Australia Day weekend was a perfect way to indulge in this weekend's A League action. Unless you unfortunately work in retail, in which case hats off to all of you who reaped the public holiday rates.
In any case, it's been 2 weeks since my last look at the A League, let's not waste any more time and get stuck into it.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Any round is a good round for the Big Blue. Akin to the rivalries and derbies of the A League, none hold so much excitement and tense moments quite like this one. Two cities, rivals by nature, clashed in a fiery top 2 affair. The game itself was not typical of either side's form, but very typical of a Big Blue. While I'm disappointed in the result (for the 3rd weekend in a row) I can't ignore Sydney's undefeated streak. They're not far off becoming the first invincible team of the A League, and look set for a certain home Grand Final. Knocked off their closest table challengers, leading by 11 points, yet to concede defeat.
But beating your rivals 2-1 to cement yourself at the top? Priceless.
GOAL OF THE WEEK
Normally I look to the forwards and marquee players for my choice, but this week's goal came from a rather unlikely source.
Young Kiwi defender Tom Doyle grabbed his first goal of the season in spectacular style, lashing home a shot from the edge of the box into the top left corner. Whenever a ball wildly ricochets off the post before it goes in, you know it's a hell of a shot. Have a look, I'm sure Tommy Doyle won't mind seeing it again and again.
THE UNHERALDED HERO
Okay, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that the refereeing this season has been in a world of its own. Which is kind of ironic, considering the referees are now being appointed full time, you'd think a degree of consistency would've come with it.
That's besides the point. I'm giving Kris Griffiths-Jones a shout out this week. He correctly gave Central Coast a goal, despite the calls for offside. The goal scorer, Josh Bingham, appeared to have been offside but the ball was played through by a Perth defender.
There have been plenty of controversial calls, but you've gotta give credit where credit is due.
A couple of young players have caught my eye in the last couple of weekends. Both of these stars had their early career hiccups, but have proven themselves admirably in this season of the A League.
Andrew Nabbout is in some red hot form with the Jets, scoring 7 goals in 8 games, while Perth's Adam Taggart has 5 in 7. They're both playing well and their respective teams are currently occupying the lower finals spots on the table. I'd like to see them play on next season and develop their game a bit more before looking for potential moves elsewhere.
Taggart was a prime example of leaving too early and too young, but I believe he's matured and will be better off after more A League games under his belt.
The question I want to ask you, which was the lesser of two evils? I have no other way to describe it other than the two goalkeeper failures, one was a howler and the other a brainsnap of the highest order.
Vedran Janjetovic is probably kicking himself for having left Sydney, though the bench can be kind and unforgiving, particularly if you're a goalkeeper. Unfortunately for him, the playing field doesn't far much better, as he was responsible for Brisbane's winner against the Wanderers.
On the other hand, Liam Reddy will have plenty of time to think about his actions as he sits on the sidelines with a red card suspension. The Perth Glory custodian decided to dribble the ball out of his box, which works sometimes while playing FIFA.
He hesitated clearling his lines and failed to avoid an oncoming Trent Buhagiar, who pick pocketed Reddy and copped a misplaced kick for his troubles. Easily the most cringeworthy scene of the weekend.
Forward the video to 3:24 to see what happened.
Football Federation Australia decided this week was a good week to unveil the new logos for the A League, W League and National Youth League for next year. Sure, in comparison, it looks fresher than the current logo, which has been around since the A League's conception. But I think this pissed off a lot of supporters more than helped their cause.
It was just poor timing more than anything, especially considering they most likely spent time and money on getting a new look, time and money they could've easily spent elsewhere. Development and expansion should be the forefront of their thinking, and not improving the A League brand.
This could've easily waited until the off season. Right now, it makes no difference to me what the damn league logo will look like next year.