Glory snap 15-month winless run, Grim times for APL as redundancies hit
Plenty happening on-field, as well as away from the pitch, in another busy week in Australian football.
Here are your A-League Round 13 talking points.
Glory overcome Khelifi farce, claim first away win in 15 months
A happy ending to another week from hell for Alen Stajcic’s men as Perth took all three points home from CommBank Stadium. Goals from Stefan Colakovski and David Williams were enough to seal victory as Wanderers huffed and puffed with no end product until deep into injury time, and even then it was from a set-piece finished off by talisman Marcelo.
It’d be difficult not to sympathise with Stajcic’s plight. Right now, with no resolution to their ownership situation in sight the APL are effectively running the club, and Stajcic used his press conference to deflect any questions regarding the playing squad’s contracts to Nick Garcia after Salim Khelifi was loaned to Melbourne Victory. It feels like the ex-Matildas boss is managing with one hand tied behind his back – I do not envy him in the slightest.
In his post-game presser Marko Rudan admitted his Western Sydney side didn’t turn up to play, perhaps perceiving the result was predetermined after an impressive win over the premiers last time out. But that’s one of the ways contenders separate themselves from pretenders – by treating the next match as the most important, regardless of opposition.
Victory drop points late as VAR strikes again
For the second consecutive week, Melbourne Victory failed to close out the game and dropped two points thanks to a late equaliser. Victory were on the cusp of securing the win until Jason Geria made slight contact with Oskar van Hattum in the penalty area and following a VAR check Daniel Elder pointed to the spot.
It’s another hard one for Tony Popovic to swallow but the Vuck remain comfortably in second place, four points clear of their nearest challengers in Western Sydney.
With roughly 50 per cent of the regular season completed, I’m willing to declare the premiership a three-horse race in 2023-24 and I believe Victory are in with a huge shout, however they’ll need to discover the consistency they’ve lacked at times this campaign.
APL jobs cuts inevitable result of nonsensical KeepUp gamble
It’s been a difficult week in Australian football. My sympathies go to fellow journos, socials producers, videographers and graphic designers who now find themselves without work.
Stating the obvious here, but when the dust settles on these redundancies, it is time for a rethink on how APL-employed journos cover the league. Call me cynical or negative, but I don’t believe KeepUp’s local coverage was fantastic. It certainly was not visible for the casual sports fan – and that’s who the game should be targeting, as long as growing the domestic game is still the target. I suppose if we accept that we’ve plateaued and it’s realistically never going to be bigger than it is right now, then it’s a different story.
Written sports media may be dying a protracted death but there is still a place for it. The coverage though must have depth – journos who know the game and how to report on it. Personally, I’m a big fan of the style of long-form reporting subscribers to The Athletic would be familiar with as opposed to short news bites.
For the life of me, I don’t know why, with tens of millions of dollars being bandied about, the best in the business were not recruited – the likes of Joey Lynch, George Clarke, Vince Rugari et al. Clarke and I were often the only reporters in press boxes across Sydney, with very few KeepUp scribes to be seen outside of Big Blues and Sydney Derbies.
Not even bothering to send your journalists to matches – that’s $40 million well spent.
-Extending Joe Lolley for two more years is tidy business by Sydney FC.
-Some disappointing stadium news – Chris Minns confirming an increase in concerts at Allianz Stadium which will potentially force the Sky Blues to move fixtures. This, on the back of Western United announcing more ‘home’ games in Tasmania, and the disastrous state of the Suncorp Stadium surface.
-Pretty impressive job done by Mark Jackson in Gosford to turn around the Mariners’ fortunes. It was a horrific start to the championship defence, but Central Coast now sit inside the top four on the back of four wins from five outings.
-Ulises Davila played his 100th A-League game in the Bulls’ 3-1 triumph over Brisbane.
-Speaking of the Roar, Ben Cahn’s so far been unable to plug the leaky defence. Three goals conceded to Macarthur after letting in two in each of the previous two fixtures.
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