Sunday, November 28, 2010

CCM 1 v Brisbane 5 - Go-cart Mozart (Broich) - Roar now has record for most games undefeated

Book your Boxing day seat, Brisbane's next home game on 26 December against Gold Coast.

In the first half Central Coast had few answers to the Roar. Run up the right or left, cut back into the middle or top of the box. And bang 0-3 and it could have been 5.

The second half opened with perhaps the most obvious ref-linesman mistake in A-League history. You have to be offside if you stand behind the play, behind the defenders and right in front of the keeper and ball goes near your legs. Incredible.

Go-cart Mozart should have had one or 2 penalties. But the ref didn't want to take a risk when the game was so one sided.

Solorzano's 2 goals gives him 7 in his last 6 games and equal with Paul Ifil for golden boot (Ifil has some games in hand). Reinaldo came on and wanted goals - pity we haven't seen more of this. He got won and forced Wilkinson into an own goal.

Brisbane can thrash the top teams, but not Fury and Newcastle?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Table games, Adelaide's win against Gold Coast sets up Brisbane as outright leader

North Queensland sit last on the table. Disheartening for their fans. But they are 4 games behind Perth who they play on Sunday. But they are only 4 points behind Perth. With so few teams having played the same number of games it is very hard to see who is really where on the table. Again disheartening for some fans.

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.

Brisbane head for Asia...

A decade into the Asian century, Australia's northern most state capital is ready to be set alight by Asian football. And fingers crossed, this time next year we could be in the middle of it...

Adelaide 2 v Gold Coast 1 - pressure on to keep winning

Adelaide outplayed Gold Coast, with a rock solid defence that was rarely tested.

Miron paid Brisbane (Brisbane thrashed Adelaide with 10 men) a compliment:

'Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg said his side ``deserved to lose''. "We are not that good that we can beat Adelaide with 10 men,'' he said. "It was one of those games where if things don't go for you, it doesn't go for you.'' Courier Mail

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Broich and Solorzano brilliant

Thomas Broich was back to best after recovering from his German 're-fresh'.

And Solorzano was a step above what we have seen from him before.

Great night from the Roar players as they totally dominated Glory.

5-0 would have been a more accurate score for this game.

I wonder what Glory will look like by season's end? Who will be their coach?

Brisbane 3 v Perth 2 - Ferguson there's no cure there's no answer

Glory's coach left the field arguing with the Ref. And yet the inexperienced ref had already done Glory many favours with soft decision making:

- Broich pulled down from behind (for the second game in a row) - this time he was on goal and it was the last man
- Broich fouled in the box - play on
- Ball hits Devere's shoulder - penalty
- Nichols has his leg kicked out from under him in front of an open goal

FFA is trying to give amateur refs experience - but we are mid season.

Or maybe there is a bit of trying to stop Glory totally collapsing.

Glory's back line was out-classed and they deservedly went down to 9 men. But it probably should have been 8 or 7. Josh Mitchell was up to the tricks he learnt in Romania.

On paper they have a good team. But the rely on biff and long balls. Last year's team looked better with a lower quality team.

Poor A-League fans - Robbie Fowler only on for 25 minutes and - apart from the penalty, hardly gets a touch.

So FFA, does Glory get a fine for 5 cards and get a please explain for their behaviour? Or did that only apply to Brisbane?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Brisbane v Robbie Fowler - this Wednesday 8pm Suncorp

Shame. This game is outside the Suncorp contract because the venue was unavailable for its original date. It was an opportunity to find a good pitch and offer a free event. People of Brisbane, come and meet and watch Robbie Fowler. And the - why not come to see us at Suncorp?

Instead, he'll be here and gone and hardly noticed.

Even the school holiday opportunity has been missed by just one week.

Sydney 2 v Perth 0, CCM 2 v Gold Coast 3

Gold Coast are emerging as a real chance for the title.

Is it irony that two teams so close geographically would have so different an impact if either won the title.

A home grand final is unlikely for GC, as it was for newcastle and CCM.

