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.. '