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The Roar's A-League expert tips and predictions: Match Week 18

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Expert
21st April, 2021
36

And still the challenge of successful A-League tipping continues, with another week of tricky matches proving difficult to master.

Match Week 18 presents a mouth-watering nine games across seven days and promises to make the top six picture a little clearer as we head ever closer to the finals. Wellington, Sydney, Brisbane, Western United and Victory will do it tough with short turnarounds between matches, and Melbourne City, Adelaide and Macarthur will look to stamp their rights on a top-four spot.

Good luck with your tipping and be sure to enter those selections into the sheet below to have a say in the powerful voice of the Crowd. Here are the panel’s thoughts on all the upcoming action.

Mike Tuckerman

Wellington, Western Sydney, Sydney, City, Brisbane, Wellington, draw, Sydney, draw

I want to like Western United. They’ve got several decent players and I don’t mind Mark Rudan, but I can’t quite put my finger on why I can just never seem to back them. Maybe it’s because I just reckon Wellington have got more of an X factor?

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Expect the usual bounce-back from Victory under their latest interim manager in what is a clash between two utterly desperate sides. Carl Robinson might be the man looking over his shoulder now, but the Wanderers should have enough quality to win at Docklands.

Just one win in six has seen the Mariners drop down to second, and things don’t get any easier when they welcome the defending champs to Gosford. Sydney FC threw away victory last weekend but they won’t make the same mistake here.

Macarthur could be Arthur or Martha for all anyone knows, and they’ve been winning or losing in patches all season. They should mathematically be due for another victory in front of their home fans, but City just look too slick to bet against.

A big clash in front of a big crowd should see Brisbane Roar take all three points off Perth Glory, even if the Roar have a few issues of their own. Another defeat in Redcliffe would put a serious dent in Perth’s dwindling finals hopes.

Two wins in two games? It’s not beyond the realm of possibility for Wellington Phoenix, who should fire up for this Anzac Day clash with Adelaide. Ufuk Talay knows nothing less than a string of victories are required for his team to finish in the top six.

I had a quick look to see if Western United were scheduled to play in my back courtyard this time around, but this particular game against the Jets seems to be at AAMI Park. Let’s call it a draw for the fact neither team will enjoy any real advantage at the venue.

Are we up to Game 53 of this round or what? Remind me not to schedule anything next week! Sydney FC should smash Melbourne Victory at Kogarah for no other reason than they seem to really enjoy smashing Victory at Kogarah.

The Mariners will go into their clash with Brisbane Roar as favourites, but the visitors should still have plenty to play for by the time this fixture rolls around. I’m not convinced either side will have the fresh legs to go out and win it.

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Tomer Hemed of the Phoenix celebrates after kicking a goal

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Stuart Thomas

United, Victory, Central Coast, City, Brisbane, Adelaide, United, Sydney, Central Coast

Time to pull back a few points in the lead-up to the finals, hence a few risky selections to follow.

Western United continue to be a rocks-or-diamonds team, yet after a win against the Mariners and another masterclass from Alessandro Diamanti I’m sticking with them all the way to their second consecutive finals appearance.

It is tough to see the Victory toppling the Wanderers on Friday night, but I can. Meanwhile the Mariners will continue to prove that this season is far from a fluke when they dethrone the champions in the twilight Saturday clash.

Melbourne City could well remain unbeaten from now until grand final day, and Macarthur, despite a brave performance, will be their next victim in the championship run. Brisbane Roar versus Perth Glory has me baffled. I’ll go with the home side based on little more than the fact that the Glory are nowhere near delivering on what many keep predicting.

I was keen to pick the Phoenix against the Reds on Sunday night, yet the quick backup may well see the visitors take all three. However, I can see Western United backing up against the Jets in a game they must win should semi-final play remain on their radar.

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The Big Blue could well be a big dud when Sydney blast four or five past a Victory team suffering from a serious hangover following their win against the Wanderers, and Central Coast should be able to find a way past the visiting Roar next Wednesday off the back of the resilience they have shown throughout the entire 2020-21 season.

Alessandro Diamanti of Western United

(Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images)

Paul Nicholls

Wellington, Western Sydney, draw, City, Brisbane, Adelaide, United, Sydney, Central Coast

I don’t like change. When news broke of the proposed European Super League you can imagine what it did for my anxiety levels. When respectable, incorruptible sporting organisations such as FIFA and UEFA decry the concept as ‘all about greed’ it makes you stop and think. But don’t think too long because we have about 1000 games to get through. Hurry up.

I have to thank Wellington for saving my bacon against Perth. I feel I owe it to them to tip them against Western United. Thanks, lads, although we are square now. If Western Sydney can’t beat Melbourne Victory, logic will have deserted the universe and chaos will reign supreme until the end of time. Logic 2 Chaos 1.

