a cap, so picking up low salary squad players makes economic sense.

                Grubelaar is just looking to create negativity, which is his MO.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 10th 2018 @ 9:58am
                Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:58am | ! Report

                “What Grobbelaar fails to explain is how or why recycling is a problem“ … pretty much this. No one has explained the problem.

                Football is a brutal employment the world over.

                Aron Mooy is only 27 and he’s had 6 clubs, now he’s starring on one of the worlds biggest stages:


                Locally, Jacob Pepper has a reputation as a journeyman in the making but this year at Roar he’s proven his worth filling in excellently at CB but that only happened because of an injury crisis in our defence, without that piece of “luck” Pepper would probably be on his way – instead his re-signing was greeted enthusiasticly by most supporters.

                Recycling worked for Mooy and Pepper. It’s a cause of development and it has its place. And it happens in EVERY league, the HAL is no better/worse.

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 9:58am
                AdelaideDocker said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:58am | ! Report

                Yup. Very common in footy.

                I’m struggling to see why it’s an issue though, in either sport.

                If I’m a teacher and cease working at school A, I’m naturally going to try and get a job at school B. If I’m a footballer/aussie rules player and cease playing at team A, I’m obviously going to try and get a gig at team B.

                I would’ve thought it was a natural progression in a footballer’s (hell, a sportsman’s) career? And development, of course, as I noticed Waz just mentioned.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 10:03am
                Redondo said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:03am | ! Report

                True Fadida and very effective at times too. A change of coach or club can make a huge difference to a player e.g. Petratos, Nabbout.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 10:21am
                Lionheart said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:21am | ! Report

                It’s only a problem when your team releases the good ones and picks up duds as replacements

              • Roar Rookie

                May 10th 2018 @ 10:28am
                Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:28am | ! Report

                time to let it go Lionheart, let it go 🤪

              • May 10th 2018 @ 11:02am
                Lionheart said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:02am | ! Report

                Yeah I know Waz.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 11:21am
                fadida said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:21am | ! Report

                Hey, we gave you Pepper, you have us Champness. Can’t get fairer than that!

              • May 10th 2018 @ 11:30am
                Kangajets said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

                You got abt 6 years out of Taree lad .. Jade north

                For Dimi. Petratos this year

                Fair swap

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 11:38am
                Grobbelaar said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:38am | ! Report

                Adelaide Docker

                Are you telling me that there are AFL players who have played for half the teams in the comp?

                I doubt you’d even find an example of one single player who has played for one third of the teams in the comp.

                In the A-League, we can cite Liam Reddy who has played for 7 A-League clubs, that’s 70% of the comp!

                Anyone who thinks this is normal needs to think again.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 11:55am
                Lionheart said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:55am | ! Report

                Pepper, ok a developing defender but we’re listing him as a midfielder again, groan. Oxborrow is another Newie product I think. Very generous boys. Jadeo was wearing nappies when he left Taree, and he grew up in Sunnybank then to the QAS. Same area as Luke Brattan, James Donachie and a few others. JT Thurston, rugby league, is another Sunnybank lad.

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 12:00pm
                AdelaideDocker said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

                Grob, you’re the one who came up with the ridiculous and very arbitrary “half the clubs” statistic. No player in AFL has played for half the clubs, that’s just illogical.

                I suspect you’ve come up with that statistic to take the argument out of context, and probably to obfuscate the argument.

                What you’re doing is upping the argument to some improbable echelon, and trouncing around so proud nobody is unable to counter your illogical argument.

                But my wider point still stands, player movement in both the a-League and AFL is a natural part of both games. It isn’t something to get worried about. It’s part of the game.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 10th 2018 @ 12:05pm
                Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

                Well said.

                Someone needs to take their meds I think.

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 1:11pm
                Grobbelaar said | May 10th 2018 @ 1:11pm | ! Report


                Evan refers to the player merry go round in the A-League.

                What do you think he means by that? I’ve given two ways of looking at it:

                1. a large number of players who have turned out for half of all the A-League clubs (or more than half).

                2. one championship winning team which lost nine of its eleven players less than 18 months after winning the championship.

                So, now that we have established that there does appear to be a bit of a merry-go-round in the A-League, to your direct question: is that a problem?

                Well, like Evan, some of us don’t like it, but looking at it more broadly, can it have an effect on the popularity of the A-League? If within the space of 18 months, there’s hardly any player turning out for you team that delivered a championship, can that affect the loyalty a fan might feel for a club? Some might say no, others might say maybe.

