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Life feels so much better now that the football is back

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10th October, 2019
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The Socceroos beat Nepal 5-0, the A-League is back in action tonight and life just somehow feels better when there’s meaningful football to be enjoyed.

It was a case of ‘job done’ for Graham Arnold’s men in Canberra, even if it was a ponderous performance at times.

The Aussies needed someone to step up and score goals and Jamie Maclaren duly obliged with a hat-trick.

In truth the Socceroos should have run up a cricket score, but they did enough to bag all three points and they’ll go into Tuesday night’s clash with Chinese Taipei in a confident frame of mind.

It was nice to see towering debutant Harry Souttar score on debut, and nicer still to see more than 18,500 fans turn up on a chilly evening at Canberra Stadium.

The sizeable contingent of Nepalese fans inside the stadium deserve praise for turning out in force and helping to drum up some atmosphere inside the ground.

And one topic that should be on the agenda for an independent A-League is the introduction of a Canberra team.

The absence of a team from the nation’s capital was a problem years ago – now it’s plain embarrassing.

And the sooner those controlling the game click into gear and get an expansion side in a city that actually needs one like Canberra, the better for us all.

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Still, it’s hard to be unhappy when the new A-League season finally kicks off tonight. Hallelujah!

Graham Arnold.

Will Australian fans ever warm to Graham Arnold? (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

It’s been so long between seasons it’s a surprise George RR Martin hasn’t banged out ‘The Winds Of Winter’ in the interim.

Civilisations were built faster than this. Besart Berisha took some time off for a backpacking trip around Japan and is still one of the A-League’s best strikers.

Adelaide United’s clash with Sydney FC at Coopers Stadium is the ideal way to kick off the new campaign.

Gertjan Verbeek may look like he moonlights in a Styx cover band but the Dutch coach might also have a trick or two up his sleeve.

His Reds outfit should be tough to beat at Coopers Stadium – particularly with Sydney FC missing Andrew Redmayne and Rhyan Grant to international duty – and it’s worth remembering Adelaide United started last season with a 1-1 draw at home to the Sky Blues.

Mind you, good on Sydney FC skipper Alex Wilkinson for suggesting it was “pretty average” to kick off the new campaign in the midst of an international window.

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“I don’t think it’s a good thing at all,” Wilkinson told AAP.

He’s right. And to make things worse Adelaide and Melbourne City face off in the A-League in Round 2 and again in the FFA Cup Final three days later.

What should have happened is the FFA Cup Final should have been played at Coopers Stadium last weekend, and it should have been played on a Saturday.

Instead, A-League fans have been sitting around twiddling their thumbs for the past month, waiting for the season to start while other codes played their finals.

Jordan Courtney-Perkins of the Roar jostles for the ball

(AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

This ‘clear air’ idea is just some nonsense a marketing executive has dreamed up as an excuse not to upset the status quo.

And the next thing that needs to get in the bin is scheduling a Melbourne derby in the first couple of rounds every season until the end of time too.

Can’t we football fans just have a normal random draw for once?

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“Always the same” is how David Brent might describe my own approach to the new campaign.

Do something dumb and I’ll mention it. Do something good and I’ll mention that too.

But gee it’s good to have the A-League back!

Food tastes better. The air seems fresher. I personally have more energy and self-confidence than I ever dreamed of.

And it’s all because our homegrown professional league kicks off again tonight.

Well let’s start the insanity.