Friday, February 27, 2009

Gold Coast set to pinch another Roar

After pinching 5 managers, including the Roar's ticketing expertise just before the season started, and Minniecon, GCUFC look set to pinch one of the Roar's crowd favourites, Seo.

Gold Coast seem to be targeting the Roar's following rather than building their own.

This is very unfortunate for the development of the A-League. The FFA need to have a look at Gold Coast's strategy.

We need new people watching the game, not people moving from watching the Roar to Gold Coast.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Become a Roar member

For about $100 bucks a year more on your season ticket you can become a Roar member.

This feels pretty good.

What you also get is lots of opportunities to meet Frank and the players. Some of them are more approachable than others and you need to remember that they are, mostly local, football players.

You get to talk to them after each home game (10 to 11 times per year).
Have one of them sit at your table for lunch each year (about $30 extra).
You get an invite to their Christmas party.
First preference for special games and the end of year event.
Once they get to know you, you can then talk to them before and after games. Maybe even have them recognise your voice when you shout out during a game. (oops)
Plus you get invites to training sessions.

As a fan, I think Frank is brilliant. He is obviously extremely clever. But if, as a fan, you have something to say, he will listen. I have even shared the odd joke with him.

All-in-all the Roar is the most family friendly team in the A-League. Less people take up these opportunities than you'd think, so you get great access. I don't really understand why others don't. Particularly, when you look at how hard it is to get access to other clubs of all codes. The Roar undersells itself as a club.

Some players don't have much to say, and that is fine. Others strike you as having wisdom beyond their years. Plus, if you sit in an open training session you can see how the older guys - who have already been there and done that - coach the youth. It is easy to see why the Roar has the best youth development program (Sydney won the youth league because of the sheer numbers across greater Sydney, but the Roar can get the youth to the big time).

It is a privilege and fun to hear what players have to say. I spoke to Reinaldo after his first trial game, via an interpreter. I have had regular conversations with him and he now has perfect English. His insight into the game from his Brazilian background is phenomenal.

The Roar know they need to do more outreach to the 10s of thousands of kids who play football in winter. I understand they are planning more activities this winter and I hope my team to get to meet them. Most of the kids in my team just don't have access to games and Foxtel.

BTW, I can never understand what Charlie is saying.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Jonas Salley

Jonas Salley played quite a few games for the Adelaide youth team. He single-handedly stopped the Roar getting to the ACL in the last home and away game of last season, and this season in final of both the Youth championship and the A-League. He was Adelaide's best player in the preliminary final. Yet Adelaide have dumped him. He is available to the highest bidder for next year. Charlie Miller thinks he is Adelaide's only hope for this year's grand final. Any interest Roar?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mitch Nichols

Mitch Nichols almost had his Carlos Hernandes night yesterday. He could have scored 4. But let's face it, Hernandes has only had one Hernandes game. the rest of the time Melbourne were talking about how good he'd be if he was fit.

Mitch ripped the Adelaide defence open 4 or 5 times last night. He just couldn't score. He hasn't had a night like that before and he won't have another. This was his first preliminary final. Last year he got 111 minutes in one of the 2 semi's against Sydney. This year he has really stepped up.

When Mitch came into the team for Miller this year he added the will to win to the team. Last night Miller brought that, but too late.

Miller also had a great cameo last night. Nearly burst through Adelaide twice and won free kicks as well. Just last week he looked too injured to play. That is next year's challenge for Frank, playing both wide and narrow, with both Nichols and Miller on the park.

Keep going Mitch. It's all up for you.

Adelaide 1 v Roar 0

The moon wasn't out last night. The sun didn't come up this morn.

The alarm didn't go off. The lights don't work.

Just leave me. I'm still asleep. It is better that way.

Till next year anyway.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Adelaide v Roar: Game of the A-League

It is without doubt the game of the year. It is the money game with real consequences for both teams. Whoever wins the grand final will have less consequence. It may be the biggest game the A-League has had in terms of consequences.

For the Roar, they are at this point for the second year in a row. The ACL in Melbourne and Brisbane could generate the interest to make the A-League. This year they have a much, much better team and they are playing the type of game that the FFA is endorsing for the next generation of Socceroos. Whether they could do three in a row to give themselves another shot if they loose tomorrow is a real question mark. However, next years increased competition is a 2 edged sword. It reduces the overall odds of success. But the 36 (23 - 5 foreign x 2) new 'Australian citizen only' spots have weakened virtually all teams except the Roar and Melbourne. And there is some chance that these two will now dominate. Unless Gold Coast win everything - I'd sign up for that not happening right now.

