Monday, February 11, 2008

A second bite at the most important game... Thanks to Central Coast

Given that Central Coast has already qualified for Asia, whoever wins the preliminary final automatically qualifies for Asia in 2009. This makes Sunday's game on the same level as the Roar's round 21 debacle against Adelaide. And perhaps more important than the final.

The prize is a fully funded Asian campaign including at least 3 home games. And as players jump all over the place to join a pre-qualified Asia Cup team, the importance to squad attractiveness is undoubted. And on that front the Roar has moved to shut down speculation on Reinaldo - he is to honour his contract for a further year.

Clearly the work the Frank Farina has done since Adelaide has been designed to keep the team out of the limelight and away from public pressure. Before Adelaide he appeared to expose them to the fire to inspire greater effort, clearly this backfired. Since he has used lock-downs and shields to keep them away from the press (allowing Kozzie to steel the spotlight and as it turned out put his side under pressure).

Kosmina rightly pointed out that the finals are a lottery, any of the three teams can win from here.

An 8 team competition, leveled by salary cap, has an intrinsic randomness built into it. After supporting a team that missed the finals for the first two years, it is interesting to watch a team like Adelaide squirm at missing out for the first time. And Lawrie McKinna was in the paper today banging on about how much respect his team deserves - steady on boys, life and football often has lessons just around the corner. And in this my respect for Frank Farina grows every time I manage to grab a few words from him. As a former elite player and coach of the Socceroos he has seen highs and lows. He of all people knows the power of the press for good and evil. I appreciate his passion when his side is on the pitch, off the pitch he is the epitome of the Kipling line:

'.. meet with triumph and disaster and treat these two impostors both the same.. '

1 comment:

The Round Ball Analyst said...

...whoever wins the preliminary final automatically qualifies for Asia in 2009....

good point john, i reckon the roar made a massive mental breakthrough with their ability to close out such a crucial game, the first time i remember them doing that...but they've ben very up and down, so can they sustain that mental committment?

the jets meanwhile have been the opposite, very consistent of late...but sunday's loss and the way it came might leave a massive mental scar, and they will need to prove they can overcome it...GVE has been vocal this year about how his team are better able to 'grind-out results', but they werent able to do it on sunday...

bloody fascinating, ain't it?