                I’m not sure, but I would not be as dismissive as many are being on here.

                Even the great Man Utd sides under Ferguson had five or six players who played a decade or more with the club.

                But in the A-League, you struggle to find one player which has stayed with the one club for ten years, let alone multiple players (I could think of Leigh Broxham currently).

                Maybe that’s the case in the AFL as well, I don’lt know, only you amongst us can answer that question.

            • May 10th 2018 @ 1:38pm
              j binnie said | May 10th 2018 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

              Waz – There is a potential problem in that, for the club that intentionally or unintentionally starts to raise it’s own players up to A-league standard, will see it’s efforts “robbed” by the system as it now stands.
              If a player cares to wait out his contract he can move, no matter how long he has been under the influence of another club and this is not conducive with encouraging clubs to put the necessary effort into improving the skills of their players.
              It is much easier for clubs who deem they need squad improvement to wait until certain players (cast offs from other clubs?) become available and signing a player with “experience” rather than improve the young player in their reserve team.
              Would the lifting of the transfer ban cure this potential problem .There is little doubt it would go a long way.Cheers jb.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 3:16pm
                Chopper said | May 10th 2018 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

                I agree with you jb transfer fees will lessen the likelihood of a player winding down his contract because if he is any good he will be signed for 3, 4 or 5 years. Even the up and coming starlets will have it written into their first professional contracts but it goes further than that the fees should also be payable proportionately to the junior clubs and semi professional clubs that were instrumental in bringing these starlets through at a younger age. Of course this will not suit the professional clubs who have their own accadamies but it will be the fairest system and allow much needed funds to filter down to the grass roots.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 10th 2018 @ 4:35pm
                Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 4:35pm | ! Report


                Yes, agree with that.

                The cause of the the high rotation in the HAL is partly the salary cap (largely?) although other leagues without a cap suffer high rotations as well.

                It’s a good topic of debate, but the starting point is not “recycling” because all leagues do it.

    • May 10th 2018 @ 9:59am
      chris said | May 10th 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

      If people find it infuriating in the A-League imagine how distraught they must be in the AFL. So few clubs to choose from. What is it? 16 clubs worldwide? That’s not a lot of clubs when you consider the AFL’s view that their grass roots player base is massive. Where do these players go? Where do they go when they fall out with their current club?
      Many of our footballers head overseas as shown here:

      In NRL they can head to England or to a lesser extent France.
      Maybe thats an article in itself “Where can all the AFL players go?”

      Now that is a player/club merry-go-round that leaves all other sports in Australia choking on its dust.

      • Roar Guru

        May 10th 2018 @ 10:07am
        AdelaideDocker said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        I don’t think it’s too difficult to imagine that most footy players, when they’re starting their careers at 17 or 18, accept that winning a premiership or two in the AFL will inevitably be the summit of their careers in the sport.

        If a player falls out with their club, or gets delisted, or opts for trade, they’ll either head to one of the seventeen others, or they’ll lose their place in the top league and they’ll play in one of the many lower leagues. They might get picked up again later, they might not.

        No doubt that AFL is a tough industry, but sometimes in sport tough calls happen and a player, for whatever reason, mightn’t make the most of the opportunity. That’s just life, I guess.

        Sorry if I’m sounding cynical, that’s just the plain ol’ answer to your question.

        • May 10th 2018 @ 10:14am
          chris said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:14am | ! Report

          AD does the player merry-go-round that would be even worse in the AFL than it is in the A-League upset you?

          • May 10th 2018 @ 10:16am
            Redondo said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report

            It will upset Grobbelaar that he ever brought up player recycling

            • May 10th 2018 @ 10:27am
              chris said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:27am | ! Report

              Redondo whatever negative Mr Grubbelar brings up in A-League and football will be swamped 10 fold against his beloved ALF.

            • May 10th 2018 @ 11:26am
              fadida said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:26am | ! Report

              Grubelaar has thankfully gone off radar in the last hour or two. Realises he has been well and truly debunked.

