The Roar
The Roar

Evan Morgan Grahame


Joined August 2014







West Ham disciple. Night-owl Premier League watcher. From Sydney, living in Melbourne. Sydney FC, Socceroos, Matildas. Is sport, Is good.



Cheers, Mike!

An illustrated review of Australia's 3-2 win over Syria, and my last column

Thanks Nem, we’ll have to see. Have no idea what’s in store for me this year, or how the Perth newsroom will deploy me. Just have to be on my toes, I guess. I do hope I’ll be able to do a bit of sport, especially with the Glory so good and interesting this year.

An illustrated review of Australia's 3-2 win over Syria, and my last column

Cheers Dan, thanks for all your support!

An illustrated review of Australia's 3-2 win over Syria, and my last column

Haha, we’ll see, it would be a shame to have to give up my narrow tip lead.

An illustrated review of Australia's 3-2 win over Syria, and my last column

The few Guardian columns I’ve been able to do have a stricter word-limit, so I have to reel in the writing a little, be slightly more formal. Roar articles are freer, which is great, although I can slip into some indulgent bad habits.

Melbourne's attack might be best represented by their least definable player

I’ve got fifty different word of the day calendars on the go at once, can’t let any words go to waste!

Melbourne's attack might be best represented by their least definable player

I gotta say, I really enjoyed writing this one.

Melbourne's attack might be best represented by their least definable player

Superb piece, Binoy. It’s a difficult position to be in as a potically interested football fan; obviously no one wanted the World Cup to affirm all the bloody, grisly prophesies of militarised hooligans with GoPros, or brutal police crackdowns. That the event hasn’t been plagued by that is of course a relief.

But then there’s something a little sickening too about how the big tourney has smoothed over Russia’s international image, and pictures of Putin smiling and joking with the Saudi Arabian King, or cheering on with Macron reminds us that football – perhaps wrongly – is a sedative we can’t just allow the ugly to use to make us forget their ugliness. Pussy Riot’s pitch invasion was a bit of a jolting reminder of what’s been buffed away by what was a wonderful World Cup.

Putin’s football gambit: How the World Cup paid off

But Real, journalists do experience minute dissection of their writing in comment sections all the time, all over the Internet. In many of my pieces on the Roar, someone is there criticising – often with justification – me for writing too prosaically, or pointing out some grammatical error. It doesn’t feel good to read, but no I don’t take it personally because I’ve submitted and had published the work knowing that it’s flaws will be rightly judged and, yes, publicly picked apart by those who care to. If you wanted to post an article dissecting my value as a writer on a website solely designed to host articles and discussions on the world of sports writing, then – this fairly ridiculous hypothetical notwithstanding – it would be perfectly appropriate.

As to whether that would take things too far, well that’s a matter of opinion, and not something I would have thought a writer and editor would use to try and censor an opinion piece by calling for its removal.

An exhaustive search to discover the point of Robbie Kruse

I’m not going to think about how a player’s parents might feel while analysing the details of a poor performance, good lord. Football writers are also not national team cheerleaders who shouldn’t write anything if they haven’t got anything nice to write at all. This is not some unexpected hit piece coming out of the blue; Kruse’s place in the team has probably been the most questioned selection over the past 2 years, there is nothing inappropriate about writing on it. Don’t be so melodramatic.

An exhaustive search to discover the point of Robbie Kruse

I’ve passed no judgement on Kruse as a human being. Obviously, the abuse he’s received online isn’t something I condone; I submitted this piece yesterday before I’d really seen that had happened.

I’ve pointed out many of the things he did right during the game, all of which are exactly the kind of under-appreciated contributions people argue justify his place in the starting XI. But my view is he made almost as many intangible mistakes – especially in that one defensive example – that many might have missed, and the sheer weight of his on-the-ball inadequacies – again, a judgement of him as a player – heavily outweigh his virtues. I don’t think anything he’s done warrants personal abuse, and I surely haven’t abused him personally here.

An exhaustive search to discover the point of Robbie Kruse

FFA make a statement on the VAR’s error last night. Apparently a “technical failure” meant the VAR didn’t have access to the telling replays. They did nothing to alert the on-field official, so the game was resumed, and when the decisive vision was accessed, it was apparently “some minutes” later and so too late to intervene. Astonishing incompetence, on the biggest night of the season.

