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Byline Banter: Silly season edition

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, the football silly season. So named because of the crazy amount of football Australia gets to enjoy over the next week. Let’s face it, 10 A-League matches in eight days is the best present anyone can get.

So to celebrate, Byline Banter diverts from its usual format to let you know what each club is hoping to find under the Christmas tree this year.



Adelaide United
Hammocks – they’ll be in desperate need of a rest following a busy few weeks.

The Reds suffered last weekend in their 2-1 defeat to the Newcastle Jets after claiming the inaugural FFA Cup during the week. While they fought back strongly and looked dangerous immediately after drawing level at Hunter Stadium, it didn’t take long for the Novocastrians to once again take control of the match.

On the plus side, they don’t have the shortest turn-around with the Brisbane Roar, Wellington Phoenix and the Jets having two matches in three days and the Reds will be thankful for the extra two days between their matches.

Stocking fillers
- A cup and ball for Josep Gombau; he looks like he’s never had a day of fun in his life.
- Bigger goals for Hindmarsh Stadium because they can’t convert chances in the normal size goals. Their season conversion sits at 12.8 per cent, well below Melbourne Victory (23.8 per cent) who they are chasing on the ladder.

Brisbane Roar
Besart Berisha – they just can’t seem to replace him.

Henrique has had a real go at it there is no question, the Brazilian notching up seven of the Roar’s 11 goals; which in itself is an embarrassing enough statistic. But what’s more worrying is at this point last season the defending Premiers had tallied 18 goals, which used wisely this campaign would see the sitting on 24 points and in second place on the ladder.

No what ifs are fine, and it’s worth pointing out that of those 18 goals Berisha only contributed four. But what they miss as much as anything is simply his presence on the field. Because the Albanian is so dangerous he can draw defenders out of position better than any other player in the league, allowing his teammates to bang the ball away at will. Perhaps that’s why Luke Bratton, Matt Smith and Jade North all had goals to their name this time last season and so far remain scoreless this time around.

Stocking fillers
- A soccer ball for Dimitri Pertatos to practice his shooting. 30 shots and no goals - is he having a laugh?
- A graphic designer to re-do their new logo. Everyone has had time with it now, but does anyone actually like it?

Central Coast Mariners
A goal scorer – plain and simple.

The Mariners have obviously struggled so far this season and it’s painfully obvious that it’s due to their lack of their composure in front of goal, with the men from Gosford so far managing just six goals this season.

Four players have double digit tallies in the shots at goal column, Nick Fitzgerald, Mitchell Duke, Matthew Sim and Glen Trifiro and of those 71 attempts they’ve buried just four times. Astoundingly Fitzgerald is the only player without a goal despite having the most shots with 27 hacks at it. Until they can start finding the back of the net it’s hard to see them getting anywhere near the playoffs.

Stocking fillers
- The final side of their stadium; they’ve been waiting ages for it. Santa can be cruel.
- A sense of stability. Mike Charlesworth has ambition and that’s great to see, but the survival of a scrappers club like the Mariners should not be risked to solely improve the bottom line. Let’s hope that does not happen.

Melbourne City
Consistency – cause they don’t seem to know what it is.

Three wins, four draws, and four losses, not exactly a record that’s going to have people touting you as possible title contenders. Which is exactly what people were saying at the start of the season. Big signings like David Villa and Damien Duff brought a buzz to a club which had never been anything other than mediocre. And as much as things have changed with the oil sheiks’ money, things have stayed the same.

City have monopolised the time spent sitting in the 6th and last playoff spot on the A-League ladder. That’s no surprise with a record that includes some impressive victories, particularly their valuable win over the Victory last weekend to give them bragging rights in Melbourne. But if you can recall, less than a month ago they got brutalised by the Phoenix 5-1.

The additions of Socceroo Josh Kennedy and fit again Slovenian international Robert Koren should be what’s needed for City to kick on in the New Year. Maybe they’ll get it and maybe they won’t, time will tell.

Stocking fillers
- David Villa; with the Spaniard now long-gone and Duff sidelined through injury, is anyone going to their games?
- Bandages for the team; they’ve spent so long sitting in sixth spot they must have bedsores by now.

Melbourne Victory
Yoga mats – they just need to calm down as everything is going fine.

Following their defeat at the hands of City which left them with just one point from their previous two matches Coach Kevin Muscat said they have a lot of work to do. But the 41-year-old has no cause for concern as the Victory are right where they need to be this season.

The Melbournians are six points behind Glory at present but will get their opportunity to have a go at them during the Christmas/New Year period as well as matches against the two teams lowest on the A-League ladder the Jets and the Wanderers. Which is significantly easier than Perth’s schedule.

Not to mention that they’ve scored the most goals so far this season with star strikers Archie Thompson and Besart Berisha having both already tallied 6 goals each. Seriously Muscat, go relax and eat some Christmas pudding or something.