The Roar men have not won a significant trophy. They and their fans know that. However, they have only lost one of their last 10 games and that was to Melbourne. This is a very different side to the one that struggled in the first half of the season with Reinaldo playing injured up front with Tim Smits.

For Adelaide, it is possible that the fate of the club hangs on the result of this game. Given that the owner has publicly stated that the club is for sale, and we know the impact that the financial crisis is now having on the construction market, I am surprised that the Adelaide sale is making little more than minor throw-away lines in A-League coverage. If Adelaide qualify for the ACL the club is worth substantially more than if they do not. All players and coaching staff will be concerned about what a new owner may mean.

The players who are already leaving Adelaide will be desparate to leave on a high. Sasa Ognenovski in particular has been tackling very much like Danny Tiatto. And has been lucky to only have 2 cards to his name. In the last 2 games his assignment has been Kevin Muscat. I wonder whether tomorrow his assignment will be Danny Tiatto. Are we heading for a really ugly outcome? Jonas Salley is playing too. He doesn't mind a bit of biff and his lack of match fitness may lead him in that direction. Interestingly, the Roar played last week better without Tiatto, with Seo putting in his best game for a long time - he even forced a save from one of his legendary long shots. Sadly, Frank Farina's claim that Danny is targeted by refs and can not do or say anything, is starting to lead to the conclusion that there may be other options. Surely any blow-up in this match would be the last straw. Yet in the games where he has been calm he has also seemed to disappear. Still, if you go a goal down it is Danny that gets the team back up.

The meetings between the teams this year - the only relevant match-ups - are a win to Adelaide and two draws. The Roar had the better of the last 0-0 at Hindmarsh. The Roar will have to do plenty to win against a partisan crowd and a team that is still the best in the A-League at their game - the defensive grind-out-a-result that John Kosmina taught them.

Both teams will be desperate to win. Desperate not to lose. Perhaps the more desperate will blow a fuse, cop a red and lose? The ref, Strebre Delovski, will have a say on how it all pans out. How quickly will yellow cards be handed out? What do the press reports of the Roar prepared to win ugly mean?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Adelaide United Update

I was struggling to understand Vidmar's outburst and the reaction by the club, Vidmar's subsequent statements and the reactions to that.

Now I understand.

Vidmar has been under a volcano of pressure. And his outburst has put the club into damage control to protect its goodwill. Goodwill in an accounting sense. The major item of value on many professional club balance sheet.

According to press reports released today, last week the owner of Adelaide was on TV last week saying Adelaide United was for sale and that the price was $5 million.

The value is in the prestige of the club, what it has done, what it could do, who plays for it and how many fans it has.

Adelaide United is a very tightly run club. Across all areas and particularly in financial management. They have been around a long time and understand the benefits of making sure everything is done on the right scale for the potential revenue including sponsorship.

The international financial situation and success in the Asian Champions League may well have proved key in any decision. It would also be a motivator to cut costs to maximise the net income and ultimate sale value. Convincing Vidmar to stay - and not sign with a Japanese club - may have been an issue. Selling or reducing the player costs may have been another. As would minimising the coaching and operational costs. But there are other players that must be kept for any new owner.

It is easy to see how this would upset the player group and, in particular, the highly valuable coach of the year.

During a takeover you want to keep your goodwill and keep the people happy. The new buyer needs to know what they are getting.

Has this been resolved by Vidmar speaking out? I doubt it.

'Vidmar said he would be sad to see owner NickBianco relinquish control of the club. But he said speculation that Adelaide United could be snapped up by a foreign consortium wasn't surprising.' Richard Earle 'Fined $2,000, but Vidmar vows to fight on' The Cour-Mail 18 february 2009 page 85

'Last week, Bianco declared on local TV that the club was up for sale, but no-one was keen to take it out of his hands at that point.... It's believed Bianco wants $5 million for an owner to take the club off his hands.' 'Adelaide up for Sale' Australian Football Weekly Issue 22 Feb 19 - 25 2009, Page 5

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Vidmar miss-quoted! VW to sponsor United

Vidmar was referring to the car the VW Passat. He mistakenly thought that they were made in Port Adelaide. And that Adelaide is a Passat town.

Who wants to coach Adelaide? Damien Mori?

Vidmar now says it was planned...

