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Robbie Di Fabio

Roar Guru

Joined October 2010

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Freelance Sports Journalist specialising: football (soccer), AFL, cricket etc. Write for FFV, Goal Weekly, SoccerAnchor, The DAVE Network, AFL Online and The Roar. Follow me on Twitter @RobertDiFabio

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Hi guys, thanks for the feedback although I never actually said the AFL’s state leagues were broadcast on Foxtel – I’m aware of the ABC’s commitment to the second tier leagues. I merely mentioned that the affiliate competitions were televised on a weekly basis – evaluating its exposure in contrast to football’s National Youth League, where it receives almost nil coverage through the media and zero airing time on television. This is an area which must be rectified in the new TV rights agreements.

If youth are a key priority for Australian football, then the media ought to play its role in exposing our best young talent to the public eye.

TV rights pact important for football’s pathway

Thank you for the feedback, very much appreciated!

In the taxing environment of professional sport, tough decisions need to be made. To be frank, they should have been prior to this season, although I think the board, in tandem with the football community have realised that change is imperative for this club to prosper.

It is the end of an era for many of Victory’s seasoned veterans. Roddy Vargas – an influential stalwart in the club’s two championships and road en route to the 2010 final loss – will be fondly remembered by the supporters.

While a player overhaul will manifestly be conducted throughout the closed-season, this week’s signings – Gold Coast full-back Adama Traore, defensive utility Sam Gallagher from the Mariners, while young gun Julius Davies has just been cleared and will play tonight – are a good starting point.

TomC – Who should Victory target? Well I guess it depends on many factors, one is if Carlos Hernandez re-signs with the club. Although, if I had to pick one from left field, I’d be interested in signing Jason Culina – assuming he has recovered well from his knee surgery.

At 31 years of age, he still has plenty to offer the game. A Socceroo, in excess of 50 caps and two World Cup ventures, could provide the impetus Victory is lacking through the centre. A versatile player, he was utilised as a holding midfielder for many years in the national team, while also encompassing the ability to play out wide and in behind the strikers.

From reports, Mariners prodigy Tom Rogic is finalising details and will put pen to paper in the coming weeks.

Despite a horrendous campaign, Victory supporters should feel optimistic for a much improved 2012-13 season.

Long road looms for Victory parade

* If a shrewd community ownership model can be adopted, in conjunction with a viable marketing plan, then the Gold Coast region deserves a second shot in the A-League. After all, FFA’s market research revealed that Gold Coast was a viable market for Australia’s domestic competition.

Revived Gold Coast a catalyst for ‘united’ success

J Binnie – You’ve pointed out that I’ve used recycled material throughout the piece, although I have to disagree. This piece (a Goal Weekly contribution in the rewind section) is aimed at getting the readers up to scratch with the recent events on football issues.

As I’ve chosen to talk about the Gold Coast debacle, I have merely got my readers up to scratch with the current events that I’m discussing – termination of Clive Palmer’s A-League licence, his utter contempt towards the game, lack of community engagement etc and then onto the Sydney Rovers’ failed attempt at joining the competition on behalf of GCU (a signal that illustrates how that expansion into the region shouldn’t be a rushed).

Thus, the column is primarily meant to give my readers a thorough background on the state of affairs and reasoning behind my opinions.

Yes, the crowd capping of 5,000 was purely from a business perspective – to save money on stadium costs and staff allocations. However, what message does it convey to the average Gold Coast resident? How does that give locals the incentive to attend a GCU game, when the crowd is capped to such low proportions? It certainly gives the club a negative image, a notion that shouldn’t be apparent in the foundational days of an expansion club.

If Palmer was fervent about the game, and wanted his GCU venture to be a grand success, he would have made sure that there were marketing initiatives to aid in the promotion of the club throughout the city. There would have been a surfeit of community interaction through schools, shopping centres, local clubs etc. Different promotional strategies would have been adopted and furthermore he wouldn’t denigrate the code to such bizarre levels –regardless of his rationale behind the code’s problems.

In relation to the AFL – yes the Suns have been a remarkable success, considering their on the field performances have been rather poor to date. Regardless of the ex-Victorian contingent residing on the Gold Coast, the Suns encompass an astute strategic plan to tackle its local market and make the club a mainstay in the region.

