Sydney FC Moves Game Against Perth Glory to Kogarah

Sydney FC has recently decided to move their A-League clash against Perth Glory, considered a top-of-the-league battle, from the SCG following Saturday evening’s match victory against Melbourne. The match will be played on the 18 April 2019, has been relocated to Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in an attempt to avoid the concerns surrounding the venue’s surface when it comes to Test cricket.

SCG managers and A-League officials have been criticised following the knee injury that was suffered by Terry Antonis, the midfielder for Melbourne Victory, on a poor section of the pitch during the match on Saturday. Although games for other sporting events will continue, the tone is now unsuitable for soccer, requiring a flat surface.

Sydney FC’s Last Remaining Fixture

Kevin Muscat, the Melbourne Victory coach, labelled the pitch as dangerous. However, Greg O’Rourke, the A-League boss, steered away from using the same language after he met with chiefs of SCG on Monday afternoon and agreed to relocate the last remaining fixture of Sydney FC to the playing field this season.

“We admit that the pitch surface was, and will be, safe and playable for A-League football which was verified by two separate expert reports only days before the game took place as per our standard process,” he stated.

“The wicket block of the SCG, however, compromises the field uniformity, especially when it comes to football. We highly appreciate all the hard work that the SCG Trust has undergone to accommodate an extraordinary amount of activity on the pitch of the SCG recently and will continue to work with them when it comes to using the venue in the future.”

Everyone is still patiently waiting to see if the home final of Sydney FC will be hosted at SCG along with the grand finale that will be determined towards the end of the season. On Monday evening, Melbourne Victory decided to distance themselves from possible legal action after the injury occurred. However, they urged the A-League to learn from this incident.

Trent Jacobs, the Melbourne Victory chief, informed SEN, the radio station, that the injury was partly due to the inconsistent surface of the pitch. However, the club avoided taking any legal action when it occurred with Jacobs stating,

“The incident occurred away from any player and far away from the ball which means it had to be the inconsistent pitch that caused the problem,” Jacobs stated. We are now requesting a review of the incident to see what exactly happened during the game.”

Jacobs added that,

“We need to ensure that the pitch surface at SCG is best suited to accommodate the visual play and aesthetics we all need and that the workplace is safe and secure for players. If A-League matches are played on pitches where existing cricket wickets are embedded, we vote that football games shouldn’t be played there.”

Sydney FC is forced to move all their home games away from Allianz Stadium as the pitch is currently under development.

The Importance of Melbourne City in the A-League

By the time we reach the end of April, we will know correctly which teams will sit where when it comes to the ladder of the A-League. However, until then, there’s plenty of questions that need to be answered, starting with the round 24.

There’s no denying that Melbourne City has an encouraging run in. However, does it matter, to be honest? Has Ernie Merrick honestly given up on the spot in the finals? Is there a potential hiccup that can occur for Perth as the should-be Premiers?

Current Situation for Melbourne City

When you look at the last four matches of the season, only a handful of teams will have more to gain when compared to Melbourne City. The team is capable of reaching the fourth position before the season comes to an end along with a home final in the process. Alternatively, the team can drop as low as the 7th position and miss out on an opportunity to win the trophy altogether. This gives you a clear indication that Melbourne City has a great deal to play for throughout April.

A fixture list that managed to toss up a few winnable matches against some of the league’s worst sides is good news for Melbourne City. These teams include the Central Coast Mariners and the Brisbane Roar. However, the team also need to face both Wellington Phoenix and Adelaide United in the process which will determine where the team eventually ends up when it comes to the log. The only bad news for the team is that they have no idea what’s going on of late.

“To be honest, I have no idea what’s going on most of the time, and I have no idea what to say.”

These were the pretty straight forward words of Luke Brattan who was dejected after his team managed to claim three goals against Western Sydney Wanderers who are outside finals contention and currently in 8th spot in the league.