GC in Asia would be a none event in Australia, but commercially well used by Clive Palmer.

Even FFA could see the commercial opportunity in the Roar having a home Grand Final. And Asia could bring Brisbane alight.

Brisbane 1 v NQ 1 - lead in their boots

In Europe they have squads of 60. They can play 3 games week after week.

Brisbane have players on long term injury and players taking long international flights intra-week.

Once again Brisbane stop or escape the great moves but concede the soft goals. the Williams / Edds goal on 9 minutes was soft as you like.

Fury played Jason Spagnuolo centre forward, with Payne on the bench. They were here to defend and they did it very well.

I haven't heard of Western Australian referee Josh Mihevc before. I understand he refs youth league matches. He and his assistants, missed 2 penalties for the Roar and adjudged Solorzano offside when he was onside at a key moment. FFA seem to be giving Fury the inexperienced refs and often they have been on the wrong side of poor decisions.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Brisbane v NQ - you have to keep winning

3 draws is the same as 1 win and 2 losses. So Adelaide are back on Brisbane's heels. So Brisbane have to keep winning.

Fixtures Confused? I certainly elephant

So on this FFA page it says the Roar are playing tonight against the Fury and then Sunday 28 November against Central Coast. - Round 15

On this page it also says Central Coast are playing Newcastle on Wednesday 24 November. Round 16

On this page it says the Roar are playing Perth on Wednesday 24 November. And the Roar play Victory on 3 December. Round 17

And yet the Roar have already played 16 games. Do the rounds mean anything? Does the position on the ladder mean anything?

Would designed this? Do they think about how it it read?

I read something that made me think the Roar were playing Central Coast at Gosford this Wednesday. But I must have been wrong or the schedule changed or something.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Having World Cup Qualifiers on free-to-air...

would be good .... because the A-League players would get local exposure.

would be bad .... because FFA funding could be reduced.

This harks back to an early Rudd Labour election promise.

Newcastle 1 v Brisbane 1

This was a tough game. The Roar would be happy with 1 point, even though it is another draw against a team in the lower reaches of the table.

Newcastle will and are complaining about the 80 minute equaliser. But it was clearly onside. Newcastle had a few gos at copying the Roar's play book. Go wide, push the ball through a hole and have someone run onto it - splitting the defence and crossing or shooting. So it was for the Roar goal, Nichols and Barbarouses going their job and Solorzano his - JC S's job is being there to tap in.

The only real disappointment from this game was the standoff referring which left Nichols with badly bruised legs and Newcastle tackles came pounding in. Roar still have to have legs for another 2 games in 7 days before a week off. So much for programming to support Socceroo duty!

The crowd was a fantastic 8,000 - about the same as the Saturday before.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fowler gets hat trick for Glory over Victory

Heart 1 v Brisbane 2 - Revolution no 9

Brisbane were done in the first half. Too many players were being carried - Stefanuto, Broich (no surprise he looked and played like he was yet lagged) and Solorzano. The Heart's goal was all Stefanuto not will to take the risk that he wouldn't keep up on the left.

Then at half time, Franjic comes on for Stef and it was all Roar - 86% possession. And shot after shot. Their basic game of punching balls through the defence for wide players to run onto. Mitch Nichols came on in the 65th for Paartalu, and the possession became domination. Within a minute Mitch had set-up Barbarouses, the culmination of a one-touch festival, Barbarouses had missed about 5 of these - this time it squeeked into the left post.

More domination. Solorzano comes alive. Heart seem to be constantly fouling to stay in the game. One too many tackles from behind, this time on Solorzano with the goal virtually open. Penalty (72 minutes) - Franjic has a long wait as Shoj is booked for something (wasting time?) - kicks it into Bolton's feet.

