Thursday, September 21, 2006

Round Five Predictions

Well, rank amateur as I am, here's my call for this weekend's A-League results.

New Zealand vs Sydney
Draw 1:1

Queensland vs Adelaide
Queensland 2:1

Central Coast vs Newcastle
Newcastle 2:0

Perth vs Melbourne
Melbourne 1:0

Probably the most shocking call I'm making is for tonight's game. I watched Sydney vs Newcastle last Sunday (on Fox Sport at the Pub) and frankly I think Sydney were bloody lucky. Newcastle were playing better from the beginning. Yes, Sydney had the ball for the first fifteen minutes up in Newcastle's area but, a) this was very clearly Newcastle's opening strategy, and b) they orchestrated it perfectly, leaving Sydney no opportunities in that time at all. The first (penalty) goal against Newcastle was straight-up unlucky.

Meanwhile, with the loss of Steve Corica and Alvin Ceccoli the Sydney Club seems to be falling to pieces. Coach Butcher is not handling it well, and I'm worried that morale is pretty bad in the Sydney camp.

New Zealand didn't play too badly last Friday night against Queensland, especially in the first half before they slipped two points behind, and are absolutely desperate for a result. I reckon they can smell the blood from Sydney's wounds and will put on the best show we've seen from them yet. We'll see.

My son Jacob, 11, differs with me. These are his predictions:

New Zealand vs Sydney
Sydney 2:1

Queensland vs Adelaide
Queensland 2:0

Central Coast vs Newcastle
Draw 0:0

Perth vs Melbourne
Melbourne 2:0

We'll be at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night and I'll report on that game. I'll try to catch tonight's game at the Pub, but don't even know the names of most of the players so won't be able to say too much. I'll see how I go. Contributions from others are welcome.

Remember that tonight's game is at 6.00pm, Australian Eastern Standard Time, on Fox Sports 2. It's fair enough that the A-League page leads with the local time (North Harbour Stadium, NZ in this case) of the kick off, but seems silly to me that the away-punters have to figure out the time difference for themselves. Do they want us to watch it or not?

It sucks that the A-League is not on free-to-air TV. It's not good for the game either. I'm sure Fox Sport solidly outbid SBS, but I hope that's not the total of the Soccer Federation's calculus. If it is they are blowing it.

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Anonymous Wes said...

Your last point on free-to-air coverage for the A-League is very valid. At least the highlights must be on free-to-air just like it is for the Premier League in England. People with Foxsports don't watch those highlights that much because they would have watched the matches live or watched the various re-runs of those matches. This is something that needs to be addressed to bring the A-League to more people.

September 27, 2006 10:44 pm  
Blogger Hamish said...

G'day Wes, and welcome to Football Down Under.

Since posting my opinion on SBS, Fox and the Soccer Federation's strategy I have been worried if I hadn't gone off half cocked. Does SBS even want these matches? With all the sport available, is there a TV audience that would justify it to the SBS board? I ask these questions not as a rhetorical device but because I don't know the answers to them.

But surely you are right that at the very least the highlights should be available to free-to-air TV. Aren't they? If not, that is really crazy.

The real goal of course is for football to become so overwhelmingly important in Australia that the free-to-air stations fight each other over the A-League. There's a lot of positive signs that football is getting somewhere in our great sporting country, but clearly there is still a long way to travel.


September 27, 2006 11:35 pm  

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