Stocking fillers
- Chewing gum - has Muscat spat it all out yet?
- Hot chips to throw outside Etihad Stadium so everyone can watch the football and not the seagulls.

Newcastle Jets
A new owner – Nathan Tinkler is poison to the club.

Unlike Mike Charlesworth, the former mining magnate seems to have no ambition for the club and looks set to get them off his books as soon as possible, like he did with the Newcastle Knights in the NRL. Tinkler recently travelled to Perth to watch the Jets take on the Glory as a guest of the Perth owner Tony Sage. Presumably he would have been aware that he would be on television at some point but that didn’t seem to worry Tinkler who couldn’t even bother to pull on a club polo.

A lack of focus in the back of house seems to have transferred onto the pitch this season for the Jets with the club failing to secure either an international or domestic marquee signing and slumping to just one win from 11 games.

David Gallop and the FFA should consider the idea of taking control of the Jets before the Novocastrian outfit ends up in the ground.

Stocking fillers
- A Mangna Doodle for coach Phil Stubbins; he needs something to draw his game plan on.
- Blinkers for Zenon Caravella to wear; perhaps then he’ll run in a straight line and not around in circles.

Perth Glory
Luck – they’ve already had some but they’ll need more in the coming weeks.

The men from the West have rode their luck a bit this season with a noticeable amount of results being secured by set-pieces. And if it that’s down to tactics and good training kudos to them, but it smells a little bit like luck and you get the feeling it’s about to run out.

What you may not know is that the Glory and the Victory are yet to face off so far this season. Unfortunately for Perth their two matches against the dual Premiership winners come amongst a tough run of fixtures. Their silly season schedule starts on Boxing Day with an away trip to face City followed by matches against Victory, Adelaide, Victory, Sydney FC, and then Adelaide again. In fact the league leaders don’t face a team outside play-offs from now until the last weekend in February.

Many have been drawing questions marks next to the Glory until they see what they’re really made of, and we’re all about to find out.

Stocking fillers
- Something shiny to distract supporters while the club is investigated by the FFA for possible salary cap breaches.
- A new right-back; Joshua Risden can’t be a popular man right now after his send-off in the FFA Cup.

Sydney FC
A time machine – so they can go back to the start of the season when they were winning.

The Sky Blues have slumped to one win from their last seven matches leaving them 11 points behind the Glory. But what has changed for Sydney, why are a team that looked so impressive in the first few weeks of the competition now starting to falter?

Well many may not be aware of the injury crisis Coach Graham Arnold is facing. There was much controversy surround the season ending injury to Ali Abbas against the Western Sydney Wanderers, but he’s not the only player who will be sitting on the sidelines. Nicky Carle and Cory Gamiero have also been ruled out for the remainder of the season with knee injuries.

This puts Arnold in a tricky situation. His team needs to fight back and start getting some more points under their belt but with so many first-team players missing it’s going to be difficult. The former Socceroo’s boss will be desperate for the January transfer window to open.

Stocking fillers
- A central defender as Sasa Ognenovski has also been ruled out for the rest of the season due to nerve damage in his thigh.
- Home goals for Marc Janko, who is still yet to open his account at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Wellington Phoenix
Nathan Burns to get dropped from the Socceroos – horrible wish but they need him.

The 26-year-old has so far made seven appearance for the nation team and that amount is sure to rise by a few at the AFC Asian Cup in January. The top scorer in the A-League so far this season with 10 goals, Burns was rewarded for his fine form with a spot in Ange Postecoglou’s 23-man squad for the tournament.

This, however, presents a problem of where Coach Ernie Merrick turns to for goals once Burns heads into the Socceroos’ pre-tournament training camp on the 27th of December, just a day before they take on the Western Sydney Wanderers at Westpac Stadium.

The former Adelaide and Newcastle attacker has done most of the heavy lifting for the Kiwi squad so far this season with only four other players netting so far including Roy Krishna and Michael McGlinchey both with four goals. And they are the two players who will be expected to take up the slack while Burns is wearing the green and gold for a month. Their win over Sydney FC last weekend allowed them to jump the sky blues into 4th spot but if Krishna and McGlinchey fail to take charge the Phoenix may struggle to stay there.

Stocking fillers
- Beer; they’ve had a remarkable season thus-far and the surprise packets undoubtedly deserve one.
- A cloaking device; they’ve done well to fly under the radar but their defeat of Sydney FC last weekend would have every manager taking notice of them.

Western Sydney Wanderers
Points – they’re desperate now

For the entire season, many football commentators - this column included - has foretold a story of the Wanderers throwing off the shackles of mediocre A-League form and easily pushing up the ladder into the playoff positions. This however has not materialised.

