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'From the basement to the penthouse': Forget the wooden spoon, can Western United make the top six?

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15th March, 2024

Western United have half a dozen games left to make the men’s top six. Anchored in last place, can they prove the impossible can happen?

Until recently, John Aloisi’s men were contemplating the wooden spoon. Yet suddenly, a late surge of magic has resulted in two wins and two draws, giving hope to their patient fans that they can rise from the basement to the penthouse.

Remember folks, this is the same talisman who sent the Socceroos to the World Cup in 2006. Luck is on coach Aloisi’s side.

The last four A-League games have certainly turned United’s season around. Other clubs, such as the Wanderers, languish in mid-table purgatory, momentarily exiting the finals race.

Even Melbourne Victory’s run has stuttered. Not long ago, after amassing a combined eleven draws, the club was leap-frogged into first place. Things change quickly in this competition.


High-flyers Central Coast might be leading the league in goal difference, but lately, last year’s champions have kept a low score sheet. Winning, but with minimal margins.

Since their impressive 4-0 AFC Cup game against Phnom Penh in mid-February, the Mariners have only averaged 1.5 goals in the domestic competition. Comparatively, Western United‘s higher median was two balls in the back of the net instead.

The green and black also took more shots on target than Wellington, hitting the mark 5.75 times, compared to four, over the same period.

It paints a stunning picture as to why the Tarneit lads have enough momentum to challenge for silverware.

Until the end of the season, 18 more points are on offer, and although a flawless winning streak would be miraculous, over half of the remaining games seem entirely winnable.


Enter Adelaide. Two of these matches are against the Reds, who after weeks of winless displeasure, finally scraped together a narrow triumph over Newcastle last Friday.

Let’s chalk those up-and-coming Adelaide games as wins, shall we? Six points already in the bag. No time for modesty.

Western United coach John Aloisi. (Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images)

Currently, the Jets are only one point above Western United, easily within touching distance. That’s doable.

Then, one more rung up the ladder is Perth, an underachieving club, who are also experiencing a purple patch of luck. Stand aside, Glory.

Playing against a wounded Wanderers this weekend, Perth would naturally need to lose, allowing the result to go in Western United’s favour.

Granted, it’s a defining round for Western Sydney. For coach Marko Rudan, allowing Glory to dominate would appear unfathomable, even unforgivable, resulting in increased animosity between Wanderers’ fans and management.


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Next week, football fans, may Western United’s bright stars align at Hindmarsh Stadium. The city of churches is ready to answer John Aloisi’s prayers.