The Roar’s A-League Men tips and predictions: Round 17


After another disastrous weekend of tipping from both the panel and the fans, Round 17 of the A-League looms as just as tricky.

Western United are celebrating their new home ground to be opened in March and do battle with the Jets to get the round rolling on Friday night. Sydney FC and Adelaide meet in what looks a desperate affair in the Saturday twilight and the evening culminates with a potentially ripping Melbourne Derby between the Victory and Melbourne City at AAMI Park.

Perth and Brisbane clash later that night in a match that could well kill off the chances of the loser for 2023/24, Macarthur host Wellington in what looks a brilliant Sunday afternoon fixture and the climax of Round 17 will be when the Mariners face the Wanderers in Gosford on Sunday.

The Tuesday fixture between Western United and Victory at AAMI Park is an additional match for the tipsters this time out and no easier to predict than the games preceding it.

Good luck with your tips for the round and be sure to enter them in the sheet below to have a say as part of the voice of the tipping A-League public.

Here is the way the panel sees all the action unfolding in Round 17.

Texi Smith

United, Sydney, Victory, Perth, Wellington, Central Coast, Victory

This is the night when Western United turn on the style. Believe it or not, the only team to beat the nomadic franchise this season at AAMI Park are premiers Melbourne City, so a return to their lucky stadium can mean only one thing – three big points for the home side to start their late season recovery.

The Jets have given us terrific entertainment recently but their form has been erratic; tonight they will stride out with confidence and make the hosts do all the work in a dominant first half with Tom Heward-Belle performing heroics.

For all that pressure, with Trent Buhagiar finding the woodwork twice, the second half flips in Western United’s favour when Ramy Najjarine teases a penalty out of Dane Ingham and Daniel Penha smashes the spot kick home. The home team look like world-beaters as they go on to win the game, with 1-0 not a true reflection of the second half showing.

Unite Round is still fresh in the memory of Sydney FC fans, and this early kick off at Allianz Stadium will have them wary of the threat of Hiroshi Ibusuki, the much-travelled six-foot-five striker enjoying a fine run of form.

The visitors are good value for a 1-0 lead at the break. Joe Lolley strikes to equalise at the start of the second half as Sydney FC emerge full of energy, and Fabio Gomes leaps highest to power home a header on the hour to completely change the complexion of the game.

Sydney’s Joe Lolley competes with Perth Glory’s Aleksandar Susnjar. (Photo by Steve Christo – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Young Hayden Matthews further enhances his reputation by keeping the marauding Ibusuki firmly in his pocket and Sydney ride the fervent support from the Cove by adding a third at the end, the ballet-dancing Anthony Caceres weaving through the challenges to poke home the deciding goal.

The only thing that prevents the Melbourne derby from being the biggest occasion of the regular A-League season is the fact that both of the teams play at AAMI Park – it’s just not special enough to be playing yet another game at the same venue, and the home advantage never quite provides the cauldron-like atmosphere or the feeling that the away fans are entering the gladiators’ arena.

Having said that, the football does the talking in this fixture and even when the chips are down, past form counts for nothing. Tonight we can drool over Marco Tilio and Daniel Arzani, but the powerful Zinedine Machach scores first with a terrific shot from distance to give Victory a lead at the break.

City strike back with 15 minutes remaining, Mathew Leckie poaching a goal from nothing to set up a big finish, and City look the most likely to win it until Jason Geria leads a stunning counter-attack and slides home a fabulous cross from Arzani to break City hearts.

Who would have thought at the turn of the year that Perth Glory vs Brisbane Roar would be a much-anticipated match, but here we are, Glory having flexed their muscles and Brisbane on the back of an incredible demolition of Melbourne City.

HBF Park will be rocking, and Perth will be on top early on, eventually scoring through Bruce Kamau to take a 1-0 lead in to half-time. Roar’s heroics last week will be a distant memory, Oli Sail equal to everything they throw at the home defence, and Perth storm home as they did against City; man mountain Darryl Lachman heading home in the second and Adam Taggart poaching a third at the end.

Macarthur FC’s New Year stumble is now well and truly forgotten, and impressive wins against Western Sydney and Melbourne Victory have them poised in third place going into the Sunday afternoon game against leaders Wellington Phoenix.

But this is where the fairy tale ends and despite their midweek dominance in Asian competition, they will be given a hiding by today’s classy visitors. Clayton Lewis suffers the ignominy of an early red card against his old club after scything down Mohamed Al-Taay and from then on it’s a totally one-sided affair, Bozhidar Kraev on fire in a three-goal first half, as he goes on to notch a hat-trick in a five goal pasting of Mile Sterjovski’s stunned team.

The ease with which Central Coast Mariners were sliced apart by Sydney FC last week will be on coach Mark Jackson’s mind, and attacking changes will be needed for a tough encounter with Western Sydney Wanderers in Gosford.

The Sunday early evening slot is a favourite for the home team, and with the Wanderers rocked by two red cards and with coach Marko Rudan facing sanctions, the odds are stacked against the visitors.

Wanderers head coach Marko Rudan protests to the referee after full time of the A-League match between Macarthur FC and Western Sydney. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

This is often when the Wanderers do their best work, and their hot and cold form of late means we won’t know which Wanderers turn up until the first five minutes of the game. Christian Theoharous scores a brilliant opener and the home defence gives Brandon Borrello nothing to feed off.

Milos Ninkovic is thrown on in the second half and sprays the ball around beautifully, but he dwells too long on it looking for an outlet and Angel Torres races away to settle the result.

A bonus Tuesday night game this week sees Melbourne Victory host bottom team Western United. The problem with ignoring the midweek A-League action is that you are almost guaranteed to miss a classic, and this will be one of those games that will be a treat for the true fans of Australia’s top-flight football.