The encounter on Friday night against Brisbane Roar is a game that needs to win if they want to catch Wellington Phoenix who is currently fourth in the standings and brilliant form. Thankfully, the signing of Jamie Maclaren during January looks like a turning point for the team. However, one gets the feeling that the tactical problems of Melbourne City are a bit too much to fix, even with Jamie Maclaren in the equation.

The Ultimate Clash

When it comes to the best upcoming matches that can determine quite a bit, you cannot deny that the match between Wellington Phoenix and Adelaide United will go a long way to decide who will end up in the fourth spot. Adelaide is steady, controlled, and lean, while Wellington is fun, fast, and extremely fluid. So it should be an exciting match to watch, especially when it comes to the A-League standings. Let’s hope Melbourne City are up for the task to catch their rivals before the season comes to an end.

Wellington Phoenix Claims Victory Against Newcastle Jets

The Wellington Phoenix team continued with their incredible barnstorming finish in the A-League season where they dispatched the Newcastle Jets with a 4-1 victory following their phenomenal David Williams treble that occurred at Westpac Stadium.

Wellington Phoenix vs Newcastle Jets

Wellington Phoenix is currently chasing their first appearance in the finals in 4 years and have set their focus on overhauling either Melbourne or Sydney FC to qualify third and required a victory over the weekend to remain on track.

Although Wellington Phoenix missed Roy Krishna, the golden boot front runner for the year, the team needed Williams to make his mark during the match, and he immediately obliged where he combined effortlessly with Sarpreet Singh to make it through the defence of the Newcastle Jets in only 30 seconds after the game started.

The exceptional right-foot strike of Williams didn’t give Glen Moss, the goalkeeper for Newcastle Jets, any opportunities to stop the ball from hitting the back of the net. This is also Williams’ 9 goal of the season However, the striker, who is currently 31 years old, was far from done, even though Wellington Phoenix could only muster a 1-0 lead after halftime.

A penalty during the 60th minute provided Williams with his second goal followed by a remarkable curling effect during the 65th minute to give Williams his incredible hat-trick. During the 73rd minute, Singh managed to make it 4-1, allowing Wellington Phoenix to cruise through the rest of the match.

Wellington Phoenix is now eyeing the playoffs with more confidence than ever before as they managed to score a total of 15 goals in the past three matches.

Newcastle Jets’ Mistakes

The Newcastle Jets certainly had loads of opportunities during the first half of the match. They could level the score within 6 minutes after the start of the game. They almost scored an easy goal when Daniel Georgievski managed to break through on the left with plenty of room for Jair only for the striker to miss a beautiful sitter.

Both soccer teams played a very creative game, especially when you look at how dangerous Newcastle was with dead ball situations. However, the pace of Wellington in the middle kept the defence of the Jets stretched.

Goalkeepers Filip Kurto and Moss were both extremely busy during the match. Moss offered stunning diving save to stop the pile-driver from Max Burgess when 30 minutes were on the clock, while Kurto managed to punch the ball clear after a free kick was given to Dimitri Petratos.

The nail-biting action continued during the second half where Kurto managed to keep a clean sheet after an own-goal save during the 53rd minute. This occurred before Nigel Boogard, the skipper for the Jets, pulled Williams down while he was making a run for the goal. After this, a penalty was award to Wellington, allowing the team to retake the lead. Let’s hope their performance continues during the next matchup around the corner.

Australian U-23 National Team Impress Graham Arnold

The head coach for the Australian Under-23 national team, Graham Arnold, stated that his team could take loads of positives away from the friendly match against Petaling Jaya City FC. Jaya City is considered the top flight team in Malaysia, on Thursday evening, even though they suffered a 2-0 defeat.

Australia U-23 vs Petaling Jaya City FC

In overwhelming conditions in Shah Alam, a city close to Kuala Lumpur which is the capital of Malaysia, the youngsters of Australia were defeated on the scoreboard. However, this was not due to their balance of play while they contested in their first match aboard.

