New FFA CEO Ben Buckley must be delighted with the news that with one round remaining in Version 2 of the A-League, 3 places in the final four remain up for grabs.
It’s set up as the most exciting round of domestic football in ages. Here’s a breakdown of the games ahead.
FRIDAY NIGHT – NEWCASTLE JETS V MELBOURNE VICTORY
It ain’t over ‘til it’s over – that was the lesson the Jets learnt in spectacular fashion with two late goals in Perth last weekend. It earned them a precious point and a chance to fight for a spot in the finals against the league leaders.
A win would put Newcastle in the top four on Friday night and apply enormous pressure on Sydney FC and Queensland, both of whom sit two points clear of Newcastle.
Melbourne has lost momentum since wrapping up the Premiership in December. Like it or not, the finals start here for Ernie Merrick’s men. It should be a belter.
SATURDAY NIGHT – QUEENSLAND ROAR V SYDNEY FC
Game of the season anyone? Queensland boss Frank Farina thinks so. After their gutsy 2-1 result in Melbourne last week the Roar will be dangerous at home in front of a big crowd.
A win for Queensland would see the Roar leapfrog Sydney into third place.
After conceding a late winner in Adelaide last weekend Sydney must be feeling the wolves at the door. If they lose, coach Terry Butcher can all but book his flight back to the UK.
A draw does neither side much good if Newcastle sees off Melbourne, particularly the Roar who have an inferior goal difference.
SUNDAY NIGHT – CENTRAL COAST V ADELAIDE
Lawrie McKinna’s Mariners let it all fall apart with a scoreless draw against a vastly improved New Zealand at home last week and the coach concedes his team is playing for pride this weekend.
Adelaide enjoyed a sweet moment at home with their win at the death against Sydney and can stitch up second spot with a win here.
John Kosmina’s United were stung by their poor finals campaign last year after finishing top of the table. They can build a platform to redemption by winning this one.
If The Mariners can jag a win, United could slip to fourth and lose the double chance.
SUNDAY NIGHT – NEW ZEALAND V PERTH
The wooden spoon belongs to the Knights for the second year running. They’ve done enough in the last month to suggest there’s a future for the club. A win here would confirm it. For Perth, season 2007-2008 can’t come quickly enough.
Francis Leach is the match day MC for Melbourne Victory home games