If a strewed community ownership model can be adopted, in conjunction with a viable marketing plan, then the Gold Coast region deserves a second shot in the A-League. After all, FFA’s market research revealed that Gold Coast was a viable market for Australia’s domestic competition.

Revived Gold Coast a catalyst for ‘united’ success

Thanks for the positive feedback, glad you guys enjoyed it!

I guess both Melbourne sides have shown elements of potential on different scales this season, but ultimately have failed to deliver. Victory, with its big name status and successful history since the A-League’s inception, would be far more disappointed with the lacklustre performances to date. Although, as Fussball mentioned, there is still hope with seven games remaining. It feels like the never ending saga, however if Victory do hit their straps then it does have talent to dispose of any opposition of its day.

As we’ve witnessed on numerous occasions, players in the calibre of Harry Kewell , Archie Thompson and Carlos Hernandez can alone ignite a resurgence throughout the team, although as mentioned in my piece, the primary problem lies in the midfield and a frail defence – although this was somewhat rectified in last week’s derby.

In regards to Heart, winless in seven matches hasn’t helped its cause, after sitting second on the table leading at the beginning of 2012. The loss of Olyroos players is a massive hurdle to overcome in the next couple of weeks; however the return of Fred will be an enormous bonus – with their form slump coinciding with his stint on the sidelines.

I’m predicting Heart to scrap into the top-six, with possibly Sydney FC making way for either Newcastle Jets or Victory.

Melbourne derby reveals tale of two journeys

Cheers for the feedback, glad you enjoyed my piece! Yes, it will be interesting to see how this Victory team responds against the bottom of the table Gold Coast United. Anything but a win will be acceptable from the board, accompanied with its fans, or else we may see another casualty!
And Brisbane, from a football perspective, I hope they get the unbeaten streak record – 36 games is a mighty feat!

Lively week for the A-League arena

It’s rather depressing that you’ve made a zealous attempt to condemn my writing. It’s quite simple, if you don’t find my writing style appealing, then don’t read it mate.

There’s no need for your provocative comment, surely there was enough content throughout the piece to have an intelligent discussion about the many interesting issues currently confronting the competition.

Nonetheless, I’ll leave it at that.

Lively week for the A-League arena

Dave, just because I have an opinion that differs from yours, I’d appreciate if you didn’t question the integrity of my writing. In no way, shape or form did I base my Foschini sentiments on any bias nature. The club that was involved is irrelevant to my argument, whether it was the Mariners, Sydney, Jets, Adelaide etc isn’t the issue. Here in Melbourne, it gained widespread media coverage, hence it was a vast talking point. The piece is titled “round five talking points”, and this one was of them.

As Mark Bosnich anticruelty argued on Tuesday night (Fox Sports FC), he said that Victory had every right to dispute their case. Labelling the appeal “frivolous” – a paltry one-word response – is merely not good enough, in a time when there is concerted media attention towards the game. Melbourne encompassed underlying pressure from the media, its supporters and many within the general public to argue their case, hence saying the case was nilly willy is quite absurd.

The MRP didn’t need to agree with Victory’s sentiments, although showcasing a bit more respect towards the entire issue would be welcome in the future.

In regards to the card, like many within the football community, I believe it was worthy of a yellow ticket, at best. I find it absurd when people say “it was a studs up tackle”. He made contact with Broich on the side of his ankle – with no elevation when he made collided with his ankle. Football is a contact sport, and while I don’t condone rough conduct, from watching football for many years, I’ve rarely seen a palpable mistimed and/or late challenge be worthy of an immediate sending off. The inconsistency amongst A-League officials is beginning to be quite a concern. If that is worthy of a red card, I want to see consistency throughout the remainder of the season.

A-League round five talking points

Cheers for the feedback, I really enjoyed conducting the interview (with the very limited amount of time I had). Tom was a great character and very approachable, unlike some high profile identities in the industry.

The parallels between Australia and the US are rather significant. The A-League and MLS are quite similar in many respects. We’re a good 10 years or so behind in our development, although if we can learn the lessons from how the MLS cultivated into a renowned brand, then the A-League will be a shrewd success.

Patience and persistence is the key, although we’re slowly heading in the correct direction.

Should be a fantastic spectacle when LA tour down under, can’t wait!

