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Opinion

The Tracker: The Whammo continues in Round 2

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Roar Rookie
3rd June, 2020
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The Luminaries, an adaptation of the Man Booker Prize- winning novel by Eleanor Catton, has made it to the small screen.

It’s a tale of murder, revenge and love on New Zealand’s Wild West Coast during the gold-rush years of the 19th century.

Two of its characters, perhaps engaged in an early form of rocket science, examined the patterns made by the stars in the night sky. They concluded that patterns are read by people in different ways. It all depends on what they see and what they miss.

They discussed that there is no correct or incorrect way to interpret patterns and that there is neither good nor bad.

Football defenders also need to read the patterns of the stars on the field. But most importantly, they must identify the threatening patterns. It demands a joint understanding of these dangers among the team.

My aim is to help players read these patterns to prevent the bad from happening. Goal against equals bad.

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Coach Ufuk Talay recognised the pattern of play that let his team Wellington Phoenix allow the only goal of the game to Besart Berisha and Western United in Round 1. Talay said that it was disappointing to concede that goal because two players were marking space and that you can’t do that in the box as you need to pick up players.

The whammo of the double-cross pattern struck again in Round 2 in the match between Melbourne City and Adelaide United. The goal was scored by Adelaide’s Riley McGree.

The first cross was an Adelaide left-wing corner. It reached beyond the far post to the right and eventually came back across the penalty area. McGree was positioned in the penalty box on the left at the time the corner was taken.

Riley McGree

(Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

City defender Javier Cabrera was marking McGree. As the ball travelled across, Cabrera left McGree all alone and slowly wandered off out of the penalty area, to nowhere in particular and not towards any other attacker.

I describe this as an in-limbo state. Meanwhile, McGree had calmly drifted into a position closer to goal. He scored unopposed when the ball reached him from the right.

The time taken from the corner kick to McGree scoring was 8.5 seconds, a long period in this modern football age. It was more than enough time for McGree to continue to be marked while on his leisurely stroll.

Once again, the pattern of the double cross led to another defender leaving his man to allow a goal. Other City players had tracked opponents very well and performed at their best to clear the ball.

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In this round’s Melbourne Victory versus Western Sydney Wanderers match, the double cross also distracted Leigh Broxham from his marking assignment but fortunately this did not lead to a goal.

During this phase Storm Roux and Andrew Nabbout performed their man marking roles admirably, Nabbout receiving a knock to the head when defending a bicycle kick closely.

Goals conceded Defending team Goal scorer
Ball watching (6)
Josh Sotirio Wellington Phoenix Brandon O’Neill
Brandon O’Neill Sydney FC Ulises Davila
Unnamed Adelaide United Jamie Maclaren
Javier Cabrera Melbourne City Riley McGree
Unnamed Newcastle Jets Milan Djuric
Josh Risdon Western United Kristian Popovic
Inconclusive (1) Perth Glory
Focused defence (4) Wellington Phoenix
Adelaide United
Melbourne Victory
Melbourne Victory
Penalties (2) Central Coast Mariners
Western Sydney Wanderers
Total (13)