Former Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou has become the first Australian to manage a team to the J1-League title after winning the championship with Yokohama F Marinos.
Last weekend, yours truly correctly tipped five out of five A-League matches and took the overall lead in Roar tipping for 2019/20.
Tom Williamson continues to impress, now hot on the heels of the crowd in third place alongside Paul Nicholls. Mike Tuckerman is sitting comfortably in fifth place. The chances of a repeat tipping performance from me in Round 8 appear thin, with an array of potentially close matches across three states.
The Saturday twilight match in Brisbane holds much interest, with the Roar desperate for a win and the Mariners looking to consolidate a spot in the top six. Friday night sees two out-of-form teams duel when the Victory host the Glory at AAMI Park, while Sydney and Adelaide will look to continue their winning form on Sunday.
Good luck with your selections this week and be sure to insert them into the sheet below to have a say as the voice of the interactive crowd.
Here are the panel’s thoughts on Round 8.
Perth, Brisbane, Western Sydney, Sydney, Adelaide.
As much as I expect a reaction from Marco Kurz’s side following their dreadful start to the season, they just don’t seem to possess the players to turn things around. The Glory can’t be thrilled with their start to the campaign either, but on a night in which it should all come together for one side, I’m backing Perth.
Speaking of coming together for a side, it’s now or never for Brisbane Roar. They showed against Melbourne City they can take the game to an opponent when they’re switched on, but last weekend’s defeat to the Phoenix was dire stuff. The Mariners are a decent side but this is a must-win game for the Roar.
Newcastle Jets are in the A-League? Oh that’s right. No doubt Ernie Merrick is thrilled to have already had two byes and the Jets will probably be punished by a Wanderers side that has looked scratchy to date. Neither of these sides look like world-beaters but Western Sydney should have too much class here.
Back-to-back defeats means it’s Mark Rudan who suddenly needs to turn things around at Western United. I reckon this could be a closer-run thing than pre-game predictions might suggest, and Rudan would love to get one over his old mate Steve Corica. But it’s hard to see the Sky Blues being stopped.
Adelaide look irresistible at the moment. Does that mean Wellington Phoenix will spring a surprise at Coopers Stadium? Given my tipping form… probably. But if the Reds can keep finding the back of the net despite Kristian Opseth’s struggles up front, there’s no reason to believe they won’t bag all three points.
Perth, Central Coast, Newcastle, Sydney, Adelaide
To say both Marco Kurz and Tony Popovic need a win is an understatement. The man from the west will get one at AAMI Park. Far from hopeless against Sydney last weekend, the Glory will click sooner rather than later. The same cannot be said of the Victory, despite the fact they should have some personnel back for this one.
There is nothing better than a wild A-League encounter with plenty of goals, some VAR action and late drama. If there was ever a recipe for it, Brisbane versus Central Coast is it. Harder to pick than a broken nose, I’m sticking with the Mariners after a brave effort against Western United in Round 7 and a poor performance from the Roar against Wellington.
I’m tipping an upset and a Newcastle win in the Hunter on Saturday night. There were good moments for the Wanderers against City last Friday night yet I remain unconvinced of their ability to possess and apply consistent pressure. The Jets have looked better than many predicted and at home, are always a difficult proposition.
After riding a wave of emotion over the opening month, Western United have lost two on the trot and not scored for some time. Sydney win this one based purely on form and a squad that has been improving each and every week.
Ufuk Talay got his first win with the Phoenix last week and a second against the Reds in Round 8 at Coopers Stadium would be something of a shock. Adelaide are looking potent under Gertjan Verbeek and with a big crowd on hand, the Reds should have too much in their arsenal for the visitors.
Victory, Brisbane, Draw, Sydney, Adelaide
With just one win from seven starts, Melbourne Victory find themselves in unusual territory near the bottom of the table. Coach Marco Kurz must be feeling the heat with only Ola Toivonen keeping the team competitive. Can the Victory turn their season around against a lacklustre Perth Glory? Tony Popovic’s men have had some poor results including home losses against the Mariners and Sydney FC recently. Perhaps the one bright spot for the Victory is Robbie Kruse’s performance after coming on against Adelaide. His cross for Toivonen’s goal was top class. I’m going for Victory in an upset.
Brisbane Roar thudded back to earth against Wellington last week. They lost their mojo from their Dolphin Stadium win the week before. It’s a shame they can’t play in Redcliffe against the Mariners as the 9000 or so fans will look sparse at Suncorp. The Mariners put in a great fighting effort against Western United but for them to have two wins in a row seems a stretch. Brisbane by one.
Newcastle have had two byes in the first seven weeks of competition. Theoretically they could by on 11 points by now so don’t write them off just yet. The Wanderers will be smarting from last week’s loss to City although they were well beaten. Draw.
Besart Berisha’s puppy dog eyes said it all last week when Western United couldn’t crack the Mariners’ defence. United coach Mark Rudan will want more production from his forward line against a Sydney FC unit that is hitting peak form. Kosta Barbarouses has just started to click over the last few weeks and Milos Ninkovic is getting back to the form of two years ago. Sydney to win an entertaining game.
With four straight wins, Adelaide United are the hottest team in the competition. Riley McGree is almost unstoppable at the moment and although Wellington showed their mettle against Brisbane, the Reds should win comfortably.
Draw, Draw, Wanderers, Draw, Adelaide
I’m writing this while on the Great Victorian Bike Ride, and much like the even nature of two bike wheels, this round is going to play out very evenly.
Melbourne Victory host under-performing Perth Glory in a clash that’s set to disappoint both groups of fans. I give the tactical and skill advantage to Perth, but after they were aptly labeled pathetic by Mark Bosnich, the Victory will sniff a response to keep Marco Kurz in relative safety.
Saturday opens with Brisbane hosting the Mariners, fresh off an incredible win against Western United. I’ll put my hand up and give my young player of the year award to Sam Silvera. He is a firecracker and I can’t wait to see what heights he’ll take this hungry Mariners side to this season. Brisbane need a response to their loss last week, and they need it fast. They’ll eek out a draw here, but I could easily see the Mariners winning.
The Wanderers are very inconsistent – they threw away last week’s game under dubious circumstances and will be seething. Expect to see them bully a lacklustre Newcastle side and get back on the winners sheet. Western Sydney 3-1.
Sunday’s first game will see the golden child of the A-League Western United host the fan-proclaimed FFA favourites in Sydney FC, and Sydney are going to win easily. Western United are overrated and the cracks are starting to show. Sydney are looking like the best team in the comp. They’re crisp, concise and have that killer instinct.
So why am I tipping a draw? Because I’m a Melbourne City fan and I desperately want to stay top of the league a little longer. It’s selfish but I’ve accepted my bias.
The last match of the round is going to be straightforward as well. Adelaide are complete dark horses right now. They won the FFA Cup, they’ve had four wins on the trot (five if you include the cup final) and they are looking as strong as a title-winning team. The top three could play each other in any game and it would be a belter of a match.
Wellington finally got a win against Brisbane. Unfortunately Adelaide are a different beast and at Coopers Stadium they’ll be far too strong.
|Round 8||Mike||Stuart||Paul||Tom||The Crowd|
|MVC vs PER||PER||PER||MVC||Draw||PER|
|BRS vs CCM||BRS||CCM||BRS||Draw||BRI|
|NEW vs WSW||WSW||NEW||Draw||WSW||WSW|
|WUN vs SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD||Draw||SYD|
|ADE vs WEL||ADE||ADE||ADE||ADE||ADL|