The Roar
The Roar


Wanderers rebound after week from hell, Nix outlast Sky Blues' press, Nisbet called up

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17th March, 2024

There’s never a dull moment in this competition, and the past round was certainly no exception with goals and action galore.

Here are your A-League talking points.

WSW seal much-needed three points in the west

Lachlan Brook’s late strike secured a big win for Western Sydney to cap off a hellish week endured by Marko Rudan’s side. After back-to-back home losses, Wanderers needed to rebound on Tuesday evening but instead endured their worst-ever defeat at the hands of Melbourne City, a 7-0 humbling that very few could’ve seen coming.

Coming into a clash against the Glory at HBF Park, it was almost must-win territory for Rudan and his charges. Despite a second-half onslaught Perth were unable to add to Adam Taggart’s first-half goal and thanks to some crafty work from Marcelo, Brook sealed the victory for Wanderers.

To say there’s concerns about Rudan’s ability to lead this team would be an understatement. There seems to be internal discontent with the Eddy Bosnar situation, and fan sentiment is at an all-time low. What complicates the situation for owner Paul Lederer is the fact Rudan hasn’t even begun a three-year contract extension, likely worth in the high six figures or even low seven figures.

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Mark Rudan gestures from the sideline

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Marko Rudan gestures from the sideline. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Lederer has always backed Rudan, but if WSW fail to qualify for the finals, could his hand be forced?


Nix come from behind, return to summit

With the Central Coast Mariners idle this weekend due to their continental outing, the opportunity presented itself for Wellington to climb back to top spot – and that’s just what they did, downing a tiring Sydney FC 2-1 at Eden Park.

Perhaps fortunate to have only conceded once in the opening half, Phoenix raised their level in the second half, taking advantage of the Sky Blues’ inability to press as they had earlier in the game. It’s said that since Ufuk Talay took the reins in Moore Park, assistant coach David Zdrilic’s influence has led to the new pressing style. Seemingly the side is still not fit enough to maintain the intensity for a full 90 minutes.

Macarthur and Victory are still somewhat in the hunt for the premiership, however it’s really a two-horse race, I believe. Next month’s meeting between Central Coast and Wellington at Industree Group Stadium looms as pivotal in deciding top spot – but the race could go right down to the wire.

Nisbet earns first Socceroos call-up

After a tremendous 2023-24 campaign dominating in the Mariners’ engine room, the diminutive Josh Nisbet has been added to Graham Arnold’s national team squad to take on Lebanon in Sydney and Canberra. It’s no less than Nisbet deserves, though he was initially overlooked by Arnold and only included when Lewis Miller was forced to withdraw from camp.


Twitter rumours earlier this week had Nisbet heading south to Melbourne City – we’ll see if that eventuates. It’s an inevitable reality of this league that talented young players will succumb to the lure of greener pastures, but I believe Nisbet has a lot to lose with a potential move to AAMI Park.

I’m not sure what overseas offers are out there, if any, but it would be great to see Nisbet remain with the club who put their faith in him if he stays in the A-League. The Mariners are even more susceptible to the constant turnover A-League clubs face each off-season – so it would be nice to see them hang onto one of their stars for at least one more season.

Quick hits

-An entertaining all-Victorian clash on Thursday ended 2-2. Melbourne Victory are still in the hunt for their first premiership since 2015 – just – but Western United’s failure to claim the three points surely spells the end of their season.

-Suffering a 1-0 home defeat to Adelaide, I’m calling time on Newcastle’s finals hopes. Some finer details on just how grim the situation in the Hunter is were aired by Ben Homer on Paramount’s coverage, but it was no surprise to hear a skeleton crew is running this once proud club.

Sports opinion delivered daily 



It’s clear the market for a new buyer is ice cold but the Jets are in desperate need of new ownership.

-It was not exactly an inspiring turnout at Ballymore on Saturday, just 3178 punters coming through the turnstiles on a warm Brisbane afternoon. Conversely, very encouraging to see Eden Park look reasonably populated with over 18,000 fans. It’s not a number we can expect the newly named Auckland FC to match with any regularity but it is something to strive for.

-Speaking of Auckland FC, along with the name, we now know that the expansion side will be unofficially known as the Black Knights – a nod to owner Bill Foley’s NHL team – and play out of Mount Smart Stadium, the home of the NRL’s Warriors.

I’m not a big fan of the crest.

-But while we’re on expansion, the radio silence on Canberra is perplexing and very concerning. The APL need to come out with a proper update in the very near future.