Mitch works more wonder. And Broich starts to get into the game for the first time. Roar have 10 shots on goal in the second half. Mitch hits the keeper. Heart scramble down the Roar end, their fans want a penalty, no. Then again in the late 80s, ball in the penalty area for a long time, but eventually shot into the side netting. Roar rebound Broich, Nicols, Franjic shoots hits the post (2nd or 3rd time for the game with Barbarouses) but Solorzano, who was behind the defence for a long time, stands still has the game moves past him, then runs in as the ball hits the post...

Solorano comes off - I thought it should be Broich - Heart pushing hard now, and Roar look tired. Viscounte gets a one-on-one with Bolton, Bolton gets a hand on the shot and Rocky cant take the second chance.

The Roar win. This is how you can win premierships. They missed Reinaldo's power up front. And he'll be back Wednesday night. Roar need to put all the pressure on Central Coast that they can. Not to mention Adelaide.

Sasa scores and wins Asia cup

Safer hands than Jade.

Time to pick him for Socceroos. If we want to win the big boys Asian Cup, of course.

'SOCCEROO Sasa Ognenovski capped off a great week by scoring the opening goal to help Seongnam Ilhwa lift the Asian Champions League title after 3-1 win over Zobahan in the final in Tokyo'

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's on

Wellington 0 v Central Coast 3 (I think Riki should have either picked more New Zealanders in his squad or left when the foreign teams wanted him as coach. Don't the World Cup demonstrate the locals are good enough - even the local leaguers?)

Newcastle 3 v Adelaide 0

This is either Central Coast making their run, or Brisbane getting a game ahead.

Central Coast have only played 12 games. So if they win their next 3 they would be top by at least 1 point - as at round 15 (whatever round 15 is, as some others will be way beyond that). And Brisbane would be ruing that it could have won all 5 of its draws - particularly the Sydney and Gold Coast games.

But if the Roar can beat Heart and Central Coast don't win its next 3, then Brisbane will be the clear leader. Pity - or maybe it is a plus - that the draw is creating such confusion. Look at Newcastle, if it wins its next 3 games having played only 12 it will be top 6. And what looked like a crisis will have been a none event.

A-League gets 1.4 Pay TV viewers

See Roy Morgan's research here.

The A-League's numbers are from last season. But it shows it is up there with Pay TV penetration - AFL Pay TV = 2.3m, NRL Pay TV = 1.3m.

If and when Australia wins the 2022 World Cup, AFL free-to-air of 6.6m viewers will be under threat.

For $950 you can get A-League viewer demographics. Let's hope the clubs and FFA are accessing this data. I assume they are. It would be good to see more of this data reflected in promotion activities and long term planning.

Perth blames players...

Here in the The Age.

But it is the way they play. They need a new coaching perspective.

Mixing codes..

See this article in the Sydney Morning Herald:

'What shape that future takes is the interesting part. Neither Tinkler nor Gerard are football men, and it seems they want their A-League teams to become part of something bigger. Tinkler wants to buy the Newcastle Knights, while Gerard already bankrolls SANFL club North Adelaide. Both men believe that pooling resources across two codes to create a ''super club'' is the right way to go, and the FFA remains open to the idea.

Before anyone jumps in too quickly, it might be worth remembering that this has happened before, with Carlton, Collingwood Warriors and Parramatta Power. The old NSL wasn't as strong structurally as the A-League, but it's still worth making sure the same mistakes aren't repeated. And that means guaranteeing an equal relationship in any partnership between the codes, not one that automatically relegates football to secondary status.'

Geoff Lord's company was looking for something like this for the Victory. They looked at the Victorian union franchise but the FFA wouldn't let them use the 'Victory' brand.

Maybe allowing more of this would:

1. facilitate better interaction with local fans (summer and winter)
2. encourage an effective antidote to the AFL

Thursday, November 11, 2010

NQ Fury 2 v Melb Heart 3

Referees are influenced by 2 things. Very large crowds and teams that demonstrate superior skill. The Roar have found that to their advantage this year, when in previous year their under budget team bore the brunt of poor decisions.

Fury should have won this game 2-0 or better. But the grace of Heart's front line allowed them to get away with first an offside goal, and then a hand ball controlled goal. From there Fury were chasing the game.

