The first half of the season carried the Reds through to the finals. However, the key was the exit, for the second time, of the brilliant John Kosmina. Kosmina represents the inheritance of 'Adelaide past' and without him there is a question mark.
There are also some questions over owners, commitment and past owners that fans need resolved.
In the past all the way back to the NSL, attracting quality players has not been an issue. The squad for next season will tell us a lot. Of course Roar fans want Dario back but maybe he will return to Europe after an OK season here. Rocky Visconti should have returned to the Adelaide fold, but he like Roar's Fitzgerald sought glory over game time to be a string player at an already quality team. Don't get me wrong, Fitzgerald at CCM and Rocky and Bullwinkle at WSW will cement these teams' depth.
Mike Mulvey, like Ange before him, cheesed fans off with his appointment. However, you would have to say it was a good move. The second half of the season, let's say when 'Eric the Bored' left, was good and enetertaining. Giving Thomas B the captaincy was inspired and brought him back to life.
The other key moments were pushing Ivan Franjic up the field so he could play-make and bring much needed shooting from distance and the promotion of one of the Roar's best ever local finds - James Donachie. James has more than made up for the seasons of disappointment from Wollongonger Jurman. Donschie, with another local Jade North, was the critical addition to the Roar defence.
The Roar have never been able to capitalise on their advantages as a club. As the only team in Queensland they now have the biggest potential fan base of any club. And at their best, two seasons ago, they were many non-Queensland fans second team.
This spoilt position remands untapped.
Central Coast Mariners
Graham Arnold - from coaching Robbie Slater's Australian return at North Sydney's Northern Spirit, to the Socceroos to CCM - has proved a living treasure. At each of these opportunities, financials and owners have held him back. He is brilliant and can spot talent. One day he will get recognition. Young players, as with Ange, will go there so they can be sold to bigger markets, often mid season. Just don't whinge.
The problems at the Heart started with the guidance they got at start up. Their marketing consultants miss-read the A-League opportunity. A-League Clubs are not (bar WSW) commercial opportunities. I hope they can sought out their sustainability. Heart have paid the price of rejecting Ange even when he begged to be a mere assistant coach. And now every club plays the style of soccer Heart dreamed of. Where to next? Few will go there as a promotion, so they need to develop their own from the massive Victorian playing pool. And to-date they have not been able to make use of the Dave Williams' genius and opportunity.
Ange showed Sydney how to make best use of a huge number of players to choose from. Other coaches deal with Ange's genius by hurting his players - kicking their ankles and tripping them. Next year, he will have so many to choose from that this will not be a problem.
Newcastle were pushed downwards by the rise of WSW, Victory and the late run of Sydney. Next season, ownership may have to be addressed again.
Bring in a club stallwald who believes in playing out from the back, not just does it because he thinks he should, and look what happens. And having Jacob Burns out didn't hurt.
Great to see Frank Farina back coaching in the A-League. Frank will have the league's biggest budget to weld next season, interesting to see what he comes up with. Like Brisbane and WSW, Sydney FC need a 30,000 seater to make the game look more attractive.
Western Sydney Wonderers
The birthplace of Australian soccer. Our cultural home. Setup and owned by FFA to protect against the ravishes of the landlocked AFL and moribund NRL. Just in the nick of time. A few seasons later and the Giants could have held sway.
Very astute to drop the idea of a team representing the west but playing at the SFS white elephant that has crippled Sydney FC.
Once the gimme deals on foreign players and other treats are gone, the FFA should be able to find a buyer to make WSW the A-League's first truly commercial club.
No soccer team needs owners who think they know more about the game than their coach.