The key numbers are:
Osaka Gross Revenues - $50 million AUD
Adelaide Gross Revenues - $7 million AUD
Australian Rules Football team typical Gross Revenue = $40 million AUD
So, if the Australian public want internationally competitive A-League teams it can be done. Transfer support and potential talent from AFL to the A-League.
New teams at Gold Coast and North Queensland are steps in this process. It is hard to see the Gold Coast sustaining an AFL team as well. And now that Clive Palmer has backed football, it would seem unwise for a millionaire to back another code, particularly now. And Jade North's move at the end of the season from Newcastle to North Queensland is another great step. I understand that part of his commitment is the development o local indigenous talent. A long overlooked step which the AFL has plied for a generation.
And of the game: some of the commentating was disappointing. Ross Aloisi was quick to point out and shake his head at the errors of his former team. Yet for much of the game they held their own. And for other A-League teams they would have learnt a troubling amount. Particularly about the short passing game and playing in tight positions. You could see them learning.
I suspect if they had played at Hindmarsh first the result and the pressure may have been different. But Osaka would have seen the tapes. They would have known how Adelaide play. And I suspect they would still have outplayed them. Less players, probably because of the language and cultural barrier, the work permit barrier (few English or other European relatives up there) and reputation barrier, leek out from the J-League. And the commitment from fans, players (no cricket, rugby codes or AFL to tempt them) and coaches (to technical excellence) and the age of the competition, gave Osaka a huge head start. Their coach acted and re-acted - stretching the defensive fortress to braking. Vidmar hasn't been used to that, even in the ACL.
While the second leg is still next week and anything is possible, what next for Adelaide? Well I think the end of the season will see dramatic changes in their line-up. I think Travis Dodd, despite his lack of fitness will be snapped up somewhere is Asia. So will Vidmar and all he wants to take of his coaching team. He may well get to pick who goes with him, particularly if he ends up in the Japanese 2nd division. Foreign teams will pick through the squad. I think Cassio will be rewarded with a major contract somewhere - I thought he was a stand out in the second half last night and people will notice that. Cristiano will go, against a high quality ref and defence he was disappointing, but he is a man in hurry and will not show loyalty to fans, club, just like he doesn't to the A-League now. Other A-League leaguers will work their way through the best of the rest, particularly goalkeeper Galekovic. Of course if they qualify for Asia again this year, some may be tempted to stay for another shot (Melbourne Victory if their keeper goes overseas?).
Whichever team qualifies for the next ACL expect the next big thing to come knocking on their door.
Meanwhile, Zora has packed his bags and left Newcastle. he was only a goal scorer in 2nd division and we are better than that. And Lei Lei Gao seems to have mentally done the same for Wellington. The later will further discourage A-League teams from considering Asian players for their squads.