How Melbourne won the grand final, and how the Jets lost it

Thanks James, I have to trawl through a number of sites for the stats; Fox Sports and the A-League website’s stats area can be good, and I’ve recently discovered, which has very detailed player stats database, and can be sorted by per-game, per-90 minutes, or by raw totals. Transfermarkt is used for appearances, team formations, and starting XI information. There can be certain amount of inconsistency between these source, I assume this must be due to the way each outlet tracks and records the individual metrics.

A stat-and-a-half for every A-League team: Part 1

Very soft, especially on replay.

Adelaide United vs Central Coast Mariners: A-League match result, highlights

Quickly googled to see if, on the vain off-chance, Singh was Australian. Needless to say my face went All-White when I saw who’s got him. He looks excellent.

Wellington Phoenix vs Perth Glory: A-League match result, highlights

Does seem a questionable approach by Kurz to set up so narrowly when the last 12 months of Sydney dominance has relied so clearly on the full backs affecting the game. Allowing them space was a risk. Looked as though Ninkovic and Mierzejwski got back into the swing of things, as Tim says, playing almost symmetrical, outside-in roles on either side. Saw it earlier on in the Cup when Mierzejwski made his club debut too. A very potent, organised team have added another weapon to their arsenal, an example of Arnold’s impressive appetite to improve; the system seemed almost perfect last season, but by modifying what used to be Holosko’s role, he’s made it better.

Adrian Mierzejewski, Sydney FC's marquee playmaker, cracks open the FFA Cup Final

There is a missing link, showing Mauk and Kamau tracking back. Here it is.

Joyce immediately building a new defensive foundation at City

The United States have lost to Trinidad and Tobago, and are eliminated. Honduras ended up in the playoff spot, and will face Australia. Honduras are a very physical side, who mask their technical flaws with brawn and aggression. Ange Postecoglu will have to rouse his team for a fight, over two legs, with them now fully aware he will not be accompanying them to the World Cup should they succeed.

Cahill saves the day again, Australia keep World Cup hopes alive

I hope they have a good season Waz, but don’t blame me, blame the cards ?. Of course, you’re right about the finals appearances, but the stat stopped at 2012 because that’s when the Bakries took full ownership.

A 2017-18 tarot reading for every A-League club - Part 1

“Do you adjust your game for just one result?”

Erm… well, yes Ange, when the result is as important as this one, I’d have thought that’s exactly what you do, especially if your more principled approach has been stumbling on similarly poor pitches recently.

Socceroos set for scrapfest on dodgy pitch

Ah, yes, well the article was meant to be a specific look at the strikers working out of view overseas. The A-League’s established Aussie strikers – Maclaren and Taggart – as well as the younger ones like Scott at WSW would certainly be on an Australia-based list.

Where in the world are all of Australia's strikers?

JB, the graphic was pulled from the A-League website, from the match stats. It’s a diagram simply showing the average position each player took up on the pitch over the course of the full 90 minutes. A heat map might have communicated a similar story, but this one was cleaner. It was not created by me, nor is it intended to illustrate a specific situation, hence no ball. My apologies if there was any confusion.

Okon and the Mariners are maturing into finalists

Stats regarding defensive errors have been taken from Squawka, as have other numbers regarding pass completion, possession, and so on. As to how exactly they define the concept, it’s hard to say, although it isn’t surprising to see City and Brisbane at the top.|season-2016/2017#0#90#any#any#season#1#all-matches#total#desc#total

Sydney FC are the faultless sheriffs of the A-League

Ah yes, an errant letter S. Thank you my good Prawn.

Belgium have no excuse not to make the finals

The defensive nature of the tournament so far is a symptom of the 24-team format, as well as major international tournaments more generally; with only eight teams to be eliminated at the end of the group stage, draws and narrow wins are going to be more present, with five points likely to secure passage through to the knockout stages.

Furthermore, international teams are, barring some nations like Spain and Germany, usually cobbled together fairly haphazardly, and coaches will almost always prioritise sorting the defence out before anything else. It’s rare to see blowouts, especially early in tournaments, for this reason. As far as the pre-tournament claims that the expanded format will mean the presence of highly uncompetitive teams, that doesn’t seem to be a problem so far.

And Spain only eking out a victory, well, that’s classic Spain right? Didn’t they win their first World Cup on the back a string of narrow 1-0’s?

Euro 2016 contenders fail to stamp authority