The Roar’s A-League Men tips and predictions: Round 7


The Roar of the crowd has taken a sneaky lead in the tipping after six rounds and the experts are struggling with the unpredictability the A-League always offers.

Round 7 looks a nightmare for tipping and a ripper for fans, with a desperate match between the Mariners and Western United opening the weekend, before Perth and City face a similar scenario in the west later on Friday evening.

Wellington will be eyeing of another three points against the struggling Jets, Sydney and Macarthur meet in a bell-ringing block buster on Saturday night and Adelaide and Brisbane both need the three points in the 3pm (AEDT) Sunday clash.

Perhaps the biggest match of the round ends the weekend, when the Wanderers host the Victory in what should be a feisty affair. Good luck with your selections for the round and be sure to insert them in the sheet below to have a say in the voice of the people.
Here is the way the panel sees all the action unfolding in Round 7.

Texi Smith
Central Coast, Perth, Wellington, Sydney, Adelaide, Western Sydney

A warm Friday night under lights in front of the palm trees and sauce bottles, the canon primed and ready to give the unsuspecting casual fan a fright, this is an A-League recipe that works. The Mariners stumbled to a draw against Victory last week and in yet another home game, they should be home and dry by half time.

The visitors have quality and style but just can’t buy a bit of luck, and that will continue as the Central Coast vibe returns to remind us of how good the Mariners were last year. Tom Heward-Belle will match everything early on, peppered with shots, but two late goals in the first half from Angel Torres and Storm Roux will steer the home team to victory.

A bouncing HBF Park in the late game on Friday is the chance for Glory to return to winning ways. Visitors Melbourne City will be relieved that Jamie Young is not suspended after flooring Archie Goodwin last week with the latest tackle in the history of football, and they will have plenty of possession but no goals at the break.

The Shed will come alive in the second half as Glory continue the form that should have gotten them points against Sydney last week, and it will be the livewire front duo of Adam Taggart and Luke Ivanovic who terrorise the City defence; Ivanovic finally finding his shooting boots and striking twice before the break. A late rocket from journeyman Steven Ugarkovic will remind Glory fans of their league position, but the result will be confirmed seconds later when Daniel Bennie completes the job.

Central Coast’s Storm Roux competes for the ball with Victory’s Nishan Velupillay. (Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images)

There are some games that a tipster should never have to tip. Saturday’s visit of Newcastle Jets to the Cake Tin in Wellington should be a home banker. There is nothing to suggest that Wellington won’t continue their table-topping form, but they will have to work very hard for this one. Nil-nil at the break will cue the Phoenix breakaway machine, David Ball and Kosta Barbarouses trading passes at high speed to bamboozle the Jets defence.

With 15 minutes left, there will be three second-half goals, all from swift counter attacks that leave the Jets shaking their heads in disbelief. Phoenix clinical, Jets rueful.

The home games keep coming for Sydney FC, and this time it’s the entertainers of Macarthur who come looking to spoil the party at Allianz Stadium. With the mercury tipped to exceed 40 degrees on Saturday, the shirts will be off in the Cove again, regardless of whether a storm hits or not. The home team were fortunate not to be well behind early on in a stuttering first half last week against Perth, and they will have learned plenty of lessons from that game.

Macarthur’s late victory in a seven-goal thriller against Adelaide on Monday was a fine advert for the A-League, and they will continue their impressive form in this one. Valere Germain will be a constant thorn in Sydney’s defence, his football brain rather than his physicality creating openings, and Uli Davila’s class will show too, as Macarthur make life uncomfortable for the Sky Blue defence.

With little to separate the teams, it will be a moment of pure class from Robert Mak, who races down the wing, cuts in and shows Joe Lolley where the top corner really is, and that one beautiful goal is just enough to see Sydney FC home.

The Sunday afternoon clash in a chilly Adelaide with United hosting Brisbane Roar will be a cracker. The home team came out of Monday’s game at Macarthur with nothing, despite leading 3-2 with ten minutes remaining, while Brisbane let a two-goal lead slip in a good performance at home to the Wanderers.

There should be goals in this one; in fact, when the recalled Hiroshi Ibusuki smashes home a header in the first minute, Adelaide will be flying. Roar’s defence will be unable to contain Luka Jovanovic, who becomes the hold-up man for Nestory Irankunda to extend the lead.

With Jez Lofthouse, Henry Hore and Nikola Mileusnic on the field together in the second half, Brisbane will be back in contention, and will knock on the door repeatedly until the end, Joe Gauci with a string of saves to bring the three points to Coopers Stadium.