So much for Perth's new broom in their 2-0 loss in Adelaide. Do teams still get fined for 5 yellow cards? There were a couple this week.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Brisbane 4 v Adelaide 0 - now it is cool again to wear orange

In the opening 15 minutes of the second half, Brisbane ripped Adelaide apart. All of a sudden Adelaide's defence looked dodgy and didn't improve until Cornthwaite was replaced.

Broich was the star for the Roar. But the standout, despite Kosta's 2 goals, was Mundy who - particularly in the second half - ran and ran.

Why was Reinaldo sent off? Clearly he was the victim of a last man foul and it should have been an Adelaide defender with the long walk. But that is idiosyncratic Matthew Breeze for you, his refing is capable of any result. Including not giving Adelaide a penalty in the first half. I am assuming Reinaldo got one yellow when he took his shirt off after scoring a great goal and another for back chat? And it took Breeze a few minutes to realise he had already booked him.

We are top of the league. And Adelaide have Central Coast breathing down their neck.

Hear about Melbourne Heart's marketing strategy


Friday, November 05, 2010

Brisbane v Adelaide kickoff 8:15pm Saturday

Fury 0 v CCM 1 - not really a fair game

It was clear that the Fury and their home fans went away from this game unhappy. CCM dominated the first half. But Fury were the better side in the second half. And the CCM goalkeeper had to deliberately trip David Williams on 80 minutes to keep the 3 points for CCM. Amazingly, the ref gave a corner kick. Amazing because no CCM player, including the guilty keeper, touched the ball.

Unfortunately, FFA seem to be throwing inexperienced refs and assistants at Fury.

Also it would be far better to take the heat out of the situation by allowing the very popular Straka and connected MacLaren to speak out. Muzzled, it just looks like FFA are happy to squeeze the life out NQ.

An undeserved 3 points to the Mariners.

It is time for the local press to start supporting Brisbane Roar

Front pages for someone of the character of Brendan Fevola and nothing for the Roar being top.

Come on. Time to get with the program.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Wellington 1 v Brisbane 4: Murdocca rips Wellington apart

So Sydney was the dress rehearsal for Massimo's new role in ghosting forward and shooting. Early in the second half Reinaldo set him up beautifully wafter a long run and an angled back ball from near the goal. That time Murdocca's shot cannoned off the post. Second time Solorzano released him on an unwatched / unmarked run.

Kosta was great. And again rubbed Herbert the Herbert's nose in the fact he doesn't seem to be interested in young New Zealand players. Again it was Reinaldo that held the ball up and set-up the goal on 4 minutes with a cross field pass - left to right before it came back right to centre for Kosta to stoke in.

Wellington countered for most of the rest of the half, equalising on 36 minutes with a great lob from Brown. Before Broich got his revenge on a kicking he was getting from North by using North's arm on route to goal. Like Victory on Adelaide's Leckie, Wellington targeted violence on Broich. But Thomas was outstanding, setting up goals and near goals.

Mitch finished off the night with a ball from Broich that found him unmarked at the top of the right side of the box.

Now Brisbane is top. And Ange looks like a future Socceroos coach. Will Brisbane come out to watch their team against Adelaide on Saturday?

(Note Brisbane needed to win this match as they have now played 3 more games than 3rd placed Central Coast.)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Brisbane's next game is tomorrow afternoon 4:30pm AEST - away in Wellington

As the season rolls on it is becoming clear that whoever designed the fixture list year did not think about the marketplace. It is a shame. Certainly it has been clear since season 1 that there is no requirement from the fans for teams to play each other 3 times. It was also clear from the first mid-week game, that there is no demand nor commercial driver - possibly even from Fox - for mid week games. Who will watch at 4:30pm tomorrow? School kids? They don't even recognise the players.

It is just disappointing.

Are the FFA and the players really living a dream about re-creating a European scenario of mid week games? Apart from anything else the clubs that do that well have squads of 60 players.