Put the distractions of the Asian Champions League and the Club World Cup to the side, because the A-League is where a team’s bread and butter is. While winning the ACL title is a remarkable achieve which deserves celebration this will not be enough if the Wanderers fail to make the finals series. The Wanderers sit last on the ladder and four points behind both the Mariners and the Jets.

However it is worth noting that Western Sydney have two matches in hand on both teams and a superior goal difference. A couple of wins over Christmas would drastically change the situation and while they face a tough challenge away to the Phoenix the RBB can look forward to more than winnable game against the Mariners on New Year’s Day.

Stocking fillers
- Polish for the ACL trophy.
- More points, that’s how much they need them.
Read more..

Breaking: Adelaide United release Cassio

Adelaide United has released experienced left-back Cassio on a free transfer today, following ongoing injury and disciplinary issues.

Cassio, who is a two-time club champion, made 158 appearances for the club but has found himself on the sidelines all season following a hamstring injury.



Despite returning to fitness the Brazilian born Australian was unable to find a spot in the Reds’ line up, and the issue came to a head when he decamped from the dressing room mid-way through United’s FFA Cup triumph last week.

Adelaide United management released a statement on Tuesday which thanked Cassio for his services, saying: “the Adelaide United Football Club has today agreed to a mutual termination of the playing contract of Cassio de Abreu Oliveira effective immediately.”

“Cassio is a two time Club Champion having made 158 appearances and scoring 11 goals for the club.

“The Adelaide United Football Club would like to express its appreciation of the great service Cassio gave to the Reds during his time and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”

Last week United boss Josep Gombau publicly lambasted his player over his absence during the FFA Cup final, and hinted that his future at the club was in doubt.

“Cassio has [done] something that I don't like and that is he didn't come before the game to say to the players `good luck' and after the game he didn't come to celebrate with the players,” he said.

"For me this is disrespectful. No chance."

Despite his inglorious exit from Coopers Stadium Cassio will be remembered as one of the most loyal players at the club, having earlier spent time with Brazilian heavyweights Flamengo.

At 34 he may struggle to find another top-level club, but having obtained Australian citizenship, will be an outside chance at finding a spot in the January transfer window.
Read more..

W-League: Canberra United are Australian Champions

Canberra United are the Westfield W-League 2014/15 Champions after stunning hot favourites Perth Glory 3-1 in the Grand Final at nib Stadium on Sunday.

Glory won the league by 10 points in a record-breaking season but it was the underdogs who were the better side in the deciding game on a hot afternoon in Perth.

Nicole Begg & Ash Sykes. Photo Credit: Michael Washbourne

American import Stephanie Ochs put Canberra ahead after 20 minutes with a stunning left-foot strike as several of Glory’s most experienced players, including Kate Gill and Collette McCallum, lost the composure which had defined the club’s season.

McCallum equalised in the 63rd minute with a sensational free kick from 22 yards to give the home side hope of winning a maiden W-League champions.

But a frantic four minutes of football, headlined by a brace from Ashleigh Sykes, saw Canberra snatch the contest back to claim their second W-League championship in four years.

Glory won the premiership with the most points and goals scored in a single W-League campaign but Jamie Harnwell’s side looked a shadow of the outfit which had conquered all before them this season.

Canberra stalwart Michelle Heymann had the first genuine chance of the match when she found space on the right but pushed the ball wide of goal.

It was a telling moment in the match as it signalled Canberra was here for the contest and Perth looked shaky.

An uncharacteristic mistake by McCallum in her side’s attacking half saw Canberra rush the ball forward and after a solid build-up it was soon with Ochs about 20 yards out.

Ochs then fired a curling shot which ricocheted off the far post and into the back of the net to put the visitors ahead and silence the parochial Perth crowd of 2671 people.

The goal sparked more life into Canberra as Glory players dropped their heads in disbelief and frustration at conceding an early goal.

The frustration was clear on the face of Perth winger Caitlin Foord who twice warned by referee Kate Jacewicz as the first half came to a close.

Perth came out after the break clearly fired up and emotions ran high when goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold pulled off a brilliant save to deny Heyman what seemed a certain goal in the 59th minute.

McCallum then scored after Gill was brought down on the edge of the box, successfully curling the ball past the wall and Canberra goalkeeper Chantel Jones.

Perth was back in the match and with the crowd behind the team it seemed inevitable that the ladies in purple would triumph.

Enter Sykes.

The 23-year-old pounced on a cleverly chipped ball from her teammate, outsprinting Glory defender Shelina Zadorsky to put the visitors back in front.

Less than a minute later Glory midfielder Marianna Tabian was brought down in the box and Gill stepped up to take the penalty.

The Golden Boot winner has not missed a penalty all season but kicked it straight into the arms of Jones.

Canberra then took the ball forward and Ochs crossed the ball in from the right, Heymann kept the ball alive as Arnold swooped before Sykes headed it into the back of the net to seal the result.