Graham Arnold stated that most of his players managed to lose between 4 and 5 kilograms during the match, giving you a clear picture of how intense the humid conditions in southeast Asia is. The Australian squad will now head to the Championship qualifiers for the 2020 AFC U-23 in Cambodia next week after suffering a 2-0 loss against the top-flight team in Malaysia.

“The match on Thursday against a senior top-flight team from Malaysia, as well as our week together as a team in Malaysia, was incredibly invaluable, especially for the qualifiers in Cambodia next week,” explained Arnold.

“For most of the players in the team. This week represented the first time that all of them have played together in southeast Asia. Therefore, adapting to the difficult conditions that they played in was paramount.

“We triumphed in several key areas during the match on Thursday and managed to hit the woodwork on multiple occasions. Giving us loads of positives to take from the defeat at the hands of Petaling Jaya City FC. Especially when you factor in the brief preparation that each player had over the last couple of weeks,” Graham stated.

Australia’s Next Fixture

Australia will participate in another friendly against the Malaysian U23 national team on Sunday evening before they shift to Phnom Penh the week after that. This is where three matches in 5 days patiently await the team.

In Phnom Penh, the Australian squad will play against Cambodia on 22 March 2019m Chinese Taipei on 24 March 2019, and the Korea Republic on 26 March 2019. Australia will be able to qualify for the AFC U-23 Championship in 2020 if they can finish first in Cambodia in Group H, or emerge as one of the 4 second-best squads during qualifying.

The second-placed 5th best team from the 11 AFC groups will also be able to qualify if Thailand. They managed to qualify automatically as the hosts of the tournament, finish as either runners-up or winners in Group K.

“We are regarded as one of the unseeded squads for this qualifying phase,” stated Arnold. “My Australian team is desperate to qualify for the AFC U-23 Championship in 202. Which will take place in Thailand and they are extremely determined to become the first team to qualify for the prestigious Olympic Games which hasn’t occurred since 2008. So, let’s hope they can achieve this goal this time around.”

Central Coast Mariners Are Looking for Another Coach

It was inevitable when Mike Mulvey was sacked recently given the way the A-League season has gone. However, the real problem lies more profound than most people think and only getting rid of yet another coach won’t fix it.

Sixth Coach in Five Seasons

The Central Coast Mariners are currently searching for their sixth head coach in five seasons after they decided to fire Mulvey after a horrifying 8-2 defeat against Wellington Phoenix. He was rather unlucky during the season. Especially when you take into account the departure of Ross McCormack, and Tommy Oar’s injury couldn’t be predicted either. However, regardless of these factors, Mulvey still managed to sign 17 players this season, and it’s safe to say that his recruitment failed.

The Central Coast Mariners are currently at the bottom of the log with only one win for the season, and their last two matches were genuinely embarrassing. Brisbane managed to score five goals against them, while Wellington scored a total of 8 goals, making it impossible for things not to change at the club.

However, the problem stems from the top. Mike Mulvey must have known when he decided to take the job that it was mostly a poisoned chalice. There needs to be a drastic change in culture at the club who was once one of the most elite teams in the country not too long ago.

Mike Charlesworth

Central Coast Mariners were considered one of the most stable teams in the tournament, only having two coaches in 9 years, including Graham Arnold and Lawrie McKinna. However, since then things have been a slippery slope, and it all took place once Mike Charlesworth made his entrance. This cannot be denied.

Charlesworth hasn’t been seen a great deal this season, and we don’t think he has a lot of love for the club, to be honest. He can do as he pleases and gets away with it quite quickly as the focus is on other crucial areas. However, its high time that he sits down and reads a book.

Club Lacks Quality

This will be the fifth devastating season for the Central Coast Mariners in a row, and something has got to give. You start feeling sorry for the people that work hard at the club, especially Shaun Mielekamp as the CEO along with his staff. However, you also have to question how and why this happens.

