Sunday, January 11, 2009
Plenty of people, myself included, have agonized about various aspects of the A-League this season; some constructively, others (mostly on the payroll of a certain R. Murdoch) from a sense of sheer spite.
To be sure, the competition faces its share of problems. But it’s always good to be reminded occasionally, as I was last night at Bluetongue Stadium, that the league is basically in rude health.
A passionate and (despite the “new dawners” cliché) quite knowledgeable crowd of 11,000-odd watched a tremendously entertaining game of football, on a good pitch, in a pleasant, comfortable stadium.
There was plenty of young talent on show to enthuse the spectators; Queensland’s two young wingers, especially the mercurial Tahj Minniecon, had a field day tormenting the opposing fullbacks, while a local youngster who is quickly becoming a cult figure on the Central Coast scored two goals at the other end.
There was also an imported player turning in a fine performance, perhaps an indication that the clubs are beginning to exercise some discernment in their recruitment of foreign players.
Two “returning Socceroos” played key roles in the victory of the away side, and for many of the older fans they provide a comforting link between the past and the future of Australian football.
Another small point: contrary to the stereotype, there were a fair few players in the “peak range” – the early-to-mid-twenties age group – on display as well; Matt McKay, Massimo Murdocca, Matthew Osman, Dylan McAllister, Pedj Bojic, etc.
Last but not least, the general ground organization was impeccable, the police presence discreet, and the interplay between the fans never more than superficially hostile.
Admittedly, the match in question was between two of the most stable and well-run clubs in the competition. But the mere fact that an occasion like last night is now taken for granted is a sure token of how far the league has come in such a comparatively short time.
“Could you have imagined this, just a few years ago?” remarked a journalist I was chatting with just prior to kick-off. There was only one possible reply.
Once again, it's great to see you back. Regular(ish), quality football reading...
Further review? Roar in the second half looked as cohesive as I've ever seen them, TBH (the second Mariners goal was just inexperience from a young goalie who otherwise did well, and the third CCM goal, in my opinion, shouldn't have been given - the player coming back from offside was more than enough to put the defenders off, linesmen really should have more common sense with that).
Shifting Danny to LB and DeVere over to the right was an excellent switch by Farina, because Qld were struggling with three against three at the back in the first half. If Minniecon can find that sort of form regularly, rather than about one game in three, then he'd be the most dangerous winger in the comp.
And van Dijk is the import of the season for my money, without doubt. Even including Charlie. ;-)
whilst sometimes looking a bit too new and shiny, and dare say, artificial ("fury"?, disputes between fans and MV), the a-league has been welcoming fans and given them something to support.
for me, the biggest wrap i can give the a-league is that because of our new comp i now don`t care about the premier league UK. i know a lot of fans have kept their big league teams, but i ditched mine.
The 'general population' are far more knowledgeable and aware of the league than was the case in the past (that's the case in Adelaide, anyway).
And yes, I agree with you Mike - van Dijk is definitely one of classiest imports in the league at the moment...
Know what you mean. I never had any real EPL affiliations to start with, but since the advent of the A-League I've been following it less and less.
Last year I thought that Minniecon was the best of the Roar's youngsters, this year he has been way too quick to drop his head.
Tommy Oar may one day bring us all back to the EPL. Any we haven't seen Cernak yet.
I think Kosmina is now getting his ideas from Frank...