There was plenty to dissect after a tantalising round of football in the Hyundai A-League.
Remembrance Round a huge success
From the first whistle of the first game in Melbourne on Thursday night, the pre-match ceremonies around Remembrance Round were superb.
Everything from the playing of the last post to marches and performances from the Airforce Band and the Poppy Appeal, it was all impeccably performed and beautifully acknowledged by Hyundai A-League fans.
And the football that followed in all five games matched the significance of what Remembrance Round was celebrating. It was a wonderful initiative and a celebration that’s only going to get bigger and better in years to come.
Merrick the master hits a century
Wellington went into their clash with the Mariners in Canberra minus five of their leading players away with the All Whites on international duty.
It should have been too big a hurdle for the Nix but boss Ernie Merrick came up with the game-plan, which his players executed perfectly to come away with a 2-0 win.
Considering the circumstances, it will go down as one of the club’s best victories in recent history.
It was also Merrick’s 100th win as a coach in the Hyundai A-League [across both Wellington and Melbourne Victory], making him the only manager in the competition’s history to reach triple figures.
Jets must find defensive reinforcements. Now!
You have to feel for rookie Newcastle boss Mark Jones.
Already without central defenders Daniel Mullen and Lachlan Jackson through injury, now skipper Nigel Boogaard looks set for a stint on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury against City.
After an encouraging start, the Jets have now lost three in a row and are left with no recognised or experienced centre-backs going into next weekend’s F3 Derby.
Is it time for the club to go into the transfer market or at least look for an injury replacement deal. They could do worse than look at ex-Adelaide defender Jon McKain, who is available.
Likewise, Iain Fyfe, the former Red and Sydney FC defender, is also a name on the radar.
And what about Caltex Socceroo Matthew Spiranovic? His Chinese club has just been relegated and it would be great to see “Spira” back in the Hyundai A-League.
Is Fornaroli the greatest pure goal-scorer in A-League history?
We’re running out of superlatives to describe the Uruguayan striker.
His brace to beat the Jets on Thursday night took his tally to 31 goals in just 35 games, becoming the fastest ever to get to 30 goals, beating the previous record of 45 matches by Shane Smeltz. A simply phenomenal strike rate! While he’d need a few more seasons to become the competition’s greatest-ever scorer [currently Archie Thompson with 90], there’s a strong argument we’ve never seen a better finisher in the competition than “El Tuna”.
Sydney FC… wow
The unbeaten streak continues. Could they dare to dream of 27 games unbeaten? No doubt they’re just taking it one game at a time (especially with a tough clash against Roar in Brisbane on Saturday night), but you’d have to say this Sky Blue side looks invincible right now.
As Alex Brosque explained after Sunday’s 4-1 drubbing over Glory. “The A-League is that tough, anyone can beat anyone on their day and I think that makes it even more special what we’ve done with the six wins in a row and reaching the FFA Cup final. I never seen a team at Sydney start this way, play this way or dominate games this way.” We agree.