The draw for Season 2016/17 of the Hyundai A-League has already thrown up some major highlights and blockbusters to look forward to ahead of the October season kick off.
While each side will either have 14 games at home and 13 away – or vice versa – there are times during the campaign where some sides play an extended stint of matches either on the road or in front of the home faithful.
This is where it’ll get tricky and for Western Sydney Wanderers, this comes in the middle third of the season.
Between Rounds 9 and 18, Tony Popovic’s troops play just three games out of 10 in front of their home fans, including two trips to New Zealand, two visits to the Queensland capital and an away date with Melbourne City.
However, the good news for Wanderers fans is that five of their subsequent six games are at home, including the Sydney Derby against the Sky Blues at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, February 18.
But the Wanderers aren’t the only side to face a tricky string of games on the road.
For example, Brisbane Roar play just three of nine at Suncorp Stadium from Rounds 8 to 16.
This includes trips to the Wanderers, Sydney FC, Wellington and Victory.
Easing the pain for Roar is the fact they’ll enjoy an excellent run home with three of the last four games in front of their Orange Army at Suncorp.
Central Coast Mariners will need to steel themselves. They have just two home matches in the first seven rounds, with only one of those in Gosford (the Mariners are taking their Round 6 home game to the nation’s capital).
It’s a different story for Melbourne City, though.
While John van ‘t Schip’s men are away for the first two games, they play five of their next seven at AAMI Park giving themselves a great chance to get off to a flying start.
The end of January to the end of February looms as being a decisive month in Sydney FC’s season.
From Rounds 17 to 21, the Sky Blues play four of their five matches away from home, all against traditional competition heavyweights. Sydney’s away trips include games at Victory, Roar, the Wanderers and Melbourne City.
Wellington Phoenix are taking four of their home matches around New Zealand this season, with Auckland, New Plymouth and Waikato all getting a taste of the action.
But it also means there is a two-month period from early November to the start of January (Round 6 to Round 13) where the side are away from ‘The Cake Tin’, which has been a fortress for the side in the past.
In summary, A-League coaches will be planning now for the season – including these tricky times in the fixtures.