Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Brisbane for Brisbane?

The FFA is about to move in to support Brisbane.

Perhaps it should adopt a membership model? Perhaps would support increased attendance?

Suggested changes

I suggest Brisbane replace Malcolm with Ivan Franjic. It would be a shame for him to only play one more game (as his injury cover ends). Bob, on the other hand, looks better suited to park football. And it would free up another foreign spot. Another Henrique?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gold Coast United

5,065 turned up in prime game time last Saturday night. Around 2,000 seemed to be supporting Melbourne. My guess is that most of the others are former Queensland Roar fans that used to travel to Suncorp.

Any ideas as to why the leading team has no fans?


Have a read of this about Jacob Burns over at Fox Sports. The list of his misdemeanours is growing - studs up challenges, penalty box hand balls...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mystery man

Mario Karlovic. I didn't even know we had a spot open (he is quoted in the Courier Mail saying he hopes he gets it after his 6 weeks injury cover).

Makes the whole Robbie Kruse thing a mystery. Why did Frank keep playing him and playing him and not giving Robbie a permanent spot? Kruse's game against Gold Coast - he came on fairly early - was his best ever.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Brisbane 1 v Sydney 0

A late goal from Moore heading across to Seri-goal Van Dijk saved this game.

I think Sydney were very lucky. Their defensive mid-field used the same studs-up neutraliser that got a Newcastle player sent off last week. That, that red card was turned over on appeal probably saved Sydney today from losing Gan and Byon on the field.

Still, referee Srebre Delovski and his assistant managed to miss a hand ball penalty for the Roar early on. Then again, this meant that Brisbane finished the game hard and looked like getting the winner from the 80th. Simon Colosimo, easily Sydney's best player, said after the match that Brisbane wanted to win more than Sydney and that was good to see.

The crowd was under 8,000. Pity the FFA know so little about developing the game. The club has one more early Sunday afternoon game to endure.

Wellington 0 v CCM 0

The NZ commentator said 'In truth, there were no goals in this game.' How could I disagree with that? There were no goals and it was only luck that were not even less, I say.

Boring long ball game for two teams that lacked imagination. Did CCM really beat Gold Coast 3-0?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Brisbane 2 - Perth Glory 4

John has been sick. So he has asked me to update his blog.

There are two questions from this game:
1. how far were Perth prepared to go to win?
2. does Chris Beath have the skills to referee in the A-League.

Dad and I watched the replay on tv and it was pretty clear that the Roar, while making some bad defensive mistakes ( is Bob Malcolm good enough to play in the A-League), dominated the game. Surely Chris Coyne should have been sighted for crash talking Reddy (2006 world cup AUS V JAP anyone? ).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Central Coast 3 v Gold Coast 0: Gold Coast implode

The Gold Coast Blue Rinse Set were hardly in this match. They appear to be suffering from taking victories for granted. Although the real message is about their lack of tactical wisdom. CCM were not great, the Blue Rinses were poor.

At last Shane Smeltz's on-field behaviour was called and he received a deserved 2 yellow red. I wonder how long his interest will remain in the A-League.

Jason Culina has lost some of the spark - the clutch that allowed him to step up to the next level - he had at the beginning of the season. Without him at his best the team has looked ordinary.

Gold Coast's back four are very reliant on strong arm tactics and were often caught out by a CCM frontline that, until tonight, had looked predestrain.

As for goal keeper Jess Vanstrattan, he made Higgins look like the first choice option. It should lead to former Adelaide keeper Robert Bajic's promotion.

Adelaide 0 V Melbourne 2 - all Muscat

Over the years he is perhaps the most influential player in the A-League. Kevin Muscat - out from the opening minutes of the season - played 90 minutes last night. And was the difference between the teams.

Sure it was a lucky goal from Ward on 6 minutes. But that made Adelaide play. And they just didn't have enough going forward.

Funny thing - at half time Fox had Gold Coast and Brisbane logos superimposed against Adelaide and Melbourne respectively. The score line looked good.

Looking forward to:

Henrique and Reinaldo combining at home - can't wait.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lang Park v Skilled Park

Gold Coast must be relieved. Gold Coast can look forward to a rapidly healing home ground. The NRL would also be relieved. The Broncos did the job on the Titans and secured a home final for Lang Park this Saturday. It could be the biggest rugby league game of the year - 52,000, full house. The Titans, victims of poor refing, also play a final, but not at home.

Six weeks ago it was looking like the Broncos would miss out altogether. Then bam. It all fell into place and Brisbane, Australia's rugby league town, will host a final. As it has for every year of the Bronco's history. No trouble keeping those fans happy. And setting a high bar for the other codes to make it in Brisbane.