If it was, the FFA should through the book at him. His comments have damaged the sport.

However, I doubt it was planned. Adelaide United need a lesson in humility. Something it is now clear that they have not learnt. Sport is not about results at all costs. Collateral damage is not acceptable. Quality role models accept defeat for what it is, they tribute a better team, gracefully concede their weaknesses - leading with their own.

Adelaide may well go on to win from here. If they do football in Australia will be the worse for it. It will not be a fairytale. It would be a victory for someone who has lost sight of their role as a community leader.

The A-League paradise club is closing ranks around him - a good development - anyone remember how Frank Farina was left out to dry after being hounded by SBS?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Consentrate Roar it is the Asian Champions League

Adelaide v Roar is much more important than the Grand Final. The winner gets the other ACL spot.

Brisbane awaits its chance to get on the football map.

Time to do your job FAA

Ok so Frank got a fine and Danny got a fine. Now it's time for Aurelio to cop his.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Aurelio Vidmar

I watched the major semi-final last night. Then I watched the Fox Sports post match interviews. What I didn't know was that Aurelio had gone further in the after match press conference.

'If someone's not happy with something, they do whatever they can to fracture it. That's what they do. Whether it's jealousy or ego, whatever it is, it certainly smacks of that at our club at this point of time," he said. "Everyone is involved. I am not going to name names, everyone involved with the club is involved very heavily. I couldn't give a damn about my future. This club will never win anything until it gets rid of it.' Fox Sports.
He went further. Saying very negative things about the city of Adelaide.

Sometimes when you push yourself to the limits of your potential, when you start punching outside your weight, you can say and do things you do not mean. Other people's actions, performance in this case of players, and the things they say can sound like an attack. It can feel like the world is against you. Sometimes you need a rest, sometimes more.

I had assumed that Aurelio's comments were part of a strategy to pick his players up. After all the achievements this year, I thought that Adelaide United had proved that they were human, perhaps even a little burned out. Newcastle and its fans would sign-up for a 4-0 loss to Melbourne in the major semi final. And what about Wellington, where was Aurelio's empathy when his side beat them 6-0?

Adelaide need to get over that they lost 0-6 to Melbourne in a final. It just is not that important. Sometimes you win and sometimes you get hammered.

After the week Victoria has been through of course their players are going to be up for it. They and their fans wanted to show their solidarity to bushfire victims. That is bigger than club in-fighting.

Aurelio Vidmar had a chance to coach in the Japanese J-League. He should have taken it. That would have shown how strong the A-League is. Right now Aurelio Vidmar owes Adelaide something bigger than an apology. And I don't mean going back and winning a football match or two.

He also owes the A-League. He has damaged it. Community leaders need to be able to accept losing in a team game.

Aurelio has apologised. However, if there is a conspiracy against him then that needs to come out and be put on the table. The air needs to be cleared.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Wellington Coaches say Bertos not Smeltz

Wellington Coaches have awarded Bertos their player of the season. I agree with them. Wellington had a number of purchase failures this year, particularly Kwasnik. But Bertos' move from Perth was a good one. Shane Smeltz was not even in the top 3. Their scoring started before Smeltz decided to move to the Gold Coast.

I agree with them. The first past the post system in which all A-League players vote after each set of 7 rounds distorts the outcomes and forces focus on goal scorers Smeltz, Miller etc. The clubs' inhouse systems voted by coaches using 3 votes, 2 votes and 1 vote systems are much more aligned to overall input and lead to rewards for playmakers and the most significant contributors.

By the way, this is my 400th post.

Victory 4 v Adelaide 0 - could have been anything

I watched in amazement. 36,000 Victorians came out to see a repeat of season 2's 6-0 grand final. And they just about got it. Ernie Merrick said Melbourne played their best game ever. I believe that. And Hernandes, off the plane from playing for Costa Rica, played the best game for an individual so far in four seasons of the A-League. Yep. And the stats show that. Hernandes - one goal and the other three assists.

Coach Vidmar disclosed after the game some startling news. He said the result was caused by some issues 'that have been around the club for some time.' Crikey. What they are was not spelt out. Ownership? Funding? Player infighting - most likely. So many Adelaide players are on the move it is hard to pinpoint who would be at the heart of it.

Travis Dodd talked about the performance being 'garbage'. And needing to think about whether they want to be here. Both Dodd and Vidmar questioned whether the club should be anywhere near the finals.

