Too little too late from Melbourne. For the Thai team hiring two quality Brazilian strikers was not enough to keep their league in the ACL. The brave face for the A-League was the principal that no more than 1/3 of the teams in a league could get automatic qualification. If true this puts pressure back to the decision not to accept Gold Coast - ironically shielding the Roar away from a third spot.
The real problem is that the A-League does not hold the stars the way that China, Japan and Korea does. This means more and better teams and 4 ACL spots. The additional ACL spots would have encouraged Australian clubs to expand and take more risks.
Europe is not a drain on China, Japan and Korea because of visa, language and cultural problems. These problems are less likely to be there for many Australian players.
Keeping their top players helps crowds and finances bigger player salaries. Bigger talent pools help too and bigger populations and less football code competition is also a significant advantage.
Also, players want to leave Australia - look at what Pim is doing goading Jade North to leave Australia - this would never ever happen in Japan.
Back to the game - Melbourne played interesting in tight spaces.
Adelaide's game was postponed due to the mourning period in China.