Friday, August 24, 2007

A-League Season Three Preview

It's been a long off-season, but the third season of the A-League is finally kicking off this evening! I'm very excited, and I'm sure I'm not the only fired-up football fan.

During the off-season, I started my coaching career, and I have three matches to go, but don't be suprised if you never hear about that until the A-League's off-season is upon us again!

Some of you may be aware that I tend to sit at halfway during my Melbourne Victory matches so that I can get a really good view of the match. As I have half-baked plans to go on some away trips this year I've decided that I had better get into the MV fan culture and get to know some of my fellow supporters. My ventures started with the pre-season friendlies against Victorian Premier League teams Oakleigh and South Melbourne. They continued with the pre-season tournament, joining the 'South End' for a bit of the Geelong match against Newcastle and back at our true home ground at Olympic Park for the Wellington and Sydney matches.

While I had a lot of fun singing with that lot I will be returning to my prawn sandwich area at half-way when the season starts proper. In short, if you've never spent an entire 90 minute period singing, go do it at some point. You may lose your voice, but it's fun and you can go home with a smile on your face no matter how poorly your team play.

So, now for the preview. I've noted quite a lot of previews popping up all over the place, so this will be what I am looking forward to this season, perhaps with a bit of swooning banter thrown in.

Sydney - I have to admit that I just stare at their defensive line-up these days. Bolton's an awesome goalkeeper - not just as a shot stopper, but he really seems to create a settled defense. Add Popovic and Rudan, and that's a solid central defensive unit. Milligan should continue to improve and I was also a bit impressed with Fyfe during the Asia Cup, hopefully he can keep doing whatever he's doing. Swoon-worthy players: outdated swoon, but John Filan's on the bench tonight!

Central Coast - Looking forward to Vukovic's development as a player and his combination with Wilko. Should be interesting to see how Heffernan's return affects things. I am still concerned with McKinna's insistance on using Mrja... too injury prone in my opinion, and hence a 'wasted' player. Hopefully, I can be proved wrong! Swoon-worthy players: Last year's best-looking player and runner-up are now on the same team! So Central Coast should be a delight to watch from a non-football point of view. Greg Owens, Danny Vukovic and a late favourite last year for me in Wilko...

Queensland - No Spase! What am I going to do without those occasional wonderful through-balls? Well, at least I won't get annoyed at his occasional losses in temper and stupidity... Happy to see that Grossman has been signed up, and hopefully the Matty and Mass show will get back on the road. With a large fan base, I'm hoping that Queensland make a top 4 finish. Swoon-worthy players: Although the Roar have lost Spase, Wedau and Willis, Reddy's still about. And I know a certain someone loves McKay, and that Murdocca has a bit of a female following.

Adelaide - COSTANZO!!!! My favourite player to watch last season - so much poise and an amazing ability to read the game. Although I'd hate to think that a team relies on one player, I find that if Costanzo has a bad day, so does Adelaide. Looking forward to the Burns and Djite partnership flourishing and I'm hoping that Sarkies adds a bit of heart to his game - frustrated me too often last season. Swoon-worthy players: None really do it for me...

Wellington - Mark Paston olé! One of my favourite players last season, often raised to hero-like status at home due to his goalkeeping often keeing the now dead Knights in the game. After not playing much of last season I'm hoping Ferrante gets some game time and due acknowledgement. One of my favourite players from season one, there was simply no room for him at Melbourne. Swoon-worthy players: Steven Old! [grrr... no photo yet] Might be on the bench a bit, but if given a run will be in the defense. I suspect Herbert might give him more of a run than Van Egmond did.

Melbourne - Patafta. This kid has been a wonder every time that he's stepped onto the park. A little creative dynamo that may be what we need to fill the hole vacated by Fred. Caceres has also been impressive in pre-season - he seems to have added a bit of grit to his game. He just needs to use his right peg a bit more, and he can use it, he did so in Geelong during the first half! I was so delighted that I went home with a smile on my face, even though me lost through some AWFUL defending (mumble, mumble, Ljubo, mumble, mumble). Looking forward to Muscat and Brebs putting Ljubo in his place. I don't like Ljubo - can you tell? Keenan also impressed my early against the VPL teams, but only occasionally shined during the pre-season competition. Swoon-worthy players: Danny Allsopp, Adrian Caceres, Kaz Patafta, Mitchell Langerak, Grant Brebner, Kevin Muscat (hahaha!)

Perth - Velaphi. He was awesome last year for Queensland while they had their goalkeeping crisis (*glaring at Reddy*). Should also be interesting to see how Nick Rizzo goes - injury stalled his career over in England and was consequently left in the wilderness - should be a happy return to football action for him. Hayden Foxe seems to be injured... again... see minor Nick Mrdja rant in Central Coast section. Swoon-worthy players: Hmmm... another tough area... oooh!!! Petkovic?

Newcastle - A beautiful team to watch under Van Egmond. Kennedy's injured at the moment, but hopefully he'll get some game time throughout the season - might be difficult with Covic about. But that kid just needs some confidence. I'm also hoping Joel Griffiths can control his temper. Swoon-worthy players: I'll get back to you later in the season.

My thoughts for round 1? You'll have to visit Football Down Under and Beyond!

Note: I have a class to run off to - will link Qld profiles later, perhaps this afternoon.


Jeccy56 said...

I have officially decided that my love for Matt Mckay will be this season be replaced by another. I figure it was Jonti season one, Matty version two, so for this latest season, I am officially crushing on . . . . .*drumroll*


Basically because I'm in love with his accent!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, I was just recommended to visit your blog by Eamonn. its quite full of information and tasty. i am incredibly excited about this season...even though i am trying to block tonights game from my train of thought as i am quite exhausted and it may kill my brains ability to process details.

i look forward to reading more of your opinions.

cheers, sarah

Hamish Alcorn said...

Thanks for the link-back Cecilia. And for the comp wrap. I strangely look forward to your expert swooning analysis, and am looking forward to your 'best-looking A-League player' comp. I reckon the Roar's new signing Marcinho is pretty good lookin'.

Anonymous said...

Glad that you tried one of the Ends.

You tried the wrong one of course but never mind.

It might take us a while to get organised this season at the North End but when we do you should come for a visit.

We are better than the South in every way: we know football better, we sing better, we are intellectually superior etc (Ok the SDC are as good and wittier but I'm talking about the rest of the South).

Most importantly South America and South American support style is in your blood. There is a reason why all the South Americans are at the North End :)

North End FTW :)

Cecilia said...

Jeccy - oh dear... I simply rate McKay as better footballer! Awesome goal on the weekend!

Sarah - thanks for the visit!

Hamish - hmmm... Marcinho... depends how his football goes! ;)

Watt - I had an issue with someone from North End. I feel like I may still kill him if I come across him. As I don't wish to have a criminal record or go to jail yet I'll just avoid it for the moment. Don't take it personally, you're not the one on my hitlist. :)