Central Coast have been a bit off-colour recently, and I don’t just mean that lousy grey kit. They might struggle against Sydney FC with a Rhyan Grant-sized hole in their soul. Draw. Macarthur have come unstuck as opposition coaches have come to grips with their no-frills – aka boring – style. The Bulls to get burned by a Melbourne City side spitting fire.

Japanese import Riku Danzaki is proving to be a sensational capture for the Brisbane Roar. He’ll be instrumental in them defeating Perth. Now that the travel bubble with New Zealand has opened, will Wellington play some games at their real home? Adelaide to win at Wellingong.

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It’s a toss of the coin between Western United and Newcastle. Both teams are a tipster’s nightmare. I’ll go for the boys from Tassie. Melbourne Victory should easily account for Sydney on Tuesday. Yeah, right. Sydney by eight. In the final game of a massive week the Mariners will beat Brisbane in a tight one.

Kosta Barbarouses of Sydney

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Texi Smith

United, Victory, Sydney, City, Brisbane, Adelaide, Newcastle, Sydney, Central Coast

All this talk of Super League! We’ve got our own Super League here and it’s doing great! We just have to make a few minor adjustments, like implementing a national second division with promotion and relegation, a transfer system, a ditching of the salary cap and securing a proper TV deal – not much really. In the meantime, enjoy our bumper A-League week.

Western United were beaten 3-2 by Phoenix only 11 days ago. What has changed since then to suggest a change in fortunes? A win against Mariners for the ‘home’ team and an impressive win in Perth for the visitors, that’s what. I’m going for the home team to cruise to victory in Tassie with that man Dylan Pierias scoring the winner with a mazy run and shot.

With a newly appointed caretaker manager, Victory will be up for the fight against the Wanderers. A real surprise will see Victory cruise to a three-goal lead at halftime and hang on for the win despite a Nicolai Muller-led fightback by the visitors.

Hawaiian shirts, pool noodles, bucket hats and zinc. All part of the experience for Sydney FC fans at Central Coast Stadium. And they’ll thoroughly enjoy this experience now that the slide down the Bunnings ladder has begun for Marvin and his Mariners. Milos Ninkovic loves this fixture and will run riot, with the young blokes getting on the scoresheet and Matt Simon having an unusual off-day in front of goal against his favourite team.

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Macarthur Bulls have been totally off the boil recently. They showed some flashes of inspiration against Newcastle, but they’ll need more than that against a City side capable of exploiting kinks in any armour. Rostyn Griffiths to bundle home a goal just after halftime and City to see out the win after spurning many more chances.

Brisbane took us by surprise last week and looked good value for the win at Bankwest. Perth on the other hand were well and truly beaten on home soil by Phoenix. This is a home banker, and there is no way Perth will get anything out of this unless there’s one of those bloody send-offs that change the course of the game.

We get into the total unknown with Phoenix versus Adelaide. Wellingong were rampant in Perth, while Adelaide came home strongly at Leichhardt Oval against Sydney. This is the match of the round. Absolute excitement guaranteed as Phoenix take the lead, but Adelaide will come roaring back and put the New Zealanders back in their box after their brief revival.

Western United have a great chance to push back up the league table with a return to Melbourne after their Tasmanian adventure. This will be the surprise of the week though, with Newcastle pulling off a delightful smash and grab. A header from Lachlan Jackson will be enough to take home the spoils in a totally unexpected three-point robbery.

Sydney FC versus Melbourne Victory is always a cracking encounter. The nature of this game, an awkward Tuesday night fixture at Kogarah, suggests a home win. Sydney FC will do it tough though, Bobo scoring late to seal the points in a close game.

To round off this fabulous week of entertainment the Mariners face an in-form Roar on the coast. Despite their successive defeats and Brisbane’s revival, this will be a return to the football that took the Central Coast to the top of the league. Daniel Da Silva to give Scott Neville a tough evening, and Marco Urena to notch a double in an impressive win to silence the doubters.

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Match Week 18 Mike Stuart Paul Texi The Crowd
WUN vs WEL WEL WUN WEL WUN WEL
MVC vs WSW WSW MVC WSW MVC WSW
CCM vs SYD SYD CCM Draw SYD SYD
MAC vs MCY MCY MCY MCY MCY MCY
BRI vs PER BRI BRI BRI BRI BRI
WEL vs ADL WEL ADL ADL ADL WEL
WUN vs NEW Draw WUN WUN NEW WUN
SYD vs MVC SYD SYD SYD SYD SYD
CCM vs BRI Draw CCM CCM CCM CCM
Last week 1 2 2 2 1
New total 42 40 48 40 40