              Probably furiously beating his sherrin while watching reruns of the AFLX World Cup now it’s taken over the world 🙂

              • May 10th 2018 @ 11:41am
                chris said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:41am | ! Report

                Fad i think it now makes sense to me why the hugely successful foray into China and the outstanding success that is the AFLX came about in the first place. They need more places for ALF players to go. At the moment merry-go-round or not, there are only 16 professional clubs that they can hit up and, even the most tolerant of merry-go-round riders, would get tired of that.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 12:35pm
                Redondo said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

                ‘Beating the sherrin’ – new ways to describe old pastimes. I’m sure Israel would not approve.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 1:56pm
                Fadida said | May 10th 2018 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

                I’m sure Israel can find a passage in his fictitious book that claims recycled players will burn in the fires of Mordorrrr

              • Roar Guru

                May 11th 2018 @ 10:19pm
                Griffo said | May 11th 2018 @ 10:19pm | ! Report

                🤣 classic Fadida.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 2:05pm
                Redondo said | May 10th 2018 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

                Hebrew 9:27 ‘it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment’

                No second chances.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 2:41pm
                fadida said | May 10th 2018 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

                Liam Reddy must be a cat then. 2 lives to go!

            • Roar Guru

              May 10th 2018 @ 11:41am
              Grobbelaar said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:41am | ! Report

              This comment has been removed for breaching The Roar’s comments policy.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 12:01pm
                Redondo said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

                Still no point, other than an indirect insult of the A-League.

                If you want an example of a tin-pot league – in global terms – look to the AFL. It’s as relevant in a sporting sense as the Gloucestershire Morris Dancing championships.

                While it provides great entertainment and sport for a section of Australia, AFL has barely moved from its birthplace and has little prospect of going further.

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 12:02pm
                AdelaideDocker said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

                Does it matter?

                Okay, say you’re right, and the a-League is an outlier in terms of player movement. Congratulations, you’ve discovered that Australian football players might play at one or two more clubs than their overseas counterparts. Still not sure why this is such a big deal, could you care to enlighten me?

              • May 10th 2018 @ 12:35pm
                chris said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

                Mr AFL not having one of his better days. Back to cut and pasting.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 1:54pm
                Fadida said | May 10th 2018 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

                Yellow card for Grubalaar! Ha ha!

          • Roar Guru

            May 10th 2018 @ 10:18am
            AdelaideDocker said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:18am | ! Report

            No, why? Whilst I’d obviously prefer some of my favourites to stay on my team, I’m not daft enough to desire every player on my team to stay there for the next 10 years. Last year, my squad lost of number of young players that I really liked. That’s footy. Players leave and players come into a club.

            As long as they’re putting in effort to give my club some success, why should I be the one to rant about how players should stop moving clubs? I’d imagine it would be the same in soccer, yes?

            • May 10th 2018 @ 10:23am
              chris said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:23am | ! Report

              Spot on AD. I follow a leagues club here in Sydney as well as SFC, and my club has already lost a player to one of our fiercest rivals for next season. It happens everywhere.

            • Roar Guru

              May 10th 2018 @ 1:17pm
              Grobbelaar said | May 10th 2018 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

              precisely, you’d prefer some of your favourites to stay on, perhaps more than two seasons.

              But as Evan points out, there’s a merry go round in the A-League where over the space of a few seasons, complete lists are turned over.

              Rather than arguing about whether there really is a merry go round, the discussion should be about what that means for the A-League.

      • May 10th 2018 @ 10:10am
        Redondo said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:10am | ! Report

        They go to AFHell

    • May 10th 2018 @ 10:21am
      chris said | May 10th 2018 @ 10:21am | ! Report

      I thought the standard in this years A-League has been the best overall since its inception. Some of the goals scored were some of the best we’ve seen and aside from that, the interplay was a huge step up from the long ball, physical nature that is often the label given to Aus football.
      This is not surprising as the A-League’s global exposure grows and grows and quality players are attracted from overseas. Coupled with better grass roots coaching it stands to reason that better players will filter through and this will continue to evolve.
      We are very much like the MLS where if you look at their standard of play compared to where it was even say, 3 years ago, you will see a marked improvement.
      Looking forward to next season and no doubt the standard will again rise.

      • May 10th 2018 @ 11:24am
        fadida said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

        Agree. And like the MLS we shouldn’t aim to be like other sports in our unique sporting landscapes, or out do them.

        • May 10th 2018 @ 11:50am
          chris said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:50am | ! Report

          No theres no need to copy anyone else here as we have a unique landscape that is not shared by any other code in this country. i think MLS realised this and they are now reaping the rewards.
          I spent time in the US and they encounter the same hostile media as we do here. In fact its even worse.
          Ex football and basketball players dominating the msm sporting scene.
          They’ve now skirted around them and as the main stream media slowly sinks into the west, they get on with what they have to get on with.