They will use these words to build for next week against the Roar. And it may work. But even if it does, could they possibly face up against Melbourne again.

I can see Frank Farina trying to shield Roar players from this hype. After all I think over talking and thinking this is what got the Mariners and Adelaide into their messes. Both went out saying how tough they were going to be. For the second game in a row Sasa Ogenovski went in hard and got an early yellow card - for negative benefit. Cassio, clearly over-whelmed by the game got himself a second yellow card then gave the crowd an 'up-yours' fist. (My theory is that Sasa, a real handful for the Roar - causing fights with team mates 2 or 3 times could be in the thick of it, as could Cristiano - who sometimes comes across as a hothead and has been mysteriously benched for key games).

The Roar now (again) face their biggest game. Because with Melbourne already qualified for the Asian Champions League, next week's Adelaide v Roar is the most important game. The winner gets to go to Asia. And gets big name Asian teams playing in front of their home crowds. And gets agents pushing the best foreign players hoping to show their stuff on Asia TV. That is why next week is so important. Particularly for the Roar. That exposure will engage the sports mad people in Brisbane in football.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Roar 2 v CCM 1: Champaign football

The Roar were fantastic. CCM not so good.

Again Central Coast pressed hard in the opening minutes but soon ran out of ideas and steam. Again Mitch Nichols scored out of the blue. This time all the hard work was done by Massimo, and we thought he had scored until we saw the replay after the game.

It is amazing that Lawry McKinna cannot design a team that has Adrian Caceres in its starting line-up. When he came on late in the game he created the goal and set the potential for several others. But the CCM front line where not good enough.

CCM just don't look like the team that beat the Roar 2-4 early in the season. Matt Simon had a poor game, and from ground level looked quite thuggish rather than the stylish presence we became used to in the first half of the season and earned his Socceroos call up. John Hutchinson had some good touches of the ball. But loss his temper far too easily and with O'Grady and Simon was lucky not pick up a second yellow card. At half time, Hutchinson could be seen arguing with McKay, then Miller (from the bench) and then the referee - but his dangerous two feet off the ground tackle went unpunished. Even play his role in the CCM goal, Simon hacked down Miller off the ball. Reddy will also be disappointed with his save attempt.

At half time McKinna subbed Clarke, who looked strong and made some critical plays in the first half, and MacAllister, for (the Newcastle bound) Petrovski and Mrjda. And it paid immediate dividends for the Roar. The Roar put together some of the best football I have seen them play. And the their short passing inter-play to release McKay for his goal was the pick of the game.

Van Dijk didn't have his best game, along with the Roar speedsters he struggled on the slippery wet surface. Cernek had a good first start and will improve his finish in front of goal. He was subbed for Miller and we got to see Miller with Mitch. Tonight Miller looked under-done and maybe in pain. Mitch looked great.

The surprise of the night was the short term deal that saw Henrique (Andrade Silva) join the Roar on loan from Brazil as cover for Reinaldo. He came on for Mitch Nichols and got himself in the six yard box with a shot on goal with his first touch. The Roar were searching him out from that point - incredibly fast and playing across the park. He had several chances including an unselfish pass into Van Dijk - who couldn't finish, and a runaway from deep in Roar territory - O'Grady escaping punishment for dragging Henrique down by the shoulder.

Zullo had a great game, standing up Porter, and tonight running into the box.

Moore was brilliant. And his jet lag free performance included some great tackling that stopped CCM advances.

The Roar looked brilliant. Their short ball game was fantastic. Where was this early in the game.

The wet - which only opened up after the game - held the Roar to 23,000. But the atmosphere was fantastic.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Time to Roar

This is another big moment for the Roar as a club.

The disappointments at home at the start of the season, punched through by the 2-4 loss to the Mariners, robbed them of a crowd. Yet on their day the Roar are now up there with Melbourne - the best the A-League has.

The build up for this game has been low key. It is competing directly with cricket - for a game where only Australian crickets demise has made interest in a series against New Zealand.

Still the Roar must shine.

May the threats of violence from John Hutchinson be heard only by the ref.

Japan 0 v Socceroos 0: Coach Pim

Coach Pim has shown himself to be the zen of football. He calmed Australia. Told them to expect a tough match. Then when to Japan and calmly asked why the blue samurai were training behind closed doors. We where told Australia's defences were critically depleted, and yet Grella and Chipperfield, and Moore were at their best.

