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Thread: A-League (Australia)

  1. #1
    RiQy
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    Thumbs up A-League (Australia)

    Hi guys, just wanted to start this topic for anybody wanting to know more about Australia's A-League.

    Basically it all started in 2004 following the Crawford Report (search on google) which highlighted the deficiencies in Australian Football.

    The old NSL (National Soccer League) was disbanded a new competition was started by the newly-formed FFA (Football Federation Australia). For a more in-depth look at that whole process see "A-League" on wikipedia.

    Basically the A-League started in the 05/06 Season with the first game in Sydney between the league's fiercest rivals Melbourne and Sydney attracting over 25,000 fans.

    It is currently played at the same time as the European leagues thus making it a SUMMER competition here. In its current form it's a 21 Round League + Finals and the 8 teams play each other 3 times (a bit like the Scottish Premier League).

    At the end of the 21 rounds, the team on top of the table is crowned Premiers and qualifies for one of two places in the Asian Champions League.

    The top four teams enter the A-League Finals Series (played in February, yes it's a short season). 1st and 2nd playoff in the Major Semi Final with the winner over two legs earning the right to host the Grand Final and enjoy a week off while the Preliminary Final takes place. The 3rd and 4th placed teams play a Minor Semi Final in which the winner over two legs plays against the Loser of the Major Semi Final (1st v 2nd) and the loser is eliminated. The winner of the Preliminary Final (Winner 3rd v 4th VS Loser 1st v 2nd) plays away in the Grand Final. The winner of the Grand Final is crowned Champions and earns the second spot in the Asian Champions League. If the same team wins the Premiership and Championship, the second ACL spot is awarded to the runner-up in the Final and not to the team who finished second on the table during the regular season.

    We also have a Pre-Season Cup competition which is rarely taken seriously and is used more as a practice/test run for managers and players as well as fans (trying new chants etc).

    Here are the past winners of each competition:

    05/06 Premiers: Adelaide United, 05/06 Champions: Sydney FC
    06/07 Premiers: Melbourne Victory, 06/07 Champions: Melbourne Victory
    07/08 Premiers: Central Coast, 07/08 Champions: Newcastle Jets
    08/09 Premiers: Melbourne Victory, 08/09 Champions: (Finals currently being played)

    Below I'll give a description of each club, their star players etc.

    ADELAIDE UNITED:

    Red Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Socks
    Coach: Aurelio Vidmar

    Adelaide are consistently one of the strongest teams in the A-League. The only season they did not make the finals was the 07/08 season. They usually have a very tough, uncompromising defence which was highlighted in the 2008 Asian Champions League when they went all the way to the Final conceding just two goals. They are known for producing some talented youngsters including Nathan Burns (AEK Athens), Bruce Djite (Gencerbiligi) and Scott Jaimeson. Their stars include captain Travis Dodd, defender Sasa Ognenovski and they have also had ex-superstar Romario on a four game stint. They play at the traditional Hindmarsh Stadium which fits 16-17,000 fans and usually has a very good playing surface.

    CENTRAL COAST MARINERS

    Yellow Shirts, Navy Shorts, Yellow Socks
    Coach: Lawrie McKinna

    Central Coast are perceived as one of the league's smallest clubs but have been very competitive since the league began making the Grand Final in season One and Three and being Premiers in Season Three. They generally play a basic 4-4-2 and like to cross the ball into the box for their tall strikers to put away. They have had some notable players such as Australian International Mile Jedinak and they were also the club that brought John Aloisi back home from Europe. The club has plans to build a multi-million dollar football facility complete with pitches, futsal courts, accommodation, junior academy etc. Their home ground is the picturesque Bluetongue Stadium which is situated right next to the beach and has palm trees behind one set of goals.

