The Roar
The Roar



A-League ladder congestion a case of great entertainment or a lack of quality?

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9th March, 2023

Not many words or superlatives can be used to put into context just how crazy this current A-League campaign has been as finals loom near. 

From the captivating 4-4 draw between Adelaide and the Wanderers to Western United’s fall from grace, there have been incredible storylines on the field.

Perhaps, it’s only fitting that the A-League ladder is a representation of the insanity that football followers have come to witness over the past few months. 

With seven matches remaining in the regular season, eleven points separate second and eleventh-placed Perth Glory, as the Western Australian outfit are just seven points outside the top six.

There is no denying that a closely contested table provides much-needed entertainment and a sense of unpredictability for the neutrals, especially for a code that is in dire need of attention. 

In reality, though, the results from teams across the whole league demonstrate a trend of inconsistency.

Although the Wellington Phoenix have displayed some patches of good football under coach Ufuk Talay, they only have seven wins out of 19 (36.8%) to show for it.


They currently sit in fifth place, but should that low win percentage be deserving of finals football? Probably not.

The rest of the clubs from second to sixth (excluding Wellington) have all won eight games out of their opening 19 fixtures, which shows that no one is taking the season by the scruff of the neck and asserting some sort of challenge to runaway leaders Melbourne City.

Heck, reigning premier Western United sits ninth and are only five points out from a finals berth. For the dreadful start that they had, is it a good sign for the A-league if a team like that still has a chance of defending their title after Round 26?

Let’s not forget that Melbourne Victory was one win away against Sydney from being three points out from the top six. They have simply been dreadful this season under Tony Popovic.

Victory head coach Tony Popovic looks on

(Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Freak results can occur such as Victory’s unexpected 3-2 triumph over City in the derby a couple of weeks ago. After all, that’s what makes football such a unique sport.

In saying that, this scenario that anyone can beat anyone may well suggest that both the technical and tactical developments of clubs are not actually up to the standard of where they should be. 


Besides Melbourne City which is producing some of the best football the A-League has ever witnessed, the rest of their rivals are not gathering any sort of momentum, with the exception of Adelaide who seems to be hitting some impressive form at the right time.

Despite performing above expectations, even the Western Sydney Wanderers have lost their blueprint around solid defending which Marko Rudan prides himself on. 

It’s this identity crisis within the league that should be a concern moving forward. Teams like Newcastle, Macarthur, and Sydney FC, what exactly is their identity and blueprint week to week?

This point explains why the A-League is experiencing so many inconsistent performances and wavering results on the pitch.

On the other end of the spectrum, people will rightly argue that not having such a wide gap in quality between the twelve clubs in the league is a positive aspect of competition, making it less boring with more of a level playing field.

Fans and neutrals are entitled to their own opinion, but it’s a topic worth noting and discussing.