Japan had the chances to win, yet their skills shone everywhere except goal bound. Coach Pim had worked his magic, again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

John Hutchinson turns FFA informant

In order to save his flagging career, John Hutchinson has dobbed in his teammates, saying that they are preparing to have 'two, three or four' of their players kicking unspecified Roar targets on Friday night.

Buoyed by the favourable referring treatment Central Coast received last last and disappointed by their lack of footballing skills, the Mariners have vowed to step up their thuggery. Sasa Petrovski's tackle from behind that broken Matt McKay's nose is being held up as a heroic act. Also celebrated is Nic Mrjda's ability to split Andy Packer's lip with a swinging elbow and still win a free kick.

However, Hutchinson scared by his two match suspension for elbowing Melbourne Victory skipper off the ball and worried by FFA's ruthless pursuit of Danny Tiatto, has decided to clear his name by rat-ing on his team mates...

Or is this his way of promoting football?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jon McKain

At the start of the season Jon McKain was looking to come home to Brisbane. Based in Romania, he had played for the Strikers and for Frank Farina in the Socceroos.

Unfortunately, the Roar couldn't find a place for him. So he was given an opportunity for Wellington, probably by fellow Brisbane boy Karl Dodd who had also made his way back from Romania.

Jon played a key leadership role for Wellington both in defence and it the holding midfield role.

Recently, Jon said his aim was to get Wellington to the finals before deciding his next move. He still seems to hold out hopes of a return to Brisbane, although a return overseas is now also possible.

I wonder if the Roar will have a holding mid-field vacancy next year? Aggressive without aggression?

Monday, February 09, 2009


Thoughts and best wishes to all families struggling with our land of fire and water.

Details of FFA's commitments here.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Adelaide 0 v Melbourne 2: Tiatto strategy backfires

From the kick-off it looked like the OgMan was employing the strategy Adelaide used against the Roar at the end of last season. In his sights was hardman Muscat. The strategy, get some early cheat shots in, fire him up and get him on a card. But Muscat is also smart man and serves revenge cold or gets the ref to - ask John Hutchinson. It almost backfired straight away with Sasa Ognenovski diving in feet first and getting a card in the first few minutes.

As it turned the Victory were too good even with Adelaide dominating possession.

Sasa was lucky to escape a red. And we can see why Pim has encouraged him to go play for Macedonia.

Friday, February 06, 2009

CCM 0 v Roar 2: Dangerous

1. The pitch.
Clearly Bluetongue stadium maintenance program is under-funded. Tonight it was dangerous and led Josh Mc to be substituted before half time. Seo came on to play his best so far this year. Will the pitch be deemed playable for the Asian Champions League? If not where will they be played?

2. The Crowd
Where were they? Only 9,000 is small even for Central Coast. The fans seem to have deserted their team. Shame.

3. CCM
The Mariners played a strong, dominant first half. But their once great strike-force had nothing in the final third. A goal down at half time, the Mariners were pushed back on the defensive in the second half. They looked dangerous from set pieces, but their defence looks brittle.

4. Danny Tiatto
What the? Danny doesn't seem to be able to handle the pressure of big games. His strength is when the Roar go a goal down. Tonight he looked dangerous, to the Roar. On the edge all night it was no surprise to see him get his second yellow. His first was a two footer in the first half that could have been a red. But his second was a case of not being given the benefit of the doubt, he had the ball, MacAlister ran into him - anyone else, in fact a few times tonight, and it is play on. The Danny decides to have a go at the ref. He ($500) and the Roar ($1,000) have just been fined for that. So will he get to play again this season?

5. Charmed
While 3 Roar players were carded, I don't think any Mariners were. Not even Petrovski when he took out McKay's legs from behind. And Nic Mrjda's swinging arm went un-detected even through he split Andy Packers lip. Why wasn't O'Grady carded when he gave away the penalty?

6. The Promotion
The build up to these FFA funded finals has been deafeningly quite.

7. Craig Moore.
Terrific tonight. He is the only A-League player playing for the Socceroos next week in Japan. Pim said he didn't want other A-Leaguers exposed for their finals. So it is just Craig hopping off the play and onto round two against the Mariners.

8. Mitch Nichols
Dangerous and on fire. Warming to his play maker role and scoring and setting up goals. Amazingly left Matt Simon in the shade. (Header from a corner goal plus tripped by O'Grady for the penalty).

9. The ACL
How disappointed must the FFA be that it is Newcastle and CCM representing Australia in the Asian Champions League.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

It's a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder...