Interview with Tom Payne, LA Galaxy president

Cheers mate, I’m really looking forward to the resumption of the A-League – been such a long closed season!

There are so many reasons to be excited. After analysing each team, the league is perceptibly ultra competitive, with little separating the 10 clubs.

Victory look to be a potent force – seemingly the best team, with an attacking force to be reckoned with, on paper anyway – while Brisbane, CCM and Adelaide should all challenge within the top four.

Sydney have strengthened, but looked vastly feeble up front, their major achillis heel. Heart, Perth and Gold Coast will probably fight it out for the final play-off spot.

It’s hard to envisage Newcastle or Wellington do much this campaign, although it is the A-League after all.

A-League 2011/12 season preview

Cheers for the feedback guys, it’s been a really enjoyable year covering the inaugural Mirabella Cup and giving my insights and opinions on what has been a great instalment into the Victorian football landscape.

I believe I’ll be reporting on the competition next year for Goal Weekly and FFV, although after speaking with The Roar today, I’m lead to believe that my future Mirabella Cup articles won’t be allowed to be uploaded on The Roar website.

It appears that The Roar doesn’t want pieces from other publishers anymore, and think my work has been a bit of a PR stunt for the competition. It’s disappointing as I’ve always desired to keep my readers informed on current events and offer my voice on various topics.

I’m vastly disappointed at this decision, as I loved sharing my sentiments on the competition, keeping fans updated throughout Australia on the competition, whilst also spreading imperative awareness on community football.

For all my updates on the Mirabella Cup and future pieces on all things football, (AFL etc) please follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/#!/RobertDiFabio ( @RobertDiFabio) and facebook http://www.facebook.com/robertdifabio.journalism

Mirabella Cup - season in review

There has been no set confirmation as far as I know. At the time of reporting this piece, that’s the date(s) I was told.

It would make more sense if the final was on Sep 17/18. If the Mirabella Cup final is the week after the VPL final, that means there will only be a three-day break between the semi final and the final.

Semi-finals beckon for Mirabella Cup honours

Cheers mate!
Can’t wait for the new season to start as well, should be an interesting battle.

I’m an Interista, I couldn’t say 29 Scudetti 😉

Italian Serie A 2011/12 season preview

No Milan sycophancy, I’ve merely gone a little more in-depth on the teams battling it out in the Champions League this season. I tried to write as much as I could on each club, but I would have gone on forever!

It will be interesting to witness how Roma cope with the new transition the club is implementing. I’d imagine a top six finish would be the minimum requirement under the rein of Luis Enrique.

Italian Serie A 2011/12 season preview

It’s great isn’t it Fussball! Such a diverse range of topics in different competitions, leagues and countries to discuss.

I’m eagerly awaiting the new Serie A season to begin, was vastly disappointed it didn’t commence on the weekend. There’s such a bias towards the EPL in this country, many football fanatics pay little to no respect to other nations that were the cornerstone of football for so many years. Despite what people say, I still love Italian football, and I hope it can prosper in the next few years.

I’ll attempt to write pieces on Italian football on regular basis, just depends on how much time I have to spare. Glad you enjoyed the preview!

Italian Serie A 2011/12 season preview

As MelbCro explained, the Semi-Finals are set at neutral venues, in a similar vein to the FA Cup. It’s exceedingly difficult to predict who will be crowned the winner, but it should be an exciting finale I’d imagine.

I’ll have all the updates in the next few weeks, thanks for all the support everyone. Hope you’ve enjoyed it!

Mirabella Cup: Knights, Northcote head to semis

Sorry for the delayed response Fussball and thanks for the advice, seems to have won over the fans!

The Final 6 was randomly drawn between the affiliating teams. So not teams were seeded, it was merely luck of the draw. Given all clubs are in the VPL this season, to a degree it’s a fairly even draw.

The Melbourne Knights vs Cobram Victory game was fairly entertaining, and it was great to see it televised to the football community. The FFV have done a great job in that respect.

Despite the FFA prohibiting Victory and Heart from participating, I believe the Mirabella Cup has been a great success thus far.