    MELBOURNE VICTORY

    Navy Shirts with White V, Navy Shorts, Navy Socks
    Coach: Ernie Merrick

    This is my team so I may be a little biased however, Melbourne are the league most successful and biggest club. Their supporters are commonly known as the ones who make the most noise and atmosphere and they have the largest crowd average by miles. Although we sometimes complain (we have high expectations) Melbourne generally play very nice football with short combinations in and around opposition penalty areas and neat little through balls and one-twos to get through defences. Our notable players include Archie Thompson (World Record for most goals scored in an International match), Kevin Muscat (Former Australian captain), Fred (star player when we won the League Double). Almost half our current squad has got an Australian cap to their name and we're on course to do the Premiership/Championship double again this season.

    Here's a video to show you what kind of support we have. This was before the Grand Final against Adelaide when we blocked off roads as we marched to the stadium: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mdbph...eature=related

    This was just a sneak preview. To find out more, in detail have a look at:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-league

    or if you want descriptions on the other clubs, just ask.
    Last edited by M.L. King; 9th February 2009 at 09:53 AM.

  2. #2
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    Barca_Ray_USA's Avatar
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    Thanx dude, nice read. I don`t hear about too many players going to Australia. Not much money in A-league?

  3. #3
    RiQy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barca_Ray_USA View Post
    Thanx dude, nice read. I don`t hear about too many players going to Australia. Not much money in A-league?
    Forgot to mention. We have a SALARY CAP and it's very frustrating for many (especially Melbourne who are financially very healthy). I'm pretty sure it currently sits at $2.4 million AUD for the entire squad + Marquee Player which can be paid any amount of money and Youth Marquee who can be paid up to either 150 or 250k (have to check on that) and is also not included in the Cap.

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    2,4 is for entire squad is really not much, but I guess thats best in the end.

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    Hey Ricky, is there still Croatia Melbourne team? They were hot few years/decades ago?

  6. #6
    RiQy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bojan View Post
    Hey Ricky, is there still Croatia Melbourne team? They were hot few years/decades ago?
    Yes, they currently play in the Victorian Premier League (semi proffessional).

    All the old ethnic-based clubs were kicked out of the national league due to crowd/public perception/image problems. All those clubs now play in their respective state's premier league (semi pro).

  7. #7
    RiQy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barca_Ray_USA View Post
    2,4 is for entire squad is really not much, but I guess thats best in the end.
    That's why its frustrating. We can't keep our best players but if it gets too high, the smaller clubs won't be able to keep up and the league will become unbalanced which is not good for such a young competition.

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    Cheers for the thread Ricky, nice to learn something new about football on other continents

  9. #9
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    That was a really nice preview. Thanks for all the info, I got to admit I didn't know a thing about this league. Could you tell us a little bit more about your own team?

    I stickied the thread.
    "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." Martin Luther King Jr.

  10. #10
    RiQy
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by M.L. King View Post
    That was a really nice preview. Thanks for all the info, I got to admit I didn't know a thing about this league. Could you tell us a little bit more about your own team?

    I stickied the thread.
    Well Melbourne Victory as I said are the league's biggest club (Although Sydney hate to admit it). We have a kit similiar to that of Bordeaux. The Navy with the white V. This style kit has traditionally been worn by Victorian sporting teams in the past and as Melbourne Victory is designed to capture the minds and imaginations of all Victorians they went with that kit.

    Our name sounds stupid (I'm sure some of you had a chuckle) and we thought so at first too, however the name has grown on us supporters and if you pay close enough attention you'll realise that it's a clever play on words to incorporate all of Victoria (state) and not just Melbourne (City).

    The club's Chairman is Geoff Lord, a former Australian Football League (AFL) Chairman for the Hawthorn Football Club. He seems alright, doesn't really like to spend too much money but with the salary cap there's not much we can do with our ticket earnings anyway.

    We've had the same manager (Ernie Merrick) since the competition began as well as the same strike partnership (Archie Thompson and Danny Allsopp) and same captain (Kevin Muscat) and I believe it's this stability which has seen us become one of the league's most powerful clubs. We tend to import our most creative player or our "No.10" if you like from overseas with some amazing results. Fred (now at DC United in the MLS) is a club legend after he was the man who constantly picked apart the opposition with clever runs and passes in 06/07 (our most successful season).