Stephen Mallon and Sam Graham were allowed to join the team recently from Sheffield United. Even though they are considered exceptional players, it’s not honestly the direction the club wants to go. Why sign players from other teams when the club struggles to develop their players? Football mentality certainly needs to return to the club as it lacks quality. It’s as simple as that. This is primarily caused due to a lack of spending.

Things are so bad at the club that even Pep Guardiola won’t be able to fix it!

The Search For a National Technical Director in Australia

When you visit the Football Federation Australia site and search for a vacant position, you will receive the famous 404 error message. When it comes to visual metaphors, an error message that relates to the destination on the official website of the governing body is nearly perfect, even by the standards of Australian football.

Ante Milicic did not recently fill the website page for that vacant position. Instead, it’s for the national technical director who is regarded as one of the most critical roles in football in any country around the world. Let alone in a glorious nation such as Australia. This is the role that still needs to be filled.

The Absence of National Technical Director

Eric Abrams made his departure in July 2018, and his replacement should have occurred in November of 2018. If a week is considered an eternity when it comes to football, what do 7 months make it? With Alen Stajcic’s dismissal and Milicic’s hire in mind, the absence of an Australian technical director could be conspicuous in a dissertation containing logic.

In the interim, the circumstances that led to the shocking sacking of Stajcic, conditions that will only be able to crystallise in court, also don’t make this point irrelevant or secondary. This essentially ties in with the outlook of the role surrounding the technical director position. Which for Abrams who recently departed, was whittled down to merely overseeing programs in football at the Maribyrnong and Westfield sports schools.

Apart from the Matildas, the Socceroos are also quite relevant to this discussion. In the past year and a half, it must be said that the governing body of Australian football has pushed out and hired brand-new coaches for both these team. Without the vital input of professional organisation. There’s no denying that the professional body is of paramount importance.

It is disregarding the Graham Arnold idea as head coach after Ange Postecoglou. The FFA looked for external consultancy during the hiring process which is a clear sign of just how insignificant the role of Abrams was. This is an instance and task that falls under the role of national technical director as well as head of national performance. It’s a position that was installed by the FFA in 2013. However, it’s a role that is still ignored to this day.

Is Milicic Adequate?

Officials, coaches, and players come and go in the world of football, and now the female national team of Australia needs to move on with Milicic. However, is he adequate?

There have been loads of reports that he lacks experience when it comes to women’s football. Although he has experience in youth football, it still raises plenty of doubt when it comes to his capabilities as a head coach. With no technical director at the helm, it also makes things quite tricky for the teams to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar in a few years.

What Will Happen To Sydney FC Once Milos Ninkovic Leaves?

Milos Ninkovic is considered the man who managed to change the Sydney Football Club since he joined the team in early 2015. Since he joined the prestigious club, he assisted and scored on countless occasions, but more importantly, has been the influence and face of Sydney FC several times during crucial matches. He is someone that you can always rely on during crucial games and never fails to impress both the fans and his team although he hasn’t scored as much as Filip Holosko, Adrian Mierzejewski, or other players on the field. He has always managed to be there for his club which is far more important than scoring goals. Ninkovic has raised the bar at Sydney FC and claimed a couple of trophies in the process.

Milos Ninkovic As a Player

Milos Ninkovic has always been considered the star of Sydney FC. In 2018, when Adrian Mierzejewski was experiencing the best season of his career, instead of feeling disappointed or getting angry, he merely changed how own playing style. He managed to become a deep playmaker where he cut inside and played a direct pass or through ball to another player who had the potential to claim glory on the field.

Even though he never registered a lot of goals or assists, the number of secondary assists or plays he created was staggering. Unfortunately for him, there wasn’t a lot of people that noticed this unless they looked at him intimately through his footballing career. Those that are aware of his skills and abilities genuinely like him as a footballer — both off and on the field. There aren’t loads of players that could, after having such an incredible season, make way for a brand-new important which took away his spotlight.