Canberra United 1 (Ochs 20’, Sykes 75’, 78’) defeated Perth Glory 1 (McCallum 63’)

Perth Glory: 1. Mackenzie ARNOLD (GK), 2. Sarah CARROLL, 4. Bronwyn STUDMAN, 5. Shannon MAY, 6. Alanna KENNEDY, 9. Caitlin FOORD, 12. Kate GILL, 13. Elisa D’OVIDIO, 14. Collette MCCALLUM, 15. Shelina ZADORSKY, 17. Marianna TABAIN

Glory substitutes: 3. Carys HAWKINS, 7. Gabrielle MARZANO, 8. Shawn BILLAM, 16. Thia EASTMAN, 18. Gabrielle DAL BUSCO (GK)

Canberra United: 1. Chantel JONES (GK), 2. Catherine BROWN, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 10. Grace MAHER, 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 12. Sally ROJAHN, 13. Nicole BEGG, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 16. Lori LINDSEY, 22. Stephanie OCHS

Canberra substitutes: 3. Julia DE ANGELIS, 5. Grace FIELD, 9. Grace GILL, 15. Tegan RIDING, 20. Melissa MAIZELS (GK)
Read more..

Glory rout Mariners to sit top of the tree at Christmas

Perth Glory’s superb run of form in the A-League continued at nib Stadium last night as they claimed a 4-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners to open up a six-point lead on Melbourne Victory.

Chris Harold helped himself to a brace in his first start of the season, while Andy Keogh and Daniel De Silva chipped in with a goal each as Glory equalled the league record of eight successive home wins.


De Silva, still only 17 years old, had most of the 9660 spectators on their feet when he flicked the ball up and volleyed a superb effort past a back peddling Liam Reddy in the Mariners goal on 71 minutes.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Glory though, with the visitors enjoying a lot of possession in the opening half hour in particular.

Afterwards, coach Kenny Lowe was happy to hold his hands up for his part in the team’s lacklustre start to the contest.

“I made a mistake at the beginning, asking the boys to press,” he said.

“I thought we could maybe cope with that and do it for the first 20. They carried my instruction out but that was my fault, maybe I was expecting too much after the week we’ve had.”

Lowe’s opposite number Phil Moss couldn’t understand how his team, who lost young full back Michael Neill to a potentially serious foot injury, was on the receiving end of such a heavy defeat.

“I can’t believe the score line, no way on earth was that a 4-1 game,” he said.

“I thought we were in absolute control for the first 35 minutes, or whenever the first goal was scored.”

Moss bemoaned the fact that mistakes keep costing his side goals and their luck won’t turn for the better until they sort that out.

“We have to be more aggressive in the top third in front of goal,” he said.

“And we have to be more aggressive in the back third to make sure that we get that killer instinct at both ends of the pitch because we’re playing some great football through the middle of it.”

Wide man Nick Fitzgerald carved out a good opening on 13 minutes but his strike from the corner of the box was well parried by Danny Vukovic in the Glory goal.

Glory opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when a lovely flick from Andy Keogh released Sidnei Sciola whose cross was tapped home by Chris Harold.

Harold turned provider a couple of minutes later, pouncing on a horrendous attempted pass by Liam Reddy to square for Keogh to net his seventh of the season in the A-League.

The Irishman could have had a second before the break as he pulled the ball out of the air and fired in a low volley that Reddy got down well to stop.

The Mariners responded shortly after the break when Matt Simon was afforded too much space in the penalty area and the bustling striker took advantage to finish low past Vukovic’s outstretched hand.

There was an air of restlessness around the stadium in the aftermath of that goal but De Silva’s wonder strike calmed any nerves, before Harold put the icing on the cake as he curled home a beautiful effort to finish off a clinical break from a Mariners corner.

Ahead of his one year anniversary in charge, initially on a temporary basis, Lowe stressed that the turnaround in Glory’s fortune is down to a collective effort.

"If it goes well maybe I get the credit but it’s not down to me," he said.

"It’s down to everybody; the players, the admin, the owner for having a fair pair of bollocks for giving me the job in the first place."

Glory now sits on 28 points from 11 games, equalling the total for the entire 2013/14 season.

With back-to-back fixtures in Melbourne against City and Victory to come, Lowe is just concentrating on the team improving following some negative preseason predictions.

“Everyone predicted us to be ninth in the league so it doesn’t matter what people say.”



Perth Glory starting XI: 1. Daniel VUKOVIC, 5. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 6. Dino DJULBIC, 8. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9. Andrew KEOGH, 10. Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11. Richard GARCIA, 14. Chris HAROLD, 16. Sidnei SCIOLA, 21. Scott JAMIESON, 23. Michael THWAITE.

Perth Glory substitutes: 3. Brandon O’NEILL, 15. Jamie MACLAREN, 20. Daniel DE SILVA, 24. Matthew DAVIES, 30. Jordan THURTELL.