        • May 12th 2018 @ 12:20am
          lesterlike said | May 12th 2018 @ 12:20am | ! Report

          How is that like the MLS? They’ve pretty much copied the entire US sports system purely to appeal to other sports fans instead of football fans.

      • May 10th 2018 @ 11:46am
        Redondo said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

        Yep – can’t wait for next season. All we need for a cracker season is for other clubs to rise to Sydney and Newcastle’s standard (regular season!).

        Chris – Corica as Sydney coach…what do you think?

        • May 10th 2018 @ 12:30pm
          chris said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

          Redondo I think good in the main. Sydney have stated they want to continue the model that GA has put in place so I guess Corica is the best man for that?
          I strongly believe that good coaches are born and not made. Its that ability to tweak things when required and make the correct subs when a game requires it and player management etc.
          Having not coached before at this level it will be interesting to see how he goes.

          • May 10th 2018 @ 12:46pm
            Redondo said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

            I worry about a Crook repeat. Corica will be leading for the first time, not following Arnie’s lead, and he’s got a whole bunch of very experienced players to keep onside while he gets used to it.

            • May 10th 2018 @ 12:50pm
              chris said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

              Geez I forgot all about Crook!

              • May 10th 2018 @ 12:52pm
                Redondo said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

                A repressed memory no doubt

              • May 10th 2018 @ 1:14pm
                chris said | May 10th 2018 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

                Plus the fact he only lasted 5? games

              • May 10th 2018 @ 2:54pm
                Post_hoc said | May 10th 2018 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

                Cook is great at Wanderers, the stuff he is doing with the Academy is brilliant, he just needed to find his niche

            • May 10th 2018 @ 2:00pm
              Fadida said | May 10th 2018 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

              Corica will be a disaster I’m anticipating. Another Rado Vidosic, fine as an assistant but lacking the personality to lead.

              Unfortunately he’ll also do nothing for the”bling” factor either. I won’t expect improved crowds with him leading

              • May 10th 2018 @ 2:03pm
                Redondo said | May 10th 2018 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

                I fear you’re right on both points

    • Roar Guru

      May 10th 2018 @ 11:59am
      Grobbelaar said | May 10th 2018 @ 11:59am | ! Report

      Evan wrote: I disliked: The player merry-go-round spins on

      I agree with him on this point.

      As mentioned above a few times, it’s unlikely there is any other comp in the world where so many players have turned out for half the clubs (in the case of Liam Reddy, he has kept for 7 clubs, or 70% of all A-League clubs).

      That’s one measure, and here’s one other.

      A few posters wanted me to look at the AFL. I don’t have the familiarity with the AFL that Adelaide Docker does, but I”m aware that following its drought breaking premiership in 2016, the Bulldogs lost one of its premierhsip team to the Dockers, Hamling. That’s one player of 22.

      Now let’s have a look at Adelaide United, winning the double and its first championship in 2015-16.

      Within two years, nine of it’s starting XI was gone. That’s nine out of eleven….gone.

      And here they are:

      Eugene Galekovic – gone
      Dylan McGown – gone
      Iacopo La Rocca – gone
      Craig Goodwin – gone
      Marcelo Carrusca – gone
      Stefan Mauk – gone
      Bruce Kamau – gone
      Bruce Djite – gone
      Sergio Cirio – gone

      Now there might be good reasons for all those moves, more lucrative contracts, etc – but is it a problem for the A-League when a championship club can turnover nearly all of its starting XI in the space of two seasons?

      It seems a reasonable enough question to ask.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 10th 2018 @ 12:10pm
        Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

        I’ve just started to report your comments. Your just tr*!ling the forum now, let the mods start monitoring your activity and sort it out.

        • Roar Rookie

          May 10th 2018 @ 12:16pm
          Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

          delete delete 😂

      • May 10th 2018 @ 12:50pm
        Redondo said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

        Why don’t you have a crack at answering your own question. Better yet, make your comment into an article and go and chat with yourself about it for a few days.

        • Roar Guru

          May 10th 2018 @ 12:59pm
          Grobbelaar said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:59pm | ! Report


          I stress again, I didn’t raise the issue, Evan mentioned it in his article, and I quote:

          “I disliked: The player merry-go-round spins on
          Everyone is well aware of the rusted-on A-League journeymen; Osama Malik, Liam Reddy, Mark Bridge, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, et al. They’ve bounced around the league, largely being serviceable players wherever they’ve landed.