The previous season was a completely different ballgame for Ninkovic. He was the person that made headlines. After every match, the newspapers were filled with reports surrounding him, mainly because he earned every one of them. He was making considerable contributions to his team in every game, whether it was a fantastic dribble, assisting, or even scoring a goal. He managed to place the league on a new level and was rewarded for his efforts too.

Ninkovic Leaving Sydney FC

Once Ninkovic leaves his current football team, there will be a lot of changes. The club won’t have two midfielders to attack with. Although it’s quite common in the A-League where teams only have one midfielder to attack. Sydney has been relying on two midfielders for attacking which is going to be a massive change. Another aspect that will change is their style of play. Sydney used to play the ball deep, but without Ninkovic, the striker will need to step in going forward. Sydney will also start relying on defensive midfielders to play the football up. Let’s see if they can make these changes going forward and with success in the process.

Rhyan Grant Inks New Three Year Contract

Rhyan Grant, the longest serving player for the Sydney Football Club, has recently inked a new three-year contract. It will keep him in Sydney until the end of the A-League during the 2021/22 season. Rhyan Grant, who has recently returned back home after appearing in the Socceroos squad in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, already has more than a decade of experience with Sydney FC.

Rhyan Grant’s Career at Sydney FC.

Rhyan Grant joined the Sydney Football Club when he was just 17 years old as a youth team player during September 2008. He made his senior debut for Sydney in December of the same year. Since he joined the club, he has managed a total of 179 appearances in every competition for Sydney FC. He has scored a total of 9 goals which included the equaliser during the A-League Grand Final in 2017.

“It feels fantastic to know that I have another three years to look forward to at Sydney FC,” stated Grant. “I’ve been playing for Sydney FC for a decade so the club certainly feels like home for me where I am extremely comfortable as well. I want to be apart of the most ambitious club and the best club in Australia going forward. Therefore, it’s the main reason why I decided to stay with Sydney FC. They are simply the best at the moment and I would like to keep it that way.”

“We’ve been extremely successful over the last few years and I want to improve on that by winning every competition we participate in,” Grant continued. “I have quite a few excellent relationships with loads of members that I’ve come to know rather well over the years which includes The Cove. They have had a massive impact on the decision-making process which also made it a lot easier for me.”

Comments from Steve Corica as Head Coach

Steve Corica, head coach for Sydney FC, praised Grant’s contribution over the last 10 years and is looking forward to seeing more while the defender remains part of his team.

“It’s fantastic that Grant decided to re-sign another contract with Sydney FC. He has been a phenomenal servant for the club, displaying real loyalty while maintaining a professional level throughout his career with the club. He deserved his opportunity to play for the Australian national team and did a marvellous job in the process, so we are extremely pleased that he is staying with us for another three years at least.”

“He’s been remarkable at the club, a fantastic guy to work with, filled with loads of energy. He is one of the most experienced players on the team that also leads by example and that’s exactly what we stand for at the club when it comes to our culture and our beliefs. Grant is a crucial player to the success of the team in the future and we are overjoyed that he will be part of it.”

Jamie Maclaren Signs Contract With Melbourne City

The urge to play under the City Football Group, along with the lure of family, allowed Jamie Maclaren to clinch a return to the prestigious A-League after signing a contract with Melbourne City. The Socceroos striker, who is currently 25 years old, inked a long-term contract that will elevate him to marquee during the next season. He that he was extremely flattered by Melbourne City’s contract offer to enjoy the game in his home town. Furthermore, he stated that he merely wants to enjoy the game of football again.

Jamie Maclaren As A Footballer

Since he decided to leave Brisbane Roar following an impressive 20-goal season at the end of 2017, the footballer from Melbourne has experienced half-starts while playing for the German football club Darmstadt at his Scottish home Hibernian. With Neil Lennon recently sacked by Hibernian within the last week, Maclaren decided to avoid his second adventure overseas and instead made a journey back home.

This has attracted criticism from both commentators and beloved fans around the world who all believe that he should have stayed in Europe and stuck it out. However, Maclaren has given both fans and commentators short explanation.

