The Roar are preparing for what could be the most important game in their history. On reflection, after losing only one away game, perhaps the most important game was the early season 0-1 loss to Newcastle - when all the teams still looked equal.
Andy Harper made a comment on Saturday night along the lines of - the FFA would be very pleased with a top two finish from Queensland. Then quickly changed the subject. Because that is it. If Melbourne is Australia's sports watching capital - and surely it is - then Brisbane is its most competitive. Cricket goes head-to-head with football - and last year basketball choked. For fans, union (with whom the Roar share a home), rugby league, cricket, netball, (now) tennis and compete for seasonal family interest. The Gold Coast competes with Brisbane. And so it goes.
I am looking forward to the finals. And the excitement of 50,000 crowd to watch the Roar bring home their first championship would be fantastic. However, what interests me most is the prospect of a seat in Asia in June (or there-abouts) 2010. For teams prepared to invest, the year long wait from qualification to playing in Asia is a real advantage. Adelaide showed us this. While Sydney, Melbourne and now Newcastle floundered, Adelaide learned from its first experience and used the Asia ticket as a bargaining wedge for its players - 'play for us and you will be seen by 1,000,000,000 viewers and the best clubs in Japan, China and Korea. Even footage will be seen in Turkey et al.
For the Roar, Asia will mean the big clubs will come to Lang Park. That is what the A-League needs. Mid season rubbing salt into the wounds of rugby league.
Not the Roar's fiat is in the hands of Melbourne and Adelaide, if they both win it is minor semi-finals. If one loses, the Roar must beat Perth and get to and win the final. If they both lose, the Roar win and they are off to Asia.
I wonder what Clive Palmer would think of that. No I don't.