Sunday, February 15, 2009


Madness All Round

Hands up everyone who saw this coming. Mine will stay by my sides.

The general level of professionalism among A-League coaches in their relations with the media has declined sharply this season. There have been John Kosmina's snipes, Gary van Egmond's curious scapegoating of individual players, and now a simply astonishing outburst by Aurelio Vidmar.

It's worth remembering that, despite all Vidmar's successes this season, he is still inexperienced as a senior coach, and the sort of behind-the-scenes muttering and undermining that is de rigueur at most clubs may have caught him somewhat unawares. But that's little excuse for some of his comments. Call your club's home city a "pissant town" in some parts of Europe and you would be lucky to escape physical harm, let alone the sack.

One wonders how much the "politics" he refers to influenced his selection for last night's game. In the event, it was an unbalanced, dispirited-looking Adelaide side, which badly missed the pugnacious Fabian Barbiero in midfield early on. Carlos Hernandez, as Andy Harper mentioned, was allowed far too much space in which to operate, and he responded with a sterling performance, setting up three goals and working his own way onto the scoresheet with a calmly-taken strike.

And why, after his sturdy performances at the point of the attack towards the end of the regular season, was Robert Younis not even included in Adelaide's squad for the Melbourne tie? Cristiano battled hard last night as always, but he simply didn't have enough support to make a significant impact...while, at the other end, Melbourne took advantage of the gaps in Adelaide's defence (particularly as a result of the full-backs getting marooned upfield) in characteristically incisive fashion.

If Adelaide are in disarray, Queensland are looking ominously effective, and plenty of pundits have written the Reds off in next week's preliminary final already. It might be closer than expected; it's worth remembering the 2006/07 series, when Adelaide were denied a home grand final in heartbreaking fashion but recovered to sneak past Newcastle on penalties. But has Vidmar made his position at Adelaide untenable? It certainly appears that way.

Vidmar is not the only one to have been attacked by a fit of madness, however. The FFA, in one of their silliest decisions to date, have declared that next season's 10-team competition will feature a six-team finals series.

Even beyond the inherent absurdity of more than half the teams in a competition making it to the finals series, there is the additional objection that next season would be the perfect opportunity to install the nicely balanced five-team finals system, used (for instance) in the NSW Premier League, rather than the awkward two-leg playoffs necessary when there is an even number of finalists.

I'm hoping that wiser counsels will prevail on this one (the fans will no doubt have plenty to say).

Having more teams make the finals than don't makes a mockery of them. They should stick with a top four and maybe a top five when the team expands to 12, but a top six sounds like an early April Fools joke.
"and the sort of behind-the-scenes muttering and undermining that is de rigueur at most clubs may have caught him somewhat unawares."

Come on mikey, how long was he a profesional for? He has to know players snipe. It's like the army. The only time you worry about a soldier bitching is when he stops. Because he's dead.

Still, it will be interesting to see if the pissants keep him.
..."and the sort of behind-the-scenes muttering and undermining that is de rigueur at most clubs may have caught him somewhat unawares."

Come on mikey, how long was he a profesional for? He has to know players snipe. It's like the army....

Fair comment, but as a player he wouldn't have had to deal (directly, anyway) with scheming from the boardroom and the backroom staff as well...and it appears there has been a bit of this at AU recently.
1 person is consensus.

2 people is discussion.

3 people is politics.

He should have known it exists. And if he didn't ... naive is the only word mate. ;)
Thanks Mike
I can see why FAA have gone for 6 in the finals. They are concerned that if both the new teams make the finals, half the other teams will fall apart. It was a mistake to allow Gold Coast and Fury 5 foreign spots and not the others. Only Melb and Roar, and maybe CCM will have balanced squads next year.
Roar should make no mistake this will be the toughest game in their history. And the most important.

This is the game that could cement Roar as a major team - with the corporate support they need to keep them at lang park.

Last time they went to Hindmarsh with a game of this importance - the last game of last season - they - particularly Tiatto - imploded.

If they had won they would be playing ACL this year instead of CCM.
mike, i find it a big joke in the nrl that 8 of the 16 clubs can play in their semis...

i figure it's because it's their only comp of note (other than englsih super league of course), and the importance of an even comp cannot be underestimated...

the ffa decision appears to be an extension of that same philosophy, giving everyone an opportunity to compete in the finals and keeping the interest till the end (because theres no relegation for example)

while it would be a joke next season having 6 of the 10 teams in, there is a bit of merit in the arguement that they shouldnt chop and change it every season, as per the nsl, so 6 (or whatever the figures ends up) should be the magic figure regardless of a 12 or 14 team comp...
put simply, the NRL does it because of our cultural love of the underdog. Everyone loves the chance of the theam that came 7th knocking out the top teams and challenging for the premiership.

Football is the only sport in the country that has a hang up about the league season and claims that there shouldn't be a final.

There will be this many teams in the finals because it is good press.

And remember, finals are good.
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