    We are widely considered to have the best supporters in the league in terms of numbers (we average around 25,000) and in terms of noise/colour/atmosphere. We're unique in the sense that we have TWO home ends. One with a distinctively British/casual feel (Southern Terrace) and the other with a more European/South American style of choreographed support (Northern Terrace).

    I'll include a few videos of memorable moments below, please watch as many as you can and absorb some Australian football at it's very best.

    Enjoy!

    This was when we sealed the Premiership in December 2006 at our old home ground, Olympic Park. Not all our supporters could fit in the stadium so only the most diehard of supporters were there on this special day. Watch the celebrations in the closing minutes and the amazing NESW Chant where all the sides of the stadium chant at each other - incredible!



    In that same season we played the Major semi final against Adelaide Utd. First we drew 0-0 away and they then at our home it was 1-1 in injury time which meant Adelaide would be hosting the final. Step up super-sub James Robinson =D This was possibly the greatest thing I've ever witnessed in my life. In front of 50,000 people he looped a header over Adelaide's keeper and into the back of the net to send the place into absolute euphoria. Here's two perspectives of the goal, just have a look at the fans reaction behind the goals. I was behind the goals where it was scored and it was a moment I'll never ever forget as long as I live.

    Game Highlights (Goal at 6min 20sec)


    Goal taken from a mobile phone


    In November 2006 after 4 goals (2-2) against Central Coast we went down to 9 men and they scored again to make it 3-2. When we thought all hope was lost a magnificent piece of skill by Fred to set up Danny Allsopp with minutes remaining made it 3-3 and one of the most memorable comebacks for the club.



    Shocking sound on this next video but this was when Carlos Hernandez scored an absolute cracker to make it 1-1 when we played against Juventus in a friendly in Melbourne.



    The most recent on was on the 27th of December, 2008 when we played at home against Sydney our most hated of rivals. It was a make or break game for both teams since we had both been in shocking form going into the match. The players walked out onto an intimidating Telstra Dome with Melbourne's Northern Terrace directing a hostile tifo display towards the travelling Sydney supporters. A black pullover with a white skull and a black banner with white letters across the front of the pullover which said "Welcome to Hell" with the finishing touch being flares ripped under the pullover for a "Hell" type effect with an orange glow emulating from underneath the pullover and behind the welcome to Hell banner.

    After going 2 goals down in the first 3 minutes our boys picked themselves up again to produce a comeback of epic proportions in one of the best games in the club's history. We then went on to win another 5 straight home games and become Premiers. At the beginning of this game one of the young kids that I coach walked out onto the pitch alongside Victory captain Kevin Muscat which can be seen here www.pumasfutsal.com (scroll down on the home page, there's also a stunning picture of the fans' tifo display.

    The Goals:


    Nick Ward's stunning equaliser from the Northern Terrace:
    Last edited by RiQy; 10th February 2009 at 02:54 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RiQy View Post
    Well Melbourne Victory as I said are the league's biggest club (Although Sydney hate to admit it). We have a kit similiar to that of Bordeaux. The Navy with the white V. This style kit has traditionally been worn by Victorian sporting teams in the past and as Melbourne Victory is designed to capture the minds and imaginations of all Victorians they went with that kit.

    Our name sounds stupid (I'm sure some of you had a chuckle) and we thought so at first too, however the name has grown on us supporters and if you pay close enough attention you'll realise that it's a clever play on words to incorporate all of Victoria (state) and not just Melbourne (City).

    The club's Chairman is Geoff Lord, a former Australian Football League (AFL) Chairman for the Hawthorn Football Club. He seems alright, doesn't really like to spend too much money but with the salary cap there's not much we can do with our ticket earnings anyway.

    We've had the same manager (Ernie Merrick) since the competition began as well as the same strike partnership (Archie Thompson and Danny Allsopp) and same captