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The Roar's A-League Men tips and predictions: Round 19

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28th February, 2024
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Stop with the draws!!!! Another frustrating week of tipping saw four of the matches in Round 18 finish level and only the Wanderers and Mariners were able to bank three points in what was an atrocious tipping effort from both the panel and the fans.

The upcoming six games look no more enticing for punters, with the Bulls and City doing battle on Friday night, an F1 Derby on Saturday that will surely bring the best out of the Jets and a chance for Perth Glory to move into finals’ contention with a win against Western United in the Saturday twilight.

The Sydney Derby highlights the weekend and looks like a toss of the coin, Wellington could kill off Adelaide’s season with a win at the cake tin on Sunday and good luck tipping the Brisbane Roar match-up with Melbourne Victory on Sunday afternoon. Neither team is in stellar form, and the game could swing on a moment or key decision from an official.

Good luck with your selections for the round and be sure to enter them in the sheet below to have a say in the voice of the people. Here are the thoughts and selections from the panel, ahead of a week where they simply must be better than last time out.

Western Sydney Wanderers players celebrate with the crowd. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)

Texi Smith
City, United, Newcastle, Sydney, Wellington, Victory

This weekend’s marvellous action gets underway on Friday night at Campbelltown; Melbourne City is back in Sydney so soon after their visit last weekend. Macarthur was ahead twice at Newcastle last weekend, but to be honest, they were fortunate to be in that position.

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We saw flashes of brilliance from City last weekend, but for a side oozing in attacking quality, they do struggle to bring it all together. All eyes will be on Ulises Davila and Marco Tilio and they will be the star performers, but it will be the unassuming Jimmy Jeggo, scoring one and making one for future Auckland recruit Jamie Maclaren, who is the difference between the two teams. City should close the gap again on a top-six spot.

Western United’s home form away from AAMI Park has been horrific. Ballarat should be familiar surroundings for the league’s nomads, but it continues to be a dud for entertaining football. All that is going to change at Mars Stadium when Western United unexpectedly turn on the style for their long-suffering fans against Perth Glory.

The gap between last place and eleventh is handsome, but a win here and those in the bottom half of the table will be looking over their shoulders in fear. Glory is everyone’s darlings at the moment; with the A-League’s David Beckham in Gio Colli and a quality strike-force, having wowed us over the last month.

Western United will give us a performance from the top drawer. Noah Botic with a tidy finish before sub Daniel Penha adds to his stocks with a dazzling goal to complete a dominant victory.

The F3 derby is so hard to predict. We all think the Mariners will be buzzing after their win at Victory last week, and they have the wind in their sails after four wins on the bounce and having reduced the gap to top spot to a single win. But Newcastle Jets were unlucky last weekend against Macarthur; dominating the game to find themselves behind against the run of play.

They will have to defend for their lives as the visitors pile on the pressure in an ominously one-sided first half; Alou Kuol will be on fire, but a second-half show from Daniel Stynes, Clayton Taylor and Archie Goodwin will have the raucous crowd bouncing. I see Taylor sliding in the opener after a brilliant move, and lethal marksman Apostolos Stamatelopoulos smashing home the clincher.

The footballing hotbed of Newcastle comes to life and the Mariners will be left wondering what happened.

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Western Sydney Wanderers picked the perfect time to return to winning ways at Adelaide last week, and that result, coupled with jumping ahead of their bitter rivals on the league table, will earn them the unwanted favourites tag coming into a massive Sydney derby. With Brandon Borrello back and a sparkling midfield packed with star power, the Wanderers will feel they should be bossing this game against a team missing their pivot in the suspended Luke Brattan.

But with Max Burgess slotting into the exciting Sky Blue midfield, the visitors will be on top from the start. Joe Lolley stars in a fantastic Sydney FC performance, and Fabio Gomes heads home with a teasing cross for the opener. The home crowd shourld roar for their team to equalise after sustained pressure in the second half, but the door is left wide open for Mitchell Glasson to waltz through for a dramatic late winner to steal the derby honours for the East Sydney bling.

Phoenix with the form of champions; unbeaten this year and getting results, return to Sky Stadium to play an out-of-sorts Adelaide United who have nose-dived this season after starting with a bang. Nestory Irankunda will start in a statement of intent from the visiting Reds, but the strong running of Ben Old and Tim Payne will have the home team’s noses in front at the break; Oskar Zawada with an outrageous bicycle kick from Bozhidar Kraev’s exquisite cross.

Nestory Irankunda of Adelaide United reacts after Craig Goodwin of United. awarded a free kick during the A-League Men's Elimination Final match between Adelaide United and Wellington Phoenix at Coopers Stadium on May 05, 2023, in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Sarah Reed/Getty Images)

Adelaide United’s Nestory Irankunda. (Photo by Sarah Reed/Getty Images)

Wellington could struggle to put the game beyond Adelaide; Irankunda blazes to the byline to tee up Luka Jovanovic, then Alex Paulsen with the save of the weekend to push the ball onto the bar from point-blank range. Mohamed Al-Taay keeps a cool head to emerge with the ball in a midfield melee, and he feeds Davd Ball to dink home the winner; the bumper home crowd will be delighted to see their team extend the lead at the top of the table.

The weekend’s action rounds off at Suncorp Stadium and Brisbane Roar will be keen to continue their form against the Melbourne teams after rescuing a draw last weekend against Western United and smashing Melbourne City. Victory will be smarting and itching to put last week’s disaster behind them, and with the Mariners within reach, they will start like a team possessed.

By half time, Zinedine Machach and Bruno Fornaroli will have helped themselves to a goal a-piece; Jake Brimmer pulling the strings, and despite another Tom Waddingham header to reduce the arrears by the break, the night belongs to Victory as they punish defensive errors; Fornaroli and Daniel Arzani giving some gloss to a very strong display from the visitors.

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Stuart Thomas
Macarthur, Central Coast, United, Western Sydney, Wellington, Victory

Macarthur at home against City is probably the match of the round, despite the Sydney Derby being certain to grab headlines. Another stunning win for the Bulls as they continue to grow as a club. Are we nearing the end of City’s run in 2023/24?

On form, the Mariners must simply beat the Jets comprehensively and Western United will finally get a break against Perth and cash a rare win. No team has been unluckier at the death than John Aloisi’s crew and the Glory are not the same beast away from home.

The Sydney Derby will be memorable and the Wanderers, despite the so-called “stigma” around the club, will smash the Sky Blues in a brutal fixture. I’ve given up on Adelaide having given them enough chances to improve, the Phoenix will continue their march to the finals with another win and the round will end with a rampant Victory thrashing a disinterested Roar in Queensland.

Andrew Prentice
Macarthur, Central Coast, Perth, Draw, Wellington, Victory

To quote the great Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “It doesn’t matter what I think!” Seriously, if this competition drew fans on unpredictability, the A-League would be selling out Lang Park, the SFS, AAMI Park et al every week. Isn’t that a nice thought? Macarthur would be talked about as the season’s surprise packet were it not for a certain club from across the ditch.

Unfortunately, they’ve run into off-field trouble in the form of dodgy Campbelltown Stadium fencing which was typically blamed on unruly fans. As a result, their active fan support will be missing from the clash with Melbourne City, which will ensure a not-so-healthy attendance on Friday night (and I’m not talking cholesterol levels).

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It won’t matter to the Bulls, who have the brilliant Ulise Davila back in form and facing a City side that is just not singing from a like-minded hymn sheet. The Bulls will prevail in a close one.

The F3 derby is back in Newcastle with the home side hungry to end a winless streak extending back to Round 12. Unfortunately, they’re facing the form side of the competition. Newcastle had the chance to take advantage of a tired Bulls side who had played 120 minutes in the AFC Cup only three days previously but instead snatched a last-minute draw.

(Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

The Mariners, the other team to face two hours of Thursday night football, won a tough contest against the Victory. That form is hard to ignore, and a better-rested Mariners team may give their close rivals a bit of a touch-up if the Jets let them get away. Josh Nisbet will run another 50 km and look like he wouldn’t blow out a candle. Mariners by two.

Rumour has it that John Aloisi has banned goal celebrations following Daniel Penha’s crazy injury two weeks ago. Given Western are the league’s lowest scorers, insert your own joke there. They face the league’s top scorers on Saturday in Geelong, who weirdly played out a 0-0 draw last week.

See? Unpredictable! Perth will win this one. Adam Taggart rarely blanks two weeks in a row.

The Sydney derby, at one of the best grounds for watching football. In days of yore, an automatic, guaranteed sell-out. The Wanderers put a tumultuous month behind them in beating Adelaide, but face the Sky Blues who are unbeaten since Unite Round, and that includes wins over the Mariners and the Phoenix.

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Both sides have forward lines capable of carnage, and both have had trouble keeping opponents at bay. Borello, Brook and Milanovic vs Lolley, Mak and Gomes is a tasty prospect. I fancy a score draw here, as both pursue their top-six aspirations.

Wellington crossed more time zones than any other away team in the world last week. To go all that way for a 0-0 might seem a waste, but it kept Giancarlo Italiano’s side on top of the ladder, with a Premier’s Plate very much in sight. They face an Adelaide side who have fallen off the proverbial form cliff.

Given the nature of this league, maybe I should be tipping them. But there is no indication to make it so (to quote Captain Picard from Star Trek). Oskar Zawada must be nearing a start and that spells trouble for any side, let alone one that is conceding almost two goals a game. Wellington to win.

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Third-placed Victory will look back at last week as points squandered, despite playing the Mariners. Two defeats in four after such a long unbeaten start to the season will crease the brows of their fervent fans. The Roar’s 5-1 humbling of Melbourne City has not translated to a worthy run, and they have dropped points to the bottom two sides in the last two weeks.

Bruno Fornaroli has yet to score since returning from the Asian Cup, but here is a game that might suit his appetite for defensive destruction, with the Roar having conceded a league-worst 42 goals. This could be the week Victory helps themselves to a goal feast. Bruno by three.

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Matchday 19TexiStuartAndrewThe Crowd
MAC vs MCYMCYMACMAC?
NEW vs CCMNEWCCMCCM?
WUN vs PERWUNWUNPER?
WSW vs SYDSYDWSWDRAW?
WEL vs ADLWELWELWEL?
BRI vs MVCMVCMVCMVC?
Last week1001
Total47454947
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