After last night, I didn't have much left. Our our Japanese corespondent has got it spot on here:
Somehow, this wasn't the typical Suncorp match. The last game I saw there against the Jets wasn't one either. All that possession and bombing forward that the Roar does did not ruin their defensive shape. Whilst Melbourne at times looked dangerous countering, Craig had the backline organised and it felt solid.
The Melbourne goal came from two uncontested headers. The Roar's tall timber was nowhere near Danny Allsopp and no one was near Archie. The goal in the jets game? A goal mouth scramble after a corner. Adelaide's recent winner? A badly marked corner (yes Cristiano was offside, but the defending that followed was rubbish) that's three points dropped.
Mass is impressing me playing wider on the right. He wants a goal. And he is trying to make it happen. A couple of his turns were great to watch. (John: Agree absolutely this is looking like his season).
A handful of Van Dijk`s touches were fantastic. He'd be this year's Johnny Warren medalist if he could take last night's first 5 minutes, and play like that across the full 90. Hell, if he could do that for 40 I'd be happy. (John: there were two Melbourne players on him whenever he got near the box. He does great tricks and flicks, but as the guy next to me said, he has one KRA - number of goals. And from the tone of today's Courier Mail my guess is that he could be replaced.)
Danny Tiatto is a liability. going in for a two foot lunge, then jumping up wild eyed and screaming at the ref? getting hauled away by your team mates? Kevin Muscat is also a thug, but at least he isn't a mad one. Roar was lucky not to be down to 10 men (not the tackle, but for the dissent). Dodd doesn't have Tiatto's footballing brain, nor his range of passing, nor his movement off the ball, but he isn't mad. And he isn't injured. He should start. (John: Tiatto looks like he could be out for a lengthy time - the rest of the season? He seems to have lost his impact since last season. Plus he can not get away with a thing. Anyone notice Fabiano charge him after the whistle? The refs provide no protection to Tiatto. Clayton isn't the only one who thinks Tiatto's time is up and yet he is already signed for next year).
Charlie Miller is tired. He is injured. And he doesn't trust his teammates. All those long range potshots he's taking when other options are available. But then, should he trust these teammates? Robbie Slater was saying that he thought he should be on the field for about 60 minutes. Frank is mad playing him for 90. He is gonna run down the most skilled player he has. its mad. He could probably use a week off at some point too. (John: Yes this was obvious last night. It is all Charlie Miller. Which leaves the Roar with few options. However, on the injury the prognosis seems to be that the hernia will burst in its own time which means they will use him while they can. What happened to the Roar of last year? Was Marcinho better than the club thought? Or is it Ognesovski that is leaving the whole?)
Mike Zullo is ready, willing and able to play 90. He is maturing, and would give a definite lift in pace, width on the left, and he has actually scored a goal this season. He should start. Out of all the bench players, he is the most ready to step up. (John: Without Zullo the Roar look narrow and very easy to defend against. Again in the Courier Mail Frank indicated that some U19s would be straight in - I would think Tahj Minniecon).
With enough seasoning this year, could Smits turn around and do a Matt Simon the next? HGe stays around the goal mouth. great tendency for a centre forward. and he won a couple of 50 - 50s with Kevin Muscat. Needs a bit more sharpness. And a lot more confidence. And the roar would have its centre forward. (John: And another 10 kilos in the gym. The Roar needs a Nay Fab or Cristiano. Our front line looks soft).
I didn't feel disappointed with the loss. My gut wasn't enraged. The Roar's attack all felt a bit toothless and aimless in the end. I couldn't argue to a Melbourne fan (if there was one over here in shingu) that my team should have won. (John: The future of the A-League requires winning teams in big population centres. The lack of interest in Adelaide's success demonstrates how important this is).
Umm, the penalty shouts? I thought Mass`s fall could have been one (but the challenge seemed fair enough for me), and Zullo fell over by himself. (John: My reflection last night was from the sentiment of the crowd. The FFA can not expect home crowds to keep showing up to have 50-50s go against them. The refing just looked one sided - look at the yellow card count (2-0)).
God, I ALMOST forgot the blackest mark on the Roar's performance. Packer's attempt to get Celeski carded. Going down in a heap clutching his face after Celeski's trailing arm went near him but DID NOT touch him? I`d love to see guys banned for this. If a handball can get some extra time out, this kind of simulation can cop it too. Got me wondering, was Cornthwaite lying when he went to the ref and said that Ney Fabiano spat at him? the video was inconclusive for me. They can ban Danny too for his two foot lunge, or for dissent, or anything really. Saves him coming off with a red card and leaving the team a man down. He is a red card waiting to happen. which is a pity, cos there is a good footballer in there too. (John: On the Packer incident given that that ref gave a free kick, it should be assumed that he thought it was intentional. Therefore it must be a yellow card or a red. Yet after the kick was taken the ref ran passed Celeski and touched his arm - which made the crowd very suspicious. If he though it was unintentional - why give a free kick? If he thought Packer dived, he should have been carded).
Dunno how many weetbix Lawrie McKinna is feeding them down at CC, but Frank should send a spy down there to find out how they are getting so much self belief. I've got a bad feeling that it comes from the top down. Frank is feeling the pressure, and it shows on his team. (John: The squad looks very thin now. Given that Van Dijk has been a failure, Miller is injured, Reinaldo is injured, Tiatto is injured, Kruse is injured and getting into trouble, it isn't clear where the solution is coming from, although football is about people standing up without notice). The CCM is all Matt Simon, who can work off Sasha Petrovski. You would have though after 4 years the Roar would have got their player acquisition right. But then some of their youngsters have not paid off - Grossman, Kruse, Griffiths. The answer is you need strong youths who will be forgiven indiscretions. I think other clubs looked the international schedule and decided against investment in players that may get there, particularly for youth. Hence Roar got 5).
Bring on Ballymore. 10 - 15 k at bally will feel much more like a home. Suncorp with 12 k feels empty. good noise from the crowd though. I figure go to Bally, and then go back to Suncorp when you are turning people away week after week. When i see j-league crowds, this is what I want for the a-league and the roar. Not the numbers, but the passion of the fans. especially the lower half of the table teams. Crazy bastards get smacked 3 - 0 by an Urawa or some other big club, and they are singing and stomping the whole way through, then they give their players a clap off. We DO NOT want the kind of fan who jumped on the basketball bandwagon, but then jumped off after a couple of good seasons. Build the love a-league, build the love ...
(John: The trouble with Bally is that the crowd could be 5,000. Public transport is very difficult there and currently the whole crowd uses buses and trains. In the pre-season I thought about going to Perry Park till I looked at the transport - an hour each way. Ballymore would be seen as a backward step and could encourage long suffering Roar fans to switch over to Gold Coast which is on the trainline).