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Opinion

Stuck inside watching Australian football: A coronavirus diary

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Expert
16th March, 2020
50

With social butterflying off the agenda last weekend thanks to the mounting concerns around the coronavirus, I bunkered down.

Aside from a quick trip out to retrieve one child and purchase supplies, I never left the castle and frankly, became increasingly concerned as more and more sports, matches and events were cancelled or postponed.

Fearful of having little football to watch, it was pleasing that the weekend of A-League play went ahead and also that the W-League semi-finals took place, with Sydney FC and Melbourne City advancing to what will be a closed-door decider this weekend.

With corona concerns brewing at an alarming rate on Friday night and Sydney’s weather appearing further likely to keep people indoors over the weekend, a curious experiment came to mind. A diary of thoughts from a housebound football tragic. It began just prior to Friday night’s kick-off.

Friday 7:15pm
My archnemesis Brisbane Roar are playing a Mariners side tonight that is threatening to set new benchmarks in the number of consecutive losses. If Brisbane lose this game based on my tipping them, the kiss of death will be confirmed, once and for all.

Friday 9:30pm
Phew. Scott McDonald in a rich vein of form and what might at first appear as an appalling crowd of just 4121 could well be the largest we have for some time should tomorrow’s matches head behind closed doors.

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Saturday 8:26am
Holy smoke! The Roar are fourth! Spare me days, he is God.

(AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Saturday 1:55pm
I’m not convinced it is wise going ahead with an attended W-League fixture between the Victory and Sydney FC. Granted, a small gathering of fans, yet is there some sense of irresponsibility about this?

Saturday 6pm
Beautiful moment for Luke Brattan and his brave sister correctly denied by VAR. Would the critics of the system have been content to see that goal stand? Something tells me they would be the most vitriolic; jumping up and down and bemoaning the poor standard of referees. Very little chatter when the system works to a tee.

Saturday 7:15pm
Something of a stalemate at Kogarah. Tony Popovic looks content with having blunted the Sydney attack. Few chances. Perhaps the best two came late and both Milos Ninkovic and Trent Buhagiar were well within their rights to score.

Saturday 7:16pm
Pretty sure I suggested on Thursday that this was potentially the easiest tipping round of the season thus far. Oops!

Saturday 9:30pm
But for Curtis Good, the Western Sydney Wanderers would have moved level, at least temporarily, with Western United and Adelaide on 27 points. The musings of Markus Babbel upon his departure now seem well and truly off course. Jean-Paul de Marigny has transformed the effort and application of his team, they now possesses a harder edge that contenders must have. The club is far better off without Babbel.

Jean-Paul de Marigny at his first press conference as head coach.

(AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

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The re-emergence of Western Sydney promotes debate on the value of foreign coaches. There have been at least as many disappointments as successes.

Sunday 6pm
Thankfully, normal service has resumed in terms of my tipping. The Phoenix continue to loom as the team most likely when it comes to toppling the champions in May. If someone slipped me a 20 and said “Find some value for the grand final”, the Phoenix might be the destination it heads.

Gary Hooper awesome, Liberato Cacace superb and the Melbourne Victory are flat out horrible. Great to see the men in yellow doing so well.

Sunday 6:50pm
Halftime and the Jets hold sway against a Reds team that looks completely uninterested in the task at hand. I must admit to feeling a little chuffed at having predicted Adelaide would be the team most likely to slip from the six, yet their demise is also alarming and concerning.

Sunday 8pm
Steven Ugarkovic’s goal was one of the most exhilarating moments of the season thus far. Newcastle leapfrog Victory and edge a little closer to both Adelaide and sixth-place Western United. Carl Robinson has produced from day one and all of a sudden there is little talk about the undermanned and inexpensive men from the Hunter and a whole lot of chatter about their good play.

Sunday 10pm
Brisbane Roar are fourth on the ladder!

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And so the weekend ended with an announcement on Monday in regards to how the FFA would manage the ever-changing climate of concern around the coronavirus.

Personally, I felt we were destined for a null and void A-League competition. However, with many restrictions in place, football in Australia will push forward for now.

How long that lasts is anyone’s guess.