Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wishful thinking from rugby league, and home form

As rugby league struggles towards its death bed, Brisbane's sports journalists are desperately trying to point the bone at football. As crowds to rugby league plummet outside Brisbane, and interest in the so called rugby league 'world cup' drains away, Sydney and Brisbane papers run page one colour photos of the cup teams. Meanwhile, the greatest achievement of a team of any code, Adelaide's qualification for the highly contested Asian Confederation Cup is relegated to 10 pages in from the back.

Meanwhile, the Courier-Mail's football and basketball specialist, Marco Monteverde has hit the nail on the head as far as the Roar not winning at home and it has nothing to do with Reinaldo, Frank Farina or other Roar personnel. In his interview with Massimo Murdocca it was disclosed that:

"I think our mentality when we go away is to let the other team come at us first," Murdocca said. And perhaps the Roar's success at absorbing pressure before landing killer blows on unsuspecting hosts has them adopting similar tactics at home particularly since Frank Farina replaced Miron Bleiberg in late 2006 instead of taking the initiative in attack. "We can't really do that at home, we can't let other people come at us, because if we sit off, they'll sit off and we'll just be drawing all the time," Murdocca said. Or losing. Queensland has only tasted success 10 times in 37 matches at Suncorp Stadium, with the Jets having won five out of five in Brisbane.' 'Murdocca says Roar have no confidence at Suncorp' 27 October 2008
The salary cap does this. Teams with small overheads can afford to bore their fans on the evenly balanced chance of a win or draw at home. Sydney and the Roar with massive home stadiums to fill must entertain or loose their fan base. Remember how Sydney's home crowd disappeared in season two when the tactics were switched to defence?

And when the home team attacks all the visiting team has to do is absorb, absorb and then hit on the counter. If the strikers were good enough and athletic enough to get through the Newcastle, CCM or, particularly Adelaide, defensive walls - they would be earning big money in Europe. As Adelaide's Asian success shows, the quality to punch through a well disciplined back four of reasonable quality, but physical defenders, just isn't that common. Interestingly, it is Adelaide that have learnt the trick to their own tactic. Get a very strong, physical striker, stronger than your opponents defenders, who will barge through, dive, run at defenders in the box - concede fouls - Cristiano has the 2nd or 3rd highest foul rate in the league, but on will also win penalties and penalties win games, or make defenders afraid to tackle them, or barge through with headers. Cristiano's success highlights the Roar's Van Dijk and Newcastle's Zora's failure - the later try to get there with finesse and skill. A waste of time if you don't have physicality.

Only Melbourne with its massive rain, hail or shine interest in watching sports has been able to survive playing attack at home. And it has been painful for the Victory faithful - failure in season one, victory in season two and, despite a late run, failure in season three. But their Asian appearance attracted so quality foreigners to allow success and again in season 4.


Ed said...

Interesting theory about the cap, it had never occurred to me.

Anonymous said...

dunno, something felt a bit strange to me about your post.

so the roar go away from home and sit back on the counter, so they win. and that`s good. but its bad when other teams come to brisbane and do the same to them?

against the cross bar had a post saying that the roar could be off to ballymore next season. and they could be changing names. what do you think about these possibilities?

there is a lot of pressure on at the moment, but the roar should have been expecting tougher times this year. couldn`t expect adelaide and melbourne to play as badly as they did the year before. so that is 6 decent teams and only 4 playoff spots ...