Central Coast Mariners starting XI: 12. Liam REDDY, 2. Storm ROUX, 3. Joshua ROSE, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 10. Anthony CACERES, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 17. Richard VERNES, 18. Glen TRIFIRO, 19. Matthew SIMON, 21. Michael NEILL.

Central Coast Mariners substitutes: 1. Matthew NASH, 9. Mitchell DUKE, 15. Matthew SIM, 25. Eddy BOSNAR, 26. Seung yong KIM.
Read more..

Paartalu steals Melbourne Derby for City

Melbourne City has given Melbourne Victory their first loss of the year with a 1-0 win in another fantastic installment of the Melbourne Derby at AAMI Park.

The 14th meeting of these two sides was settled in the dying stages of the match when Eric Paartalu headed home from a corner to give City the biggest win of their fledgling existence.

Any win in a derby day is huge to the victorious side but given the contrasting form of each side and City still finding their feet with the new moniker, this is a massive win for the club.

Just like all good derby contests, this was a game full of controversy.

A disallowed goal ruled incorrectly to Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Jacob Melling escaping a blatant red card will have Victory claiming they got hard done by.

The loss is Victory’s first loss for this season and sees them loss ground to Perth on top of the table.

It was a stimulating and tense game of football that City dominated throughout.

City came out of the blocks strong and looked more likely all night.

For all their good work it looked as though City would take nothing out of the game.

City dominated the play in the first half but failed to hit Victory with a telling blow.

A tense opening 45 saw plenty of action in the middle of the park but failed to deliver on the goal front.

Despite being second best for the half it was Victory who almost made the breakthrough via Ben Khalfallah who forced a smart save by Tando Velaphi from a free kick.

The second 45 mirrored the opening stanza, another tense showing that threatended to boil over any minute.

A real firework was set off midway through the half when Melling appeared to elbow Victory skipper Leigh Broxham in the face, starting a bit of handbags from both sides.

Melling was lucky to escape with a yellow which only further enraged the Victory players.

They were close totally losing it even further moments after that when the flag was incorrectly raised on Ben Khalfallah after he scarmbed the ball home in a crowded box.

The replay showed that it may have been in incorrect call as City were given its second lifeline of the game.

The calls going against them seem to deflate the Victory how struggled to threaten City after.

The home side lifted and looked the most likely as the game wore on.

With the match destined to end scoreless, City punished Victory late on with two moments that would change the game.

Nathan Coe did well to save a stinging Aaron Mooy volley onto the crossbar and out for a corner that would lead to the resulting goal.

The ball fell to Mate Dugandzic who fired off a delightful cross right on top of Paartalu’s head who blasted the ball home right in front of the Victory’s fans.

City famously always bring their best football to a Derby game and today was no different.

With the new ownership City promised to step it up to their cross town rivals and threatened to take up the fight for town supremacy to them.

Tonight was the first time they managed to land a blow. While it hasn’t quite a knockout, it certainly left Victory with a black eye and fully aware of their presence.



Melbourne City: 20.Tando Velaphi (GK), 4.Connor Chapman, 5.Erik Paartalu, 6.Aaron Mooy, 15. David Williams (21. Stefan Mauk 89’), 7. Iain Ramsay (14. James Brown 70’), 17.Jason Hoffman, 19.Ben Garuccio, 23.Mate Dugandzic, 24.Patrick Kisnorbo (c), 25.Jacob Melling (10. Robi Koren 61’)

Unused substitutes: 1. Andrew Redmayne (GK), 2. Rob Wielaert


Melbourne Victory: 1. Nathan Coe (GK), 2. Jason Geria, 4. Nick Ansell, 6. Leigh Broxham (c), 8. Besart Berisha, 9. Kosta Barbarouses, 10. Archie Thompson (7. Gui Finkler 61’), 14. Fahid Ben Khalfallah (11. Connor Pain 82’), 18. Dylan Murnane, 21. Carl Valeri (16. Rashid Mahazi 70’), 23. Adrian Leijer

Unused substitutes: 20. Lawrence Thomas, 22. Jesse Makarounas
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Jets finally secure first A-League victory

The Newcastle Jets have finally recorded their first win the of the season with a late Jeronimo Neumann goal sealing a 2-1 victory over Adelaide United at Hunter Stadium on Friday night.

The Argentinian's 81st-minute strike from short range sank his former club and newly-crowned inaugural FFA Cup winners after Jets coach Phil Stubbins told Jeronimo to “go and be the hero”.


The victory eases the pressure on the Englishman and Stubbins said he was “elated” to get his first victory after failing in his previous 10 attempts.

“It’s one win, but what a win,” Stubbins said.

“I’ve been involved in football a long time and this is as good as a feeling as what I’ve had in the game.

“I just congratulated the boys and told them that they were certainly magnificent in representation of the Newcastle Jets shirt.”

