Sunday, February 18, 2007


Lessons Unlearnt

John Kosmina has a good deal of egg on his face right now. And he deserves every dripping bit of it.

He manifestly set himself up with his smug sniping at Miron Bleiberg in the lead-up to the game. A smart cookie, Mr. Kosmina? Not when you repeat exactly the same mistakes that lost you the previous game against the same opponents.

1. Ross Aloisi once again left to cope alone with Melbourne's thrusts through the centre, when he was so plainly incapable of doing so two weeks earlier. Once again, Melbourne very quickly gained complete dominance in the central midfield area, and were thereby able to exploit Adelaide's shaky left side of defence.

2. Nathan Burns yet again used on the left, where he has been consistently anonymous. Again, Adelaide posed little threat on that wing; on this occasion, Travis Dodd, too, found himself diligently marked by Steve Pantelidis, and he never got into the game.

Once Burns moved into the middle in the second half, his influence increased exponentially. But by that time, of course, it was much too late.

3. Bruce Djite, who proved such a handful for Melbourne in the major semi-final second leg (almost making up for Melbourne's absolute control of the midfield, for a time), only brought on when the game was all but over. The Burns-Djite combination is clearly Adelaide's most potent strikeforce at the moment (so much was made abundantly clear in the final game of the regular season, against the Mariners), but it has been given so little time in which to operate.

I shouldn't criticise Kosmina too much for his choice of Greg Owens at left-back, since it was one of the options I canvassed in my preview. It was rather the combination of a lack of penetration on the left, an impotent midfield, and a makeshift left-back that largely contributed to Melbourne's first two goals.

And now, having said all that:

Hearty, thoroughly deserved congratulations, Ernie Merrick and Melbourne Victory.

You have dominated this season from the start, and the recovery from your loss of momentum in the closing weeks of the regular season has been most impressive.

Archie Thompson was the most obvious star of the grand final, but Fred was perhaps even more deserving of acclaim. His service, both from behind the forward line and from out wide, was absolutely outstanding.

Enjoy your triumph, gentlemen.

Yeah, Fred was my MOTM as well. I've always known he's skilful, but his workrate is just phenomenal. I also thought Caceres played a crucial role in the first half hour.

If only MV were playing in the ACL right now, in the same way Sydney should have been this time last year, instead of the shell of a team that starts Australia's long awaited journey in less than three weeks.

To be fair to Adelaide, they were severely handicapped by last week's emotional rollercoaster and as you said in your GF Preview, they figuratively had no left side. Could Kossie have done much more in that area tonight? Dunno, but there is absolutely no reason why Aloisi continually keeps his place despite being unquestionably their biggest liability all season.

Despite this, Adelaide still have much to look forward to, not only with the ACL but the performances of Djite and Burns. Along with Costanzo, they can hold their heads high. Burns still needs plenty of work on his finishing before he heads for that inevitable overseas move, but he certainly has character aplenty. Nine out of ten players his age would have gone AWOL after missing those consecutive chances early in the match. The fact that he kept wanting the ball was impressive.

As for the booing of Adelaide's players by the crowd tonight, I felt embarrassed by that and unfortunately it reinforced the Tard stereotype. Not all of us Victorians are Tards I can assure you!

Kossie deserved all 50,000 boos though it has to be said....
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