Western Sydney’s heatwave will be just about over in time to welcome Melbourne Victory to Commbank Stadium, two of the league’s unbeaten teams facing off. Bruno Fornaroli’s skill and strike against the Mariners will see him a marked man – there is nothing he likes more than a big occasion, and with the RBB bouncing and filling the stadium with noise, that will be music to his ears.

With Zinedine Machach and Daniel Arzani on from the start, Victory will be in the Wanderers’ faces from the start, and will be the more direct of the two teams. A sluggish performance from the home team will see changes made at half time with the scores level, and the wizard Dylan Pierias will be thrust into the fray to weave his magic.

Fabulous battling from the home team and some bad luck in front of goal from Victory will be the recipe for a slender home win, Oscar Priestman scoring from long range to secure it.

Stuart Thomas
Central Coast, City, Wellington, Macarthur, Adelaide, Victory

If the Mariners can start well, and that is a big if, they will beat the hapless Western United. Tulio to finally get what he has deserved in recent weeks and John Aloisi’s head to be on the block in the aftermath.

I don’t think Perth can beat Melbourne City if they begin as they did against Sydney last time out. Aurelio Vidmar is starting to get something going after a few weeks at the helm. Wellington will beat Newcastle at home in a canter, they are simply a far superior football team.

(Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)

Sydney and Macarthur in prime-time Saturday night looks a belter and you can join me here on the Roar for love coverage of the match. Can the Bulls win it without hearing the bells ringing thanks to a big Sydney crowd. I think they can.

Adelaide must win at home against Brisbane, yet the contest could be one of the most ferocious we see all season and the Wanderers at home against Victory looks likely to come down to class, and the visitors have a little more of that in the front half.

Andrew Prentice
Central Coast, Draw, Wellington, Sydney, Adelaide, Western Sydney

Friday night in Gosford and the weather is predicted to be very warm. The heat is on Western, who have a very simple problem – they can’t score. The Mariners can’t keep a clean sheet so something will give in this game. I fancy the Mariners only because they are now starting to look like converting the myriad of chances they create. Unfortunately, Western don’t look like they could ice a cake right now.

It has been an uncommonly difficult start for Alen Stajcic in the Wild West, but the Glory are a different proposition in their own time zone. City are slowly climbing out of their disastrous start and looked compact and assured against a previously free-scoring Newcastle last week. Adam Taggart might have the taste of goals back and that spells danger for City, but the Glory will be equally as wary of Jamie McLaren, who might not be on penalties but did hit the back of the net last start. A score draw could be on the cards.

Wellington – table toppers. And back in Aotearoa where they are even more formidable. The Jets free-scoring ways were unexpectedly blunted at home last week and this time they’re up against the equal-best defence in the competition. Oskar Zawada may be touch and go but the Phoenix have proven that their route to the promised land does not need to take only OZ’s yellow brick road. The shirts might be coming off in the 80th minute in Wellington.

For some reason, Sydney seem to have a hold over their South-Western neighbours. Despite Macarthur’s fantastic start to the campaign, Sky Blue is another ship that seems to be righting itself under a new navigator. Anthony Caceras should return for this game and if he can keep Ulises Davila in check, Sydney have the playing personnel further forward to trouble the Bulls backline. Joe Lolley is in fine form and a switch to a front 2 against the Glory paid dividends. I have a feeling Macarthur’s unbeaten start might come unstuck under the Allianz lights.

3pm kick-offs in December are a terrible idea, but with cool temperatures and rain predicted for the City of Churches on Sunday, the APL might dodge a scheduling bullet for now. Both teams will be kicking themselves (and possibly each other) at dropping points from leading positions last week.

Zac Clough is the best player in the league right now, and the Reds will surely have learned a few defensive lessons from Monday’s 4-3 thriller at Campbelltown. Brisbane’s flying start against the Wanderers was ultimately a case of too little too early, but the way Ross Aloisi has his young attack humming means this might be the best game of the round.

There is much to admire at Western Sydney. For the second time this season, the Wanderers hauled back a 2-0 deficit away from home to take a point. They are yet to concede a goal at home, although the Victory come to Parramatta with some scoring credentials. Bruno Fornaroli’s wonderful strike in Gosford was matched by Nishan Velupillay, though the latter limped off against Central Coast and is a doubt for Sunday.

Ultimately though, the Wanderers are nowhere near as charitable in the last third as the Mariners were. They also have a couple of overlapping wingbacks in Tate Russell and Jack Clisby who are purring like souped-up Mustangs rumbling down Parramatta Road at the moment. Both teams are unbeaten, but I don’t think it’ll stay that way after Sunday.



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