Jamie Maclaren’s Comments On His Deal

“I initially left home when I was only 15 years old and haven’t lived with my family for more than 11 years,” Maclaren stated. “Although the journey hasn’t been an easy one, I still enjoyed the journey and wouldn’t change it for anything. I’ve managed to see Germany, Brisbane, and Perth during my adventures. Even though I’m 25 at the moment, I’ve heard and seen enough fans that criticise my choices.”

He lamented that, “While they are looking out for themselves, I am doing exactly the same by looking out for myself. Melbourne City provided a phenomenal deal, and I’ve always had the urge to play for Melbourne since I was a kid and it’s always been one of my biggest dreams to enjoy the game in front of my family. Most people believe that Europe is considered the holy grail when it comes to football. However, I believe that playing football on any level is fantastic.”

Maclaren’s sister, who currently works for Melbourne Victory, is expecting for the first time and is due to in July to give birth. “Is it really worth missing out on such an experience?” Maclaren stated. Once the opportunity presented itself to play at home for Melbourne City, I had to take it cause it won’t happen again if I don’t.”

Melbourne City has one request from Maclaren to get a return on their latest investment, and that’s scoring goals. However, Maclaren is quite confident that he can deliver what is required. “Melbourne City merely wants a decent striker that will hang around the 18-yard box and successfully provide the crosses to accumulate goals,” Maclaren stated. “That’s exactly what I do and I cannot wait to show Melbourne City what I’m made of.”

Australia’s Exit in the Asian Cup

The Socceroos and Graham Arnold have suffered a severe sucker-punch from UAE following a devastating quarter-final exit at the Asian Cup. However, the coach for the Australian soccer team has praised his side’s performance in the tournament.

Arnold’s men suffered a horrifying sucker-punch at the hands of the UAE where Milos Degenek’s awful second-half mistake gifted the Emiratis with the only goal in the 1-0 defeat on Saturday.

Australia will now be making their way home to start preparing for the qualifying round of the World Cup in 2022 that begins later this year, while the host nation will make their way to Abu Dhabi to face Qatar in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

The Unfortunate Match That Ended Australia

There appeared to be little danger in the game when Degenek tried a back pass to Mat Ryan during the 68th minute of the match where Australia had more ball possession than the UAE. However, Degenek’s pass was too short and Ali Mabkhout, the striker for UAE, managed to nip in ahead of Mat Ryan to obtain the ball and score a goal into the empty net.

Ali Mabkhout’s goal was essentially a double blow for the Socceroos after Australia was under the impression that they took the lead when Apostolos Giannou found the net after he combined with Mathew Leckie. However, Leckie was offside which meant the goal scored by Giannou was ruled out.

Despite the horrible defeat at the hands of the UAE, Graham Arnold was still filled with praise for his side who managed to overcome pre-tournament injuries to Martin Boyle, Daniel Arzani, and Aaron Mooy to reach the final 8.

Graham Arnold’s Comments on the Match

“Soccer can be a devastating sport. It’s possibly the only sport across the globe where you can control possession and even though your side spends most of the time in the oppositions half, you can still lose,” Graham Arnold stated after the match.

“I believe we achieved quite a lot in this tournament. My entire frontline during the first 3 matches had less than 10 matches between the three of them. A handful of players that were taken from the A-League managed to step up quite a bit during the tournament, including Chris Ikonomidis and Rhyan Grant who haven’t played here before. I’m extremely proud of my side. They managed to give everything they had, and that’s all I actually wanted from them.”

Following a frustrating display during the round of 16 against Uzbekistan that managed to go to penalties after 120 minutes where no one scored a goal, the Socceroos started brightly at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium that was fully packed.

Since Tom Rogic was suspended after a harsh booking during their match against Uzbekistan, the head coach had to make changes to his formation and selected Jamie Maclaren alongside Giannou with Robbie Kruse claiming a recall for a line-up on the left.

Now that Australia is out of the tournament let’s see if they can qualify for the World Cup in 2022.