Last week's review came late thanks to a power outage which left us stranded for 12 hours. Trying to navigate the house with only my phone light is not as much fun as it seems. Anyhow, onto last week's A League action.
Despite Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix match being postponed, this past round saw the most draws so far this season with 3 games ending 1-1. One of those draws finally stuttered something of a halt to Sydney's great start to this season, but still leaves them undefeated at the top with 19 points.
GAME OF THE ROUND
The aptly dubbed "State of Origin" match was the best clash of this weekend. Brisbane Roar wore a special maroon kit for the match to mixed reviews from the fans. Nevertheless it would've added a tasty competitive edge against their undefeated opponents Sydney FC. The match was a back and forth affair, tightly contested and not lacking any spite whatsoever. It produced two great contenders for goal of the season from Josh Brillante and Thomas Kristensen. It had its own controversy, but I'll get to that later.
GOAL OF THE ROUND
Despite the round lacking the amount of goals we've had in previous rounds, there were a few cracking long range shots. A bit tough to pick just one, but I'll go with Josh Brillante's brilliant strike against the Roar. It's not the first time he's scored from distance, but I always love a strike that finishes in the top corner of the goal.
THE UNHERALDED HERO
This week my unheralded heroes are simply the fans of football in this country.
As we know, the league has been growing and developing in all aspects (with the exception of a few referee performances). That being said, the attendances are probably the first sign of supporter involvement and interest. This week the attendances were all above 10,000. This isn't a first, but I think consistent crowds above 10k are a must for the league. It's definitely possible, and shows that we're passionate. Keep it up, we'll only go onward and upward if attendances stay high.
The past two weeks have shown a massive spike in talks of league expansion. While Football Federation Australia won't release criteria until early next year, teams from all over the country have been preparing and submitting bids to become the next franchise in our premier competition. This includes brand new and unexplored regions, as well as already existing teams such as South Melbourne, Wollongong Wolves, Brisbane Strikers and West Adelaide. This will be a hot topic for months to come, so I'll save more expansion talk for another time.
Oh Adelaide, where art thou? Simply put, the reigning premiers aren't having fun. The reds are firmly rooted to the bottom of the table with only two points to show for the season. After a couple of long term injuries to key players, their season took another turn for the worst with coach Guillermo Amor suspended for this week's clash with league leaders Sydney. It'll come to pass, but until their first win it'll be an unhappy time for United supporters.
After the number of controversies we've had this season I'd make a comment about the referees, but quite frankly I don't want to risk copping a suspension for the week or a fine like many of our coaches have so far:
-Kenny Lowe got suspended for 3 games (he probably deserved it for his outrageous rant at the referees)
-Guillermo Amor was suspended for this weekend's fixture
-Kevin Muscat fined for his post-FFA Cup spray
-Tony Popovic was fined for his comments from 2 rounds ago
All around a recurring issue, referees' decision making.
It's my whinge for the week, I've got a couple of incidents to pick on from last round.
First up is the Wanderers v City game. We'd witnessed quite possibly one of the greatest goal celebrations for a shot that was incorrectly ruled offside against Kerem Bulut. You can see it here.
On review two other Wanderers were indeed offside, while Bulut did well to stay in line with his defender and bury the shot. This isn't the first time it has happened and, judging by the way we're going, it won't be the last.
The other controversy was just mind boggling when it had occurred during the "State of Origin" game. Sydney defender Rhyan Grant appeared to have been booked twice, which results in a sending off. Brisbane coach John Aloisi was yelling it was his second yellow, Sydney coach Graham Arnold admitted he was going to be shown a red card. Hell, even the commentary team were convinced that Rhyan Grant should've been sent off.
What we all didn't know is that for his first dangerous tackle he was not shown a yellow card, despite the referee clearly pulling it out of his pocket. Whether he was second guessing his call or had simply changed his mind is up to you and where you sit on the fence. You be the judge, have a look here.
The referees have to step up their game and start taking some responsibility. Whether we have them hooked up to a microphone like other Australian sports (with the imminent arrival of video reviews, this will be a must), have them face the media to explain their decision or whatever it may be. It's just ridiculous that coaches are being unfairly punished for speaking their mind on something they can't control.
Time for the governing body to wake up and start taking some action, otherwise everyone will be grumbling every round.