Ernie Merrick complained bitterly about the impact of the Melbourne Storm and accumulated AFL games on his home ground 2009-10 record. The Storm played 48 hours before the Victory. The Broncos will play 24 hours before Brisbane Roar play Perth.

Brisbane Roar will have to wait a few more weeks before the noise from the NRL season leaves town. And the dust settles from the Broncos v Bennett and Sailor (moon).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Perth 2 v GC All Stars 2

Perth were up 2-0 for most of the game. Some very poor sighted refing allowed the GC Allstars back into the game. Is Miron allowed to hung the 4th official?

We like NRL Boss Gallop's take on coaches speaking out - it is OK so long as they don't say the refs were corrupt. Under that fair rule only one team would have been fined so far and it wouldn't have been Brisbane fined.

Melbourne copped some rough treatment from Wellington in their 1-1 draw. Manny Muscat lived a charmed life particularly for his elbows and all challenges on Ney Fabiano. But Fabiano copped the card. So FFA going to review it? No I didn't think so. No cards for Wellington - where is the consistency across games?

The big guy is back, bigger and better

Thud thud thud.

Sydney 0 v NQ Fury 1

John Aloisi missed a penalty. Fowler scored a fantastic lobbed goal.

NQ are going to cause teams real troubles later in the year when it gets hot up north.

Only 16,000 to a much hyped game that expected 20,000.

Come on FFA let's see better analysis and planning for all games, particularly block busters.

Newcastle 0 v Brisbane 3

Brisbane are back. Reinaldo is better than ever and could be the best striker in the A-League. Too fast, too strong, too clever. Great ball skills.

Newcastle, with the only defence to close out Gold Coast, had no answer to the Miller, Van Dijk, Henique and Reinaldo combination. Even Mitch looked very composed in a defensive mid-field post. Add to that a much better performance from Malcolm who is very comfortable moving forward.

Ivan Franjic made it possible. After a shaky start, 'Ivan the good' looked sharp in essentially a back 3 with Moore and Josh McCloughan (sub). Tiatto only last 10 minutes and I wonder how much more we will see of him. He has been terrific so far but he just can't hold his body together.

As for the goals, the first showed just how far Reinaldo has come. He put Newcastle's defence into disarray 3 and 4 times. Van Dijk was unlucky not to score several times. And Newcastle had their chances early including an offside no goal. But it was Reinaldo and Henrique that finished the business. First Reinaldo walked calmly through some rugby style stuff to bounce the ball off Mitch Nichols and then step back and cross for Henrique to finish. Then Miller, from deep in the Roar half lobbed the ball for Reinaldo to run through the middle and one-on-one keeper Kennedy - bouncing the ball off him to push the rebound into the goal. Goal one 24 minutes, goal two 26 minutes. Then after 70 minutes Brisbane held the ball for pass after pass, before Malcolm crossed for Henrique to lob into Miller waiting in the box - chest down back to goal and then swoosh turn and shoot. 0-3.

Newcastle looked beaten.

Can Brisbane play like this at home? If the can they must.

Only 6,000 to watch this game, and only the Roar fans were heard.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Keep going Socceroos 2 English guys are backing you...

Preview: Why England Lose by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski

Did you know Arsene Wenger has a master's degree in economics? And what has he learnt from it? Don't buy old players, buy in them their early 20s and sell them as soon as someone offers more than you think they are worth.

Another insightfull take from the Australian Financial Review:

'... the average proportion of English fans who are sure to watch their club next season: about half.' "Number's Up' AFR Review page 9

I read about this book in Friday's AFR Review in an extract from The Economist. Its full title is Why England Lose: and Other Curious Football Phenomena Explained.

English economists love writing about and trying to explain football. My view is that the gap in knowledge is from marketing strategists, but that is another story.

This book has different titles in different countries. I like the one to be published in the US in October that reads: 'Soccernomics: Why England Lose, Why German and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey and Even India are Destined to Become the New Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport. Gotta love that. Almost no need to spoil it by reading it.

Simon Kuper is a writer for the highly regarded (by me at least) Financial Times. His works include 'Soccer Against the Enemy: How the World's Most Popular Sport Starts and Fuels Revolutions and Keeps Dictors in Power.' And Ajax, the Dutch, the War: Football in Europe in the Second World War'. And the 'Perfect Pitch' series of books on football.

