The sooner the A-League grand final can break out among the hysteria following the latest example of disgraceful treatment of fans, the better.
I do not wish to make light of the despicable treatment suffered by Sydney FC fan Rory Carroll and his daughters at Sunday’s semi-final, nor the questionable media treatment of him that followed.
In the midst of all this, Sydney Morning Herald journalist Vince Rugari tweeted on Monday morning “Australian soccer is exhausting” – and he’s not wrong.
It’s a terrible shame because this is the time when we should find football most inspiring.
Over the last week, football has treated us to some of the best sporting suspense and drama of all time, and the A-League has more than upheld its end of the bargain.
From the roller-coaster of emotion that was Perth Glory’s penalty shoot-out win over Adelaide United to the masterclass put on by Sydney FC against their hapless rivals, Melbourne Victory, and the play-off matches that proceeded them – these finals have been the shot in the arm Australian football fans have been longing for.
These are the moments we look forward to the most.
This Sunday, we will see the two best teams in the country face off in the ultimate decider – and all of a sudden Perth’s claim to the throne does not look so strong.
Like a scorned Targaryen, Sydney rained fire on Victory with the most complete performance of the season.
Steve Corica’s team married sublime skill with relentless workmanship in a display that will surely have Glory coach Tony Popovic rethinking his own game plans.
The week off seemed to do Popovic’s men more harm than good initially.
A nervy opening was quickly quelled by Diego Castro’s opener and any hope of an Adelaide comeback was surely banished when the Spaniard doubled his tally for the night.
United played their part in ensuring the drama didn’t end there and forced the most outrageous finish to a semi-final in recent memory, which was only compounded by a ludicrous penalty shoot-out.
The result? An exasperated but elated Perth, who must now find a second wind – even on home soil – to overcome the sizeable challenge of a Sydney team with pure confidence coursing through their veins.
Of all the teams in the competition, Sydney and coach Corica need the least amount of help when it comes to identifying the champions’ weaknesses – after all, the Sky Blues have beaten the Glory twice already this season, including in Perth.
Nevertheless, Adelaide delighted in the gaps left behind by Perth’s marauding full-backs and was duly rewarded for their bravery in committing numbers forward and overloading Glory’s 18-yard-box.
Few teams work harder than Popovic’s, but Corica’s team will match them stride for stride in that department and have a lethal forward line – including Adam le Fondre and Siem de Jong, not to mention the mercurial talents of Milos Ninkovic.
Bloody hell, I’m excited just thinking about it. We all should be.
With due respect to Mr Carroll and his daughters, I do hope that we can find the column inches and attention the game deserves.
We’ll certainly have a long enough off-season to continue the good fight for Rory and the rest of the football fraternity for the respect and decency it deserves at grounds across the country.