Newcastle’s 5-1 FFA Cup win over local rivals Edgeworth was a reminder that when football does things right, few other codes can match it for storylines.
Hold onto your hats everyone, an epic week of A-League football is on our doorstep with nine matches to be played over seven days.
Only Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory avoid the dreaded quick back-up this week; the one that proves even more challenging in the Australian summer heat.
It is a feast of football and who knows what shape the ladder will take come Sunday night. Good luck with your selections and be sure to enter them in the sheet below to have an all-important say as the voice of the crowd.
Draw, Wellington, Newcastle, Perth, Brisbane, Wellington, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth
It is hard to see either of these two fairly ordinary sides land a winner, although City arguably look the likelier of the two in this clash with the Wanderers.
Only one winner here, and it’s the in-form Wellington Phoenix. They should crush the Sky Blues in front of their home fans.
With O’Donovan, Vargas and now Champness all back, the Newcastle Jets will have too much class for the Central Coast Mariners in the F3 Derby.
Adelaide and Perth is a tough one to predict, but the Reds just can’t seem to string a consistent run of results together, meaning Perth Glory deserve to go in as favourites.
Brisbane Roar’s losing streak has to end sometime, and it’s liable to happen against Western Sydney in a Friday night clash most fans will forget is on.
Wellington Phoenix will make it two home wins in a row when they host a striker-less Melbourne City on Saturday afternoon at Westpac Stadium and in one of the games of the season, Sydney FC should get the better of Victory at AAMI Park.
As much as the Mariners look an improved unit of late, they should find Adelaide United too hot to handle in front of a parochial Coopers Stadium crowd on Sunday and with Perth Glory looking likely to win the league, they should go another step closer with a win over the unpredictable Newcastle Jets.
City, Wellington, Newcastle, Perth, Western Sydney, Wellington, Victory, Adelaide, Newcastle
Despite improving signs, Melbourne City should open the week of action with a win at home tonight. Without one, there is a chance City could slip from fourth to sixth on the table; something that Warren Joyce will be hell-bent on avoiding.
Wellington are the form team of the competition right now and will add another match to that run of success against Sydney FC at the cake tin on Tuesday.
There are no longer any questions; Wellington have a real shot at winning the A-League title and that is only a good thing for the domestic game.
If Newcastle can find the net against the Mariners, or anyone for that matter, they could turn around what has been a rather dismal season to this point.
The top six is now looking some distance away and anything other than three points in this game will make finals play unlikely. Ernie Merrick will find a way to win this one.
Recently, Perth have been far from the machine that looked like steamrolling the entire competition. The loss of Chris Ikonomidis has no doubt played a role in that recent inconsistency.
However, there is too much quality in Tony Popovic’s team for the trend to continue and Adelaide will experience a Perth unit at somewhere near their best on Wednesday night.
Brisbane and Western Sydney do battle in a game not destined to go down in history. It is, however, a great chance for both sides to pick up some face-saving points. Brisbane are at home but it will be Wanderers saving some face.
Wellington will win their second match in four days when they topple City at Westpac Stadium. Playing two matches at home is a huge advantage for the Phoenix in what is an extremely cluttered period of football.
Sydney will lose twice in a week when they visit AAMI Park for the big blue on Saturday night.
As well as the Sky Blues have been travelling, they will be no match for a Victory side that looks to be in full swing. Only Wellington appear able to match them; as we saw last week.
The run of the Mariners could be short-lived and they will not be able to find points in their second match of the week when they face the Reds in Adelaide.
The mammoth run of matches concludes on Sunday night when Perth host the Jets. I am seeing a shock in this one and Newcastle’s second win of the week launching them on a late-season flurry.
Western Sydney, Wellington, Newcastle, Perth, Brisbane, Wellington, Victory, Adelaide, Perth
Markus Babbel’s ‘nice’ guys are sick of finishing last and getting on the wrong end of the VAR. If he wants to fire up, he should watch the old documentary on Roy Masters with the silver tails against the Western Suburbs fibre-dwellers.
Hint – lots of face slapping. A not very nice Wanderers can beat City.
Mark Rudan can’t wait to pit his in-form Wellington Phoenix against Sydney FC. The man in the black shirt should get the win.
Can Newcastle repeat their previous derby result against a Central Coast team unbeaten for two matches? If their fans get behind them, and that’s a big if, I’m sure the Jets will do it.
At home the Glory will have a tough time against an Adelaide outfit that travels well. Perth should be just good enough to grab the single goal they will need for victory.
Brisbane’s rocky season at least stabilised last week against the Mariners. With coach talk in the air, including ex-England and Philippines gaffer Sven-Goran Erickson in the mix, the Roar might come out firing.
Apologies Roar fans but I’ll put the kiss of death on them. Roar to win.
Wellington should be too good at home for Melbourne City and I expect them to pick up all six points this week.
Perhaps the best game of the round will be Melbourne Victory against Sydney FC. The Sky Blues will have to back up from their trip across the Tasman and this might tell. Victory to win.
Adelaide should account for the Central Coast Mariners at Coopers Stadium on Sunday and in the final match of the week, Perth Glory should get all three points against Newcastle.
|Rounds 15 and 16||Mike||Stuart||Paul||The Crowd|
|MCY vs WSW||DRAW||MCY||WSW||MCY|
|WEL vs SYD||WEL||WEL||WEL||WEL|
|NEW vs CCM||NEW||NEW||NEW||NEW|
|PER vs ADL||PER||PER||PER||PER|
|BRI vs WSW||BRI||WSW||BRI||WSW|
|WEL vs MCY||WEL||WEL||WEL||WEL|
|MCY vs SYD||SYD||MVC||MVC||MVC|
|ADL vs CCM||ADL||ADL||ADL||ADL|
|PER vs NEW||PER||NEW||PER||PER|