United’s win on the weekend at the same venue will give them the springboard for a thrilling first half performance and they stun the home team, racing into a 2-0 lead, Daniel Penha with a classy double.
Victory’s fans are not shy in letting their team know how they feel and vehement anger turns to delight as Bruno Fornaroli heads home before converting a penalty to level it up at the break.

The second half is breath-taking end-to-end entertainment; the home team getting the win against the run of play when Selim Khelifi curls a beauty into the top corner. Victory back in second spot.

Stuart Thomas

Newcastle, Sydney, City, Perth, Macarthur, Central Coast, Victory

The news regarding the impending move for Western United into their own stadium is promising yet does not make them a respectable football team this season. The Jets will keep their finals’ hopes alive with a win on Friday night.

Sydney will beat Adelaide at home, despite nobody wanting that to be the case. I’ve given up on Adelaide, they simply cannot find consistency and Sydney FC look a little better the longer the season goes.

Based on form, the Melbourne Derby should go the way of the Victory, yet I’m not too sure. Surely City bounce back after last week’s effort? Goodness me, Perth versus Brisbane. Another match set to kill of the season of the loser. Perth in a nine goal thriller.

I’m backing Macarthur to beat Wellington in Sydney on Sunday, simply because I feel they have pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes; a better team than many people thought and one I predicted as a top four contender.

The Mariners at home are sure things against the Wanderers in front of a heaving crowd and the Tuesday fixture involving Victory and Western United is a lock for the home side.

Andrew Prentice

Draw, Sydney, Victory, Perth, Draw, Central Coast, Victory

Western United are playing an actual home game in the near future, after the midweek announcement on their Tarneit facility. Alas, they’ll be at AAMI Park for this round’s kick-off against the Jets with goal scoring still an Achilles heel.

That said, they have drawn two of their last four and face an entertainingly enigmatic Newcastle side. The Jets can score – they’ve bagged as many as the league leaders- but the other end of the park has been their weakness.

They’ve conceded more than the league’s bottom team. Who they happen to be playing. Make of that what you will, I’m looking at a 1-1 draw.

Sydney FC ambushed the in-form Mariners last week and despite “that miss” kept the champions at bay fairly comfortably. They face a Reds side who inflicted the only defeat on the Sky Blues since Round 8, that coming at this Saturday’s venue Allianz Stadium (where the tiramisu is still fantastic) even though it was a nominal Adelaide home game during Unite Round.

Joe Lolley is facing his favourite opponents, having scored four times in their last two meetings. He has been quiet lately, which might spell trouble for Carl Veart’s sputtering Reds.

The first of two Melbourne derbies this round (I know the other one isn’t quite up to stature!) and hopefully a packed AAMI Park for what is usually an engrossing fixture.

Victory finally tasted defeat last week to the delight of oxymoron enthusiasts around the nation. This leaves Tony Popovic’s side without a win since Round 11. However, they have a motivated and hungry Bruno Fornaroli back leading their attack, aggrieved that his last minute penalty against Macarthur was not adjudicated to have crossed the line.

Bruno Fornaroli of Melbourne Victory reacts during the A-League Men round 16 match between Melbourne Victory and Macarthur FC at AAMI Park. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

If City fall asleep in the players tunnel before the game as they appeared to do last week, their fierce rivals may rack up an embarrassing score. I don’t think that will happen, but Victory to win this in a tight affair.

Perth are must-see TV. Equal top scorers in the league despite lying second-last in the table, their games this season have seen 68 goals scored. The Roar found the keys to Doc Emmett’s DeLorean and travelled back in time to the Roarcelona days last week, with a scintillating 5-1 hammering of Melbourne City.

That came just a week after boring the socks off patient fans with their display against Wellington. What Roar will we see this weekend? Hopefully the DeLorean drivers, because Perth love to attack and this could be the game of the round if the sides are so inclined. Lots of goals and a manic Perth win.

Macarthur qualified for the AFC Cup Zonal final on Tuesday (or something like that, it’s truly the craziest draw I’ve ever seen). That might be on their mind as they welcome the league leaders to Campbelltown.

If you put money on this being 1st vs 3rd in Round 17 four months ago when the season started, I hope the new house is going well (gamble responsibly!) The Bulls managed to do what no other side has done thus far and beat the Victory last week, and did it without Ulises Davila.

Wellington just keep going about their business, unbeaten in seven games, working around the continued absence of Oskar Zawada. It’s hard to split them right now so I’ll sit on the Campbelltown Stadium fence and call it a draw.

What chance Wanderers coach Marko Rudan spontaneously combusts if his team cops another red card? What chance a former APL Chairman makes another “UnLedererfying” post-match assessment of the referee?

Life isn’t dull at Western Sydney with a coach who may have inadvertently instilled a reverse siege mentality in his side. I mean, if they believe there’s a conspiracy against them, why try?

Suspensions may bite hard as the Wanderers face Central Coast, whose midweek AFC Cup win was highlighted by a second half hat-trick to new signing Ryan Edmondson. The Mariners will be poised to take advantage of any defensive frailty, as the previously rock-solid red-and-blacks have conceded seven goals in their last two games. The home side bristles with attacking options and it might be a bad day at the seaside for the Wanderers.

This week’s bonus game is the “alternative” Melbourne derby. Western might well fancy their chances with an extra day’s rest over the Victory. They won’t make it easy, but even with Melbourne Victory in a form slump, they should have too many alternatives for the struggling United to overcome.

Here’s the latest scores and as always, use the form below to get involved as part of The Crowd and take on The Roar’s expert tipsters.



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