Less than a day away now. A win would set the Roar up for the biggest games in their history.

Biggest games so far:

- brain snaps in the last home and away game last year against Adelaide that saw Asia automatic qualification slip away and the chance of a home final at Lang Park
- 2-3 loss to Newcastle in the preliminary final

The last game this year at Lang Park needs a good tie up.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Sold. Why Newcastle and Wellington have actively found overseas contracts for their stars...

When a player off contract at the end of the season comes to club management half way through the year and says 'Match xyz A-League club's offer or I'm off.' And management can't - cause they are too close to the cap or the player is worthwhile but not worth more, management then have a massive opportunity to make money by selling the player overseas. So they do.

This happened when Jade North signed with the Fury and Newcastle bettered the deal with some Korean won. The same process, at least started, when Adam Griffiths signed with Gold Coast. And the same with Shane Smeltz being signed by Gold Coast.

It is clear, particularly for under-performing teams, as soon as a player announces another club is prepared to pay more, his club is incentivised - with nothing to lose - to sell him o/s. They just aren't going to have him next year anyway. Better to get him overseas and make something from the deal. Rather than nothing and having him play against you - a massive anti-fan move.

Jade North even put in in his contract - the Fury were cheesed because they thought Jade meant in principle, one day, he would leave within his 2 years - not before he even got there. Still Fury now have an even better deal with Fowler and perhaps Chipperfield.

Whether other contract selling post a player signing a transfer to an A-League hold up is yet to be tested. And who better to test it than Clive Palmer.

On a side issue, just why Newcastle seem to be emptying their decks is a real question.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Shane Smeltz - a bull in a china shop

Shane Smeltz has caused a PR nightmare for the A-League. In winning the golden boot, the Johnny Warren Medal (players' player of the year) and goal of the year, he wiped Australia from the A-League. But more than that few would rate as more than 'one of the' better strikers in the league. The first past the post split voting caused by players voting for their favourite player. Without penalties his goal scoring efforts did not match Danny Allsopp's 11. His goal of the season was good, but only as good as 6 or 7 other goals and surely not as good as Charlie Miller's long range side foot volley?

The result? Hardly a news ripple in Australia. In Queensland there was an expectation that Craig Moore's amazing cancer story would be rewarded. But no.

Even Wellington's basking glow was wiped out by Smeltz's very public move to the Gold Coast.

But Wellington, with nothing left to lose, got the last laugh. News soon broke that Wellington and Smeltz had signed a deal with a Turkish club shortly before the awards.

Gold Coast FC are ropable. And FFA have moved in to stop the deal. Perhaps it is outside the January window. Maybe even it was not Wellington's to make. Still how will Smeltz perform if forced to play for a club he is no longer interested in, and clearly thinks he is under-paid. From Gold Coast's view-point, they gave up a foreign spot for Smeltz.

Overall so many quality players were passed over for Smeltz. It all seems like a missed opportunity.

I wonder what Johnny Warren would think of a player playing for a foreign team winning this award and then using it to win a spot overseas?

Monday, February 02, 2009

John Kosmina

The A-League loses another paradise club member. What next to revive Sydney FC?

All clubs and their fans must be robust enough to miss out on the finals. For Sydney one day missing the finals was inevitable. And a long long way back next year. Will Gold Coast learn?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sergio Van Dijk

He is Dutch and speaks Indonesian. And has Indonesian grandparents. In fact wants to play for Indonesia in the Asia Cup. He is also a sensation - 1 goal (a pen) in his first 11 games for the Roar - then 10 in 10.

Matildas 2 v Italy 2

In a number of ways the Matildas surpass the Socceroos. There is an uneasy cross promotion between the womens and mens versions of our code. Both teams play Dutch. But the most capped Australian player is Cheryl Salisbury who ended her 15 year national career yesterday.

And yesterday the Matildas outplayed the World's 12 best, Italy. It was a small crowd made look smaller by being played in the day-time and having the cameras focused on the opposite side to the crowd - with both at Parramatta park avoiding the steaming afternoon sun.

The Matildas played a flowing full pitch game, while Italy pressed on the counter. But the big difference was the game was shown in high definition on free to air. Something, and an audiance, the Socceroos will not get until the 2010 World Cup. And the pictures in HD were fantastic - better than regular Foxtel - and added the atmosphere of a great game. Lisa De Vanna was fantastic.

The only negative was the ABC broadcast on delay - not sure why - a daylight saving quirk?