It looked like the Novocastrian faithful were seat for the all too familiar heartbreak of letting a lead slip after former Jet Craig Goodwin cancelled out Scott Neville’s 49th minute goal.

Defeat to Jets would have seen them become the second team in A-League history to fail to score a win before Christmas but it was the 28-year-old Neumann who was giving out the gifts.

“I said to Jeronimo ‘go and be the hero’ before he went onto the pitch and he provided that, for him (to score) against his own club I think will feel special for him,” Stubbins said.

“But I don’t really want to mention any individual players because I think as a team performance it was as good as we’ve put together.”

Despite enjoying 66% possession the Reds looked sluggish and fatigued following their 1-0 victory over Perth Glory in the FFA Cup final on Tuesday night.

The best chance of the first half fell to Jets winger Andrew Hoole who headed a David Carney cross straight into Eugene Galekovic.

The deadlock was broken just after half time when Neville stabbed home a Zenon Caravella free kick that was headed on by Newcastle centre back Adrian Madaschi.

Goodwin made it 1-1 in the 70th minute when he superbly met a James Treggo cross at the back post following some enterprising play from halftime substitute Awer Mabil.

David Carney was again a star for the home team and he provided the through-ball for Jeronimo to slip the winning goal past Galekovic.

Adelaide coach Josep Gombau said he was proud of his team’s effort and performance despite the tough run of fixtures they faced the last seven days.

“Friday to Friday we played three games and normally when we lose the ball we press hard to try to recover it as soon as possible and tonight the pressing was there but not fast enough,” Gombau said.

“With the ball we played well but we didn’t have the speed we normally do and this is because mentally and physically we are a bit tired.

“But we did well, I’m not unsatisfied with the players and they tried everything but it’s not easy to play in two competitions.”

The Jets remain in 9th place on the A-League ladder but they’re now just three points outside the top 6 however Stubbins says the team must keep taking it one game at a time.

“For us we’re focusing every week on the next game and it looks next week we’ll be without Edson Montano (due to a calf injury),” Stubbins said.

“It’s another setback we’ll have to deal with and I thought he was excellent tonight and a powerful figurehead.

“We’ve got a game next week and we’ll be focusing on that but we’ll certainly enjoy the win tonight.”

The Jets will look to make it back to back win next Saturday in Melbourne but will face a stiff challenge against the Victory, while Adelaide United travel to the Sydney Football Stadium to face Sydney FC.
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W-League Grand Final: What the coaches think

With the Westfield W-League Grand Final between Perth Glory and Canberra United less than a day away, we’ve asked the other coaches about their thoughts heading into the decider.

READ OUR CHAT WITH THE OPPOSING COACHES HERE.


Joe Montemurro
Melbourne Victory

Prediction: Canberra United

“They’ve got a good spread of players all over the park that are capable of doing their job quite well and they’ve also got the firepower up front to finish games off so I think Canberra can actually win it. They’re a very well organised unit and they’ve got a lot of experience playing finals football.”

Daniel Barrett
Sydney FC

Prediction: Perth Glory

“I think they’ve built up such great momentum throughout the season and I just don’t see it stopping. They’ve got quality all around the park and they proved last weekend against us they can mix up their play a lot. They played a lot shorter passing game which disorganised us at times. I just think they’ve got more to their football and they’ve definitely grown as the season has gone on so I think they’ll get the business done on the weekend.”

Peter McGuiness
Newcastle Jets

Prediction: Perth Glory

“Their potential to score goals is really high and I think their back four – including their keeper – are very sound and very structured. My pick for player of the grand final is Caitlin Foord; she’ll have a great game breaking out of midfield. She adds a real attacking dimension to that team by making those forward runs even without the ball. They will miss Sam Kerr but I don’t think they’re a one-player team in any way, shape or form.”

Ross Aloisi
Adelaide United

Prediction: Perth Glory

“It’s going to be a tough one but I will say Perth Glory, just, because they are playing at home. Without Sam Kerr it’s going to very difficult for them and I don’t think they are as dangerous but I’m going towards Perth because they have been outstanding all year and there’s been games where they’ve won without Sam as well. For some reason my gut tells me Canberra may come away with this and they have come into some good form of late but it’s a tough one to choose.”

Norm Boardman
Western Sydney Wanderers

Prediction: Perth Glory

“I was asked this question about six weeks ago and I said at the time, cheekily, if we didn’t win it Perth Glory would. I still think that even though Sam Kerr is out. I think Perth will have too much firepower for Canberra. I know grand finals are a one-off game but Jamie has had them really well organised all year and they’ve been really consistent. The structure of Perth is such that will get them over the line in the big one. It will be a highly entertaining game and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is four or five goals in it.”

Brisbane Roar’s Belinda Wilson has been contacted for comment and we will update as she gets back to us.

