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The A-League finals can help redeem another difficult campaign

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Expert
25th April, 2019
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1254 Reads

The best that can be said about Brisbane Roar’s season is that it’s over, and in truth the finals can’t come quickly enough for the sake of the whole competition.

Here’s something that should bug A-League fans.

When there’s nothing on the line, teams play an open and expansive style of football.

But throw competition points and the importance of ladder position into the equation and suddenly A-League sides retreat into their shell.

Too many teams set up to avoid defeat instead of going out with the intent to win.

That’s something a legendary former goal scorer in Robbie Fowler will hopefully rectify next season.

New Roar coach Robbie Fowler.

Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler has been unveiled as the Brisbane Roar’s new coach for the 2019-20 A-League season. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

No doubt he took one or two other things away from Brisbane Roar’s 5-3 defeat at the hands of Adelaide United on Anzac Day.

First things first, wasn’t it great to see some football played on April 25th?

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The occasion was well handled by Brisbane Roar and the fans who turned out were treated to a cracker of a game.

If they had their time again Football Federation Australia would probably have preferred Wellington Phoenix to have been the Roar’s opponent, but other than that the game was a welcome addition to the fixture list.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same when it comes to the way A-League fans are treated at multi-purpose venues.

Stadiums Queensland should throw the book at Suncorp Stadium security for immediately removing a Brisbane Roar jersey from the Wally Lewis statue outside the ground yesterday. But why would they?

Because in 15 years Stadiums Queensland have done the grand sum of nothing to make Brisbane Roar fans feel welcome at Suncorp Stadium.

Some of the stadium’s security staff are a disgrace – there has been a relentless campaign of security personnel hassling football fans at the stadium for years now – and the sooner A-League clubs start seeking alternative venues, the better.

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Mind you, it’s hard to fathom the mindset of certain A-League clubs themselves.

Adelaide United have looked unbeatable ever since they informed Marco Kurz his services are no longer required.

It will be a shame if the colourful German is lost to the A-League entirely, and he showcased his managerial prowess by inspiring his side to a gutsy second-half comeback in Brisbane.

It was the sort of entertainment the FFA must be praying for in the finals.

The end of the regular season can’t come quickly enough – not least because we’ve essentially known who would finish in the top six for weeks now.

It will be interesting to see just how motivated both Melbourne City and Wellington Phoenix are now that Adelaide United have finished fourth and guaranteed themselves a home final.

City are one of the league’s worst performing teams on the road, so you’d have to think a Melbourne derby in the first week of the finals would probably suit them.

And Wellington’s patchy run home looks destined to consign them to fifth.

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Whether or not any these teams can mount a genuine challenge to table-toppers Perth Glory remains to be seen, although Melbourne Victory’s championship-winning run last season is proof that anything can happen.

But there’s no doubt that after another season to forget, the A-League desperately needs a decent finals campaign.

Changes are afoot next season – and not just in terms of who’s in charge – and we could be watching a very different A-League come this time next year.

But first we’ve got to get through the current campaign.

As yesterday’s Anzac Day showdown demonstrated, there’s still plenty of entertaining football on offer around the A-League.

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We just need to see a bit more of it in the finals.

With a new-look competition just around the corner, now is the time to remind stay-away fans of exactly what they’re missing out on – and hopefully get a few newcomers through the gates too.