Mirabella Cup ventures to the quarters

Here is my match report from last night’s Round 6 Mirabella Cup tie between Heidelberg United and Green Gully Cavaliers. The Cavaliers scored three late goals to secure victory and subsequently move into the final six of the competition.
http://www.footballfedvic.com.au/pageitem.aspx?id=37516&id2=1&eID=7250&entityID=7250

Mirabella Cup: Final 12 commences

At the time of writing this piece (last Friday), both Springvale and St Albans were still mathematically in the race to stay alive in the VPL. Richmond’s 1-0 victory over South Melbourne on Saturday ultimately confirmed relegation for the new boys in the VPL this season.

Mirabella Cup: Final 12 commences

Cheers for the feedback once again Fussball, it is much appreciated as always. Thanks for the suggestions; I’ll endeavour to include those sentiments in my upcoming round-ups.

In regards to last night’s Heidelberg United vs Green Gully Cavaliers game, I conducted the match report for the FFV. Thus, it should be on the FFV site today. When it’s uploaded, I’ll post the link on here for you and other fans to read.

It was a closer contest than the result exemplifies- all three goals were scored in the final 15 minutes, nonetheless it was a typical style of football seen so often in cup football- fast paced, numbers forward, quick ball movement, desperation, do or die football. Exciting to watch.

Mirabella Cup: Final 12 commences

For all my latest work and comprehensive updates/views on sports related topics, follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/RobertDiFabio and/or Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/robertdifabio.journalism

Women’s football embarks on new era

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

Fussball…since Melbourne Victoy isn’t in the cup anymore, it would be rather funny to see fans getting on the Cobram bandwagon! It’s great to see a regional outfit/underdog perform so well and continue to make news around Victoria. I guess that’s the beauty of cup football coming into fruition.

The Round 6 (Super 12’s) draw is live 6pm tonight and can be followed via the Mirabella Cup facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mirabella-Cup/176078435776088

Mirabella Cup long weekend wrap

Cheers for the feedback everyone!

Fussball makes an interesting point, one that I noticed (in regards to Victory crowds not really improving after the conclusion of the AFL season). It is for this very reason why the FFA have frustrated me on several occasion. They always profess that the crowds will improve once the AFL season has finished and blame that as their excuse for sub-par crowds.

It’s like the FFA were using a get out of jail free card when in actual fact the crowds were very similar (or practically the same in Melbourne). In the end it came down to lacklustre marketing and poor community engagement amongst clubs and fans.

I remember in the 2006/07, Victory hosted Sydney at Telstra Dome in round 2 (September 2) with a crowd of 39k in the heart of the AFL season. This proves that there is the possibility of both codes co-existing regardless of the time of the year.

Nonetheless, hopefully the later start to the season in October will entice more fans to the games. The demise of North Queensland is rather disappointing but optimistically we hope the A-League can continue towards and upward trend and have favourable media publicity.

Innovation instilled in A-League draw

Thanks for the kind words Fussball, much appreciated. And to everyone else as well, thank you.

It was great to speak to someone of Alan’s calibre, he really does know the landscape of football from past to present quite well. Far too many people are too cynical on Australian football without having a genuine reflection on how far the game has progressed (yes there are problems but they can be fixed).

In regards to my writing, well I simply just attempt to have an honest, respectful and intelligent opinion or viewpoint on the issue and I go from there. As for writing style I’m not so exactly sure who has influenced me. I guess the more you write, the better you become at having your own style and agenda on a particular issue. I enjoy reading Michael Lynch’s work from The Age, I guess I use him as a benchmark on what type of standard I want to achieve.

Interview with former Socceroo Alan Davidson

Cheers for the feedback!
It was a really enjoyable interview. Alan gave me a great insight into how much football has progressed since his playing days and why we should be looking forward to the future.

I think many supporters take the current football landscape for granted. As Alan mentioned, the profile of the Socceroos was very minimal in comparison to today’s generation. The brand is slowly growing. Yes there have been mistakes along the way, however as long as we learn from those mistakes, listen to feedback and attempt to fix them then we will head in the correct direction. In his eyes, moving into Asia was the best thing for Australian football. It’s hard not to agree.

Seems as though his son Jason is also doing well in Portugal, which is great to hear.

If anyone is interested, follow me on my Facebook Fan Page by clicking the ‘like’ button: http://www.facebook.com/robertdifabio.journalism

Interview with former Socceroo Alan Davidson