Central Coast was offered a gift by FFA and they took it.
While Melbourne and the Roar have been forced into inconvenient and tiring re-schedules to support Adelaide's Asian matches, CCM caught Adelaide at their lowest ebb. While the Roar played Adelaide as a warm-up to their ACL run, CCM benefited from playing a team coming down fast.
Watching the game, it was clear that CCM have used every minute of the 3 and half years of the A-League to build a champion team. Their strike power of Simon, McMaster and Petrovski, backed up by Caceres, matches that of Melbourne. Contrast this to the Roar and Sydney who (apart from season one for Sydney) haven't been able to live up to their attacking promise.
The Roar in particular looks vulnerable. Reinaldo looks to be out for the season. Kruse for most of it. Tiatto hasn't reproduced last year's spark and make now be out injured for a number of games. Moore (our best wishes to you Craig) seems set to rush back into the team. The club admits that Miller's injury is a time bomb. Other players just have not lived up to their expectations. And half way through the season none of the young potentials have had enough game time to be realistically relied upon in numbers. Injury, bad luck and international duty have stepped in the way.
The Roar has announced it is in the market for players. At the same, time Perth and Wellington have achieved major coups with Scottish and Brazilian stars. For Wellington it is a 6 week guest appearance by no less than Fred.
For the Roar a major new recruit will need to be of the caliber of Fred to turn their home season around (only 5 games left). American MSL players are available but just who is there that would have the physicality to make a mark in the A-League?
All A-League clubs know that with North Queensland and Gold Coast entering the market local and international players will be able to pick and chose next year. For teams finishing in the bottom 4, particularly if they have regularly been doing so, tempting players will become relatively more expensive. Players, as Cristiano has done this year, will invest in ACL exposure, but only look to non ACL contenders if the money is better than the value of their skills. Next year the salary cap will, for the first time, limit the equality of the A-League. The buying power of the lesser teams will be restricted. Sydney found this out this week with the loss of Middleby, new star Santalab and other to North Queensland.