          But there seem to be a raft of young players up and leaving too, jumping turbulently from club to club. ”

          There appears to be only one poster presently discussing the actual article, while the rest appear to be more content on indulging in ad hominems.

          As I’ve said before, the issue Evan raises in this regard is one worth discussing, whether you agree or not (it’s a discussion board, remember?)

          • May 10th 2018 @ 1:15pm
            Redondo said | May 10th 2018 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

            Do three things:

            1. Explain why player recycling is a problem.

            2. Explain why you think it’s specifically a problem for the A-League, when it is clearly not unique to the A-League.

            3. Make one constructive suggestion about how to improve the A-League. Start with a simple one and then slowly build up to harder, more useful suggestions.

            Other posters might then start to warm to you and forgive your relentless impression of a depressed, sarcastic robot.

            • Roar Guru

              May 10th 2018 @ 1:22pm
              Grobbelaar said | May 10th 2018 @ 1:22pm | ! Report


              I repeat, Evan raised the issue of a merry go round.

              Some of you tried to argue that there’s not such thing in the A-League.

              I’ve tried to explain the existence of the merry go round from two perspectives:
              1. players turning out for more than half the clubs in the A-League (or more); and
              2. AU losing nine of its starting XI within 18 months of winning the championship in 2016.

              I’m discussing the article, I’m discussing one of the issues raised by Evan – I”m not here to make recommendations about anything else.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 1:56pm
                Redondo said | May 10th 2018 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

                You’re making more stuff up – not one poster has denied that recycling happens.

                That you don’t like it is your problem.

                Also you are not ‘explaining’ anything. All you are doing with your points 1 and 2 is saying ‘look at this’, which is the most primitive form of scientific enquiry.

                In your case, with your history, you are clearly making these observations with negative and malicious intent.

                If you are not being paid to be here, I cannot imagine what your motivation is.

                I can’t fault your dedication to the task though – as I said, relentless.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 2:04pm
                Fadida said | May 10th 2018 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

                Yep, he’s lying again. We aren’t denying players are recycled, we are saying we a) see the value in it b) don’t see a problem with it.

                5 of those Adelaide players moved overseas. Hardly recycling. How many AFL players moved overseas?

              • May 10th 2018 @ 2:11pm
                Redondo said | May 10th 2018 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

                A few have gone punting in the NFL – does that count?

              • Roar Rookie

                May 10th 2018 @ 2:37pm
                Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

                What happens in the A League is normal in world football, nothing better/nothing worse.

                That’s what this debate has proven – we’ve enough data points to show that the HAL is just like all the rest. Plenty of recycling.

                And it appears other codes have it too.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 2:58pm
                fadida said | May 10th 2018 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

                It won’t stop Grubelaar though. He’ll be back claiming “there’s player recycling in the A-league, stop denying it!!!”.

                Even though we aren’t denying it!

              • Roar Guru

                May 10th 2018 @ 4:23pm
                Grobbelaar said | May 10th 2018 @ 4:23pm | ! Report


                no, you haven’t proven anything.

                As I said, there are loads of players in the A-League who have played for 50% of the clubs, in some cases, even more.

                Liam Reddy has played for 70% of all A-League clubs.

                No one has come up with that same statistic for any competition anywhere in the world.

                Therefore, in this regard, the A-League is definitely unique, and this is precisely what Evan is talking about when he says “merry-go-round”, i.e. players of moderate ability circulating amongst the A-League clubs, you know, like a merry-go-round.

              • May 10th 2018 @ 4:28pm
                Fadida said | May 10th 2018 @ 4:28pm | ! Report

                Again Grubelaar, explain how this is a problem

              • Roar Rookie

                May 10th 2018 @ 4:41pm
                Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 4:41pm | ! Report


                You have let yourself down today. This has not been a good day for you.

                You are now trying to reconfigure the argument (you’re introducing % to try and tweak it) but go look at the SPL – you will see 50-70% there in some players.

                Players in the EPL are rotating clubs s every 2-3 years, in a 15 year career that’s 5-7 clubs.

                Same as some HAL players. Same.

                Job done 👍

    • Roar Rookie

      May 10th 2018 @ 12:10pm
      Waz said | May 10th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report