Games played (Position on table now)
Brisbane 18 (1)
Perth 18 (9)
Adelaide 17 (2)
Heart 17 (5)
Victory 16 (6)
Phoenix 16 (7)
Gold Coast 15 (3)
Mariners 15 (4)
Newcastle 15 (8)
Sydney 15 (10)
Fury 14 (11)
The way I have tried to make sense of this for myself is to assume that individual teams will win all the games they need to play to catch up their games played to the team that has played the most games. For example, Adelaide have played one less game than Brisbane and if they won that they would be on equal points with Brisbane (behind on goal difference).
Before this week's mid week games, Gold Coast and Central Coast Mariners could have passed Brisbane by winning all their catch up games. However, their respective loss and draw now means the best they can do in getting to 18 games is Gold Coast 36 (one point behind Brisbane) and Mariners 35 (2 behind).
Therefore, you can say Brisbane is now in the lead and will hold that position at least until after next weeks fixtures. And that for the next 3 games it is Brisbane and Adelaide fighting it out for top spot. After that, perhaps Gold Coast and Mariners can get in front. But not if Brisbane beats or draws with Mariners on Sunday.
Need a coffee?
The other thing to say is that the sting waiting for Perth could be towards the end of the season unless a winning streak emerges. As Sydney and Fury catch up in games they have chances to put together wins that will leave Perth way behind.
The variance in games played is also hiding just how far Brisbane, Adelaide, Gold Coast and Central Coast are ahead of Heart, Victory and Phoenix. The best case for these teams is still 13 points behind Brisbane. With only 12 more games after that, it is starting to get too late for these teams to think about 1st spot. Still possible. But unlikely.
The other point I would make about Brisbane's 18 games is that their next home game is on the very busy 26 December. It is against arch rival Gold Coast and you would expect a bumper crowd. I have had a number of people ask me when the next home game is and say they want to take their mates. U2 and FFA (not allowing a Ballymore game) pushed the Roar into this long break of home games. Let's hope Boxing Day gets the game it deserves. Under the right circumstances, a 20,000 to 30,000 crowd is possible. Game of the season? Let's hope Brisbane have their Asian spot before 12 February when Gold Coast return for the last match home/away match.