You can watch the Grand Final on ABC 1 this Sunday. Times are below.

Western Australia: Midday (live)
NSW, ACT, Tas & Vic: 3pm (live)
QLD, SA, NT: 3pm (delayed)

Follow live Twitter updates on our Twitter account: @TheFootballSack
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W-League Grand Final: Harnwell & Migchelsen

Perth Glory will head into Sunday’s Westfield W-League Grand Final against Canberra United as warm favourites to claim a maiden championship and cap a remarkable turnaround in fortunes.

The perennial strugglers of the W-League had made the finals just once before the start of this season but all of that seemed to be forgotten once the new campaign kicked off in September.


Jamie Harnwell’s side has not skipped a beat since stunning two-time champions Brisbane Roar in the opening round, breaking record after record – including most points and goals scored in a season – on their way to winning the league by a whopping 10 points.

READ THE PREDICTIONS OF THE OTHER W-LEAGUE COACHES HERE.

It would take a massive upset to deny Perth from taking hold of the trophy on Sunday but Harnwell knows all too well how something that seems so inevitable can suddenly be ripped from one’s grasp.

Harnwell was a member of two losing grand finals for the Perth Glory men’s side in 2000 and 2002 after dominant seasons, only to be cruelly denied in heartbreaking circumstances at the final hurdle.

Whether Harnwell uses his personal agony to motivate his players before they take to the nib Stadium pitch on Sunday remains to be seen but he is adamant his charges are well-equipped to handle the weight of expectations.

“We’ve had to deal with pressure and expectations since the first four or five games of the season,” Harnwell said.

“Coming into the semi-finals there was a lot of talk we were already through to the grand final which we were quick to squash.

“Canberra are a strong side and we’re not going to have it all our own way so I don’t think there will be too many problems in terms of the girls getting carried away.”

Canberra is one of only two teams to beat Perth this season, upsetting the premiers 2-1 in the final game of the regular season to book a spot in the finals.

Liesbeth Migchelsen’s side then won through to Sunday’s Grand Final after triumphing in a penalty shootout against Melbourne Victory last weekend and will certainly be no pushovers despite heading into the match as rank outsiders.

Temperatures are forecast to hit 31C on Sunday but Migchelsen denied the Perth heat would be an issue for her team.

“It was also hot here in Canberra this week and last weekend in Melbourne it was more than 30C on the pitch so the girls are used to the heat,” she said.

“We did some very hard sessions in very hot conditions during the pre-season and season so the team is used to the heat and they are fit enough to handle it in Perth on Sunday.”

Both teams will be without key players in Sunday’s Grand Final. Glory attacker Sam Kerr suffered a serious knee injury when the two teams last met a fortnight ago and won’t take to the pitch for another three months.

US import Kendall Fletcher has also returned home after finishing her seven-game guest stint with Canberra and would have been the perfect foil for negating Golden Boot winner Kate Gill and the dangerous Caitlin Foord.

The battle at the other end of the pitch will also be vital to the outcome of the match as Canberra’s experienced pairing of Michelle Heymann and Ashleigh Sykes confront the formidable defensive duo of Alanna Kennedy and Shelina Zadorsky.

Perth captain Collette McCallum and fellow seasoned campaigners Marianna Tabian and Shannon May are sure to have an intriguing midfield battle with Canberra stalwart Grace Gill and the retiring Lori Lindsey.

Glory veteran Elisa D’Ovidio will also hang up her boots after the match and Harnwell was confident she would be farewelled on a winning note.

“A lot of these players have seen some pretty lean times so it’s great reward for them to be in a grand final,” he said.

“I know what it’s like to win a grand final and I just hope the girls get to experience that as well.”

Migchelsen, however, was equally confident her team could cause an upset and add a second championship title to Canberra’s trophy cabinet.

“It was an amazing season for us with all the ups and downs and now we end up in the grand final so we are very proud of this team,” she said.

“Last weekend we played in extra time and after 120 minutes I think we showed that we were the fittest team on the pitch. We’ve recovered well this week with good training sessions and everybody is ready to go, so we will see what happens on Sunday.”

You can watch the Grand Final on ABC 1 this Sunday. Times are below.

Western Australia: Midday (live)
NSW, ACT, Tas & Vic: 3pm (live)
QLD, SA, NT: 3pm (delayed)

Follow live Twitter updates on our Twitter account: @TheFootballSack
Read more..

Former Chairman and Editor in racial controversy

Football West State League Division One club Mandurah City has spoken out in defence of its President Peter Rowe after disparaging comments made on social media this week.

In a conversation that took place on Facebook, Rowe offered his very forthright opinions on Muslims in the wake of the Sydney Siege tragedy.

However, when later taken to task by other members of the football community, Rowe spoke out in an interview with the Mandurah Mail and claimed that he had been set up.

