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The Roar's A-League expert tips and predictions: Round 21

David Williams of the Phoenix celebrates after scoring a goal during the round 13 A-League match between the Wellington Phoenix and the Central Coast Mariners at Westpac Stadium on January 12, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Expert
6th March, 2019
21

There are just two matches on the schedule to complete the split round that is Round 21. Last weekend began as predictably as many felt it would, with a win to Sydney leading into their Asian Cup Champions League fixture.

Sadly for tipsters, the matches that followed saw the Jets stun the Victory and the ladder leaders Perth use a late surge to grab a point against the enigmatic City.

Tipping wise, I am rolling. Two from three for the round thus far and currently sitting atop the ladder. The likelihood of a victory for the author appears strong.

I’m sure Tuckerman and Nicholls will have consorted and planned an attack to turn my road to glory to rubble, however the knowledgeable roar of the crowd scares me far more than they do.

In all seriousness, good luck with your tips for Round 21. We are in the home straight and the league heads into its final six rounds as of next weekend.

Be sure to enter your tips into the sheet below and have a say in all the action as a part of the all-important voice of the crowd.

Stefan Mauk

Stefan Mauk of the Roar appeals to the linesman during the FFA Cup round of 32 match between Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City at Dolphin Stadium on August 7, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

It is make or break time in the A-League and both triumph and tragedy appear likely over the next two months. Here are the thoughts of the panel on this week’s matches.

Mike Tuckerman
Brisbane, Wellington

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The Roar finally clicked into some semblance of form in their 5-3 win over the Mariners a fortnight ago and they’ve got more than enough firepower to match it with the Wanderers. They won the last time they were at Suncorp Stadium too.

This is a must-win game for the Phoenix. The Mariners should have won countless games already this season, but are they good enough to spring an upset in Gosford? You wouldn’t think so against a Phoenix side suddenly looking over their shoulders at the Newcastle Jets.

Stuart Thomas
Brisbane, Wellington

Surprisingly, both the Roar and Wanderers come off excellent results in Round 20. Brisbane reigned supreme against the Mariners in what could only be described as the ‘chaos on the coast’ and the Wanderers pinched a late point against the ladder leading Perth Glory to continue a run of much improved play.

With just two points separating these clubs they appear destined to fight out the 8th and 9th positions on the ladder come seasons end. Home ground advantage is my method for splitting them here despite being within a whisker of nominating a draw.

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However, Brisbane have shown far more spirit under Darren Davies and the Wanderers are still struggling to produce 90-minute efforts.

Wellington had better beat Central Coast in Gosford, otherwise the work done earlier in the season will be for little, as the threat of missing semi-final play becomes a reality.

A win jumps them to fourth yet a loss could see them out of the top six as early as next weekend.

As for the Mariners, well it appears to be going from bad to worse.

Frankly, they are quite possibly the worst team in A-League history and with no improvement or points over these last seven matches, may well have the statistics to support that moniker.

Wellington by at least three clear goals.

Roy Krishna

Roy Krishna of the Phoenix. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Paul Nicholls
Brisbane, Wellington

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Last week Brisbane sunk their fangs into the plump pale neck of victory and boy did it taste good. Count Bautheac dusted off his old cape and orchestrated things perfectly enabling the Roar to rise; blinking into the light from their partially-nailed coffin.

Brisbane Roar

Eric Bautheac of the Roar celebrates. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Even with five goals Brisbane almost managed not to win against the Mariners and the worry is they will revert to type after an extended layoff. Again Dylan Wenzel-Halls impressed and showed he can create as well as score goals and I expect another big game from him this Friday.

The Wanderers don’t have a whole lot to play for. The seemingly endless holding pattern they have been in while the new stadium is made ready has been disruptive.

There will be a few players looking ahead to a game against Leeds United but if they don’t perform they might miss out. Brisbane’s new found taste for blood should get the job done.

Matty Simon what have you done? A week before he was being hailed as a potential Australian of the year and the following week was a virtual pariah. The send-off against Brisbane Roar and subsequent spray at the officials was ugly.

In fairness, he later apologised for his actions but the club will miss him in their game against Wellington. Who will replace him? Maybe a phone call to Jamaica is in order.

Ever since I started on this mid-season love affair with Wellington Phoenix they have let me down. Draws instead of wins, losses instead of draws. If ever there was a game for the taking it is this one.

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If Wellington don’t make the six it will go down as a disappointing season for Mark Rudan’s team. The Phoenix to win – otherwise it’s over between us.

Round 22 Mike Stuart Paul The Crowd
BRI vs WSW BRI BRI BRI BRI
CCM vs WEL WEL WEL WEL WEL
Last week 1 2 1 1
Previous Total 36 45 44 45
New Total 37 47 45 46