Stefan Szymanski has written a stack economics books on football. The one I like the look of is called 'National Pastime: How Americans Play Baseball and the Rest of the World Plays Soccer'. Without having read it I feel it may explain 'how Australians play AFL and the rest of the world plays soccer'.

Publisher's HarperCollins take:
'"Why do England lose?" "Why do Newcastle United always buy the wrong players?" "How could Nottingham Forest go from winning the European Cup to the depths of League One?" "Penalties - what are they good for?" ... Written with an economist's brain and a football writer's skill, it applies high-powered analytical tools to everyday football topics. ... It's about looking at data in new ways. It's about revealing counterintuitive truths about football. It explains all manner of things about the game which newspapers just can't see. It all adds up to a new way of looking at football, beyond cliches about "The Magic of the FA Cup", "England's Shock Defeat" and "Newcastle's New South American Star".' As quoted at ABEBooks online.

Adelaide 1 v Central Coast 0

I watched a couple of slabs of this match across the 1st and 2nd halves. Both clubs came to the game with impressive records for getting 10/11 behind the ball and treading on the ball. So, one goal wasn't a surprise.

Adelaide had the game in the first half, got the goal and Travis Dodd miss kicked a sitter into the post. The second half was CCM's. But they couldn't finish.

This type of match has been bread and butter for these two teams. But in the second half, it killed off the interest from the 10,000 in the Hindmarsh crowd. And left them hoping that their team would hang on. They did and now Adelaide are right back in the hunt, while CCM look set to slide back down the ladder.

At last some good news for Brisbane Roar

Brisbane Lions are out of the AFL finals. However, their heroic failure is in contrast to Craig Moore's summation of the Roar as not good enough.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

World of stone

He settled into the back seat of the cab. His blackberry flashed.

It seemed like it would be fun when he signed up. Lots of international travel. Helping Australia's most international of sports reach its destiny. And secure the type of TV rights deal he and the team had won for the AFL. And the World Cup. With the final, say Brazil v Italy, right at home in Melbourne. The G.

He sighs and slumps further into the seat.

That was before the FIFA guys told him about the 2018 and 2022 cups being 'the most competitive ever. "Ah hard ones to win eh? How is your local league going? Growing crowds? Have you guaranteed 10,000 car parks per ground?" '

And those guys from Asia. 'Wellington isn't part of Asia. Let them go. And what about relegation. And by the way, now you are in Asia your players are outside the foreign cap, and so cheap too eh? How much is your, what do you call it, salary cap? What's the name of that striker with 8 goals from 5 games - he is Australian now right?'

Blackberry flashes again. Do you want to see the pictures of the youngsters fighting the Chinese? Back page news the day before the A-League start.

And one of the A-League owners has withdrawn his accusation that the review panel is 'criminal'. Lucky he is propping up both the new clubs. And how did those guys get into the no. 12 bid? Let's get this window down.

Note to blackberry: The code needs to put more funding into two foundation clubs. 'It's the global financial conditions. "Why can't they get the grass roots right? Didn't they read the survey we sent them?"'

Blackberry again. 'Saw you on Sports FC. OK you were right we should have started later and finished our finals when the other codes were in early season. Could have been cannibalising them instead, and giving the potential Socceroos match practice in the lead up to SA.' OK OK.

Rounding the corner. Who'd have thought a blackberry could fly so far? And float for so long. Before flashing and winking into the depths.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

NQF 1 v Brisbane RFC 1

Fowler scored a great goal early. Brisbane's defence, for all its stars, looks slow and brittle.

NQ down to 10 from 1st half.

Henrique pushes the envelope but also attracts real violence.

Lots of wild dead end balls from Brisbane in the second half.

Reinaldo, Van Dijk combination starting to look good.

Wild man Karl Dodd MOM.

Gold Coast 2 v Sydney 1

Bragging rights to GC. Be interesting to see crowd numbers. Most seemed to be Sydney fans.

Smeltz is on fire with 2 goals.

How do they do it for the money?

CCM 2 v Perth1 - Tando goes to the capital

Opps a dubious penalty to Perth that took 2 hits to go in and then Tando runs out and right to take a high ball bounce over his head and woops over he goes and swoosh CCM score.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Wellington 1 v Adelaide 1

A fair draw. Adelaide menaced occasionally. Wellington lasted longer. Wellington wanted a goal for offside. But you needed to be a local to not see it. The commentators dominated possession of the microphone.

Melbourne Victory 1 v Newcastle Jets 1

Melbourne paid for not finishing this game off. But Newcastle have shown that Branco Culina has taken over from Gary Von Egmont as the coach who can get the most out of a team.

Just before the Yets equalised there was the question, was it a penalty?