“I am angry,” said Rowe, who has worked in the media as a senior news editor for the West Australian newspaper.

“I think this is dirty tricks. I have no desire to provoke hatred or any criminal behaviour, but I do have concerns about a certain section of the population.

“I was not making hatred comments.”

The Football Sack can confirm that this is not the case; the original comments can be seen below, and are still publicly viewable on Facebook.





Despite this irrefutable evidence, the statement from Mandurah City insists that Rowe's comments were altered and taken out of context.


The club's response has been met with great disappointment from members of the WA football community who believe that Rowe's position is now untenable.

One look at Rowe's vision for City on the club's website appears to be in stark contrast to his views on religion.

"I would like it to become the club of choice for anyone wanting to play the game in our region – open and accessible to all," he states.

Football West, the game's peak body in Western Australia, has also issued a statement on the matter and expressed its disappointment with Rowe's comments, while also advising that Football Federation Australia (FFA) has been notified.

"Soccer is the world’s most inclusive sport and Football West is appalled by these derogatory comments. The sport does not tolerate prejudice towards any race, religion or culture," said Football West Chairman Liam Twigger.

"Football West embraces all cultures and works closely with the State Government to deliver positive outcomes to all communities.  

"Through the Outreach for Diversity Program, Football West assists those from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) backgrounds, including those from the Muslim community, to play, coach, referee and administer the game in WA.
 
"Football West will not tolerate comments or actions of any individual or group that are contrary to the sport’s inclusive and harmonious community standing and the expectations of Australian society."

While Football West has spoken to Rowe, no action has been taken at this stage.

Football West also advised its members to remember to follow the FFA's Code of Conduct, and with that in mind, there is little doubt that Rowe has contravened the following points with his remarks:

1.2 This Code:

(a) forms part of the FFA Statutes and applies to the conduct and behaviour of FFA, Member Federations, Competition Administrators, Clubs, Players, Officials and Agents (Members);

(c) continues to apply to a Member even after that Member's association, registration, employment or engagement has ended, if that Member breached the Code while a current Member;

2.2 Without limiting the generality of clause 2.1, a Member will be taken as having brought football into Disrepute if any of the following occurs:

(a) discriminatory behaviour, including public disparagement of, discrimination against, or vilification of, a person on account of an Attribute;

(k) any other conduct, behaviour or statement that materially injures the reputation and goodwill of FFA or football generally.

Attribute means race, colour, religion, language, politics, national or ethnic origin, gender, transgender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, pregnancy or intellectual or physical impairment or any other attribute specified under commonwealth or state legislation.

Back in June of this year, FFA Chief Executive David Gallop spoke strongly about the sport being inclusive when the National Club Identity Policy was launched.

"Football is now a part of the mainstream of Australian society and has achieved that status while also retaining its rich diversity," said Gallop.

"The intent of the National Club Identity Policy is to ensure the game remains inclusive and accessible, not just in the way we organise ourselves, but in how we engage with the community."
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The Week in Australian Football: Round 11

You might have checked out from work this week but let's be honest, we have been checked out from work for weeks. This is what is left...

The Big Blue played out on the weekend an entertaining 3-3 draw with veterans Shane Smeltz bagging two and Archibald Thompson etching up another hat-trick. It was exciting stuff however it has caused some controversy with 2007 calling up the A-League asking to have its game back.




Br CCM went across the ditch and defied the odds to get a 1-1 draw in Wellington which shocked even the most dedicated supporter. The Mayor of Gosford has declared a region holiday to celebrate the achievement: 'You have to celebrate the good times because they may never come again'. Residents of Newcastle just up the road are preparing to work every day for the remainder of the season.

Cruz Azul apparently benefitted from some referee decisions to win their Club World Cup Quarter Final versus the Western Sydney Wanderers as we have been well reminded by the media.

This Week in Australian Football totally agrees with Wanderers fans and the general media and stands outraged that the team were robbed from advancing to the next round by the officials. The Wanderers are extremely stiff and would never rely on bad officialdom to be handed an unjust result.*

*Data taken from last six weeks.

The A-League system has been praised after Brisbane Peugeot FC, the world's worst team this season, won one game and is back in the finals places. Therefore, at this stage they stand equal in all ways to Adelaide on the table despite starting the round 13 points behind.

Proposals are in order for next year to expand the finals series to ten teams. Newcastle Jets are already petitioning the league to revise that to eleven finals teams so they can be included after they finish below the Asian Champions League enforced Bye.

Adelaide United have won the inaugural FFA Cup with a 1-0 win over Perth Glory. A memorable result but one which caused some problems for the FFA who had to scrap the prepared trophy and smelt a new one as they had jumped the gun and engraved "Adelaide United - Runners Up" using the standard template for previous finals.

Join us next week as we find out which A-League player is training to be Santa with our money on Andrew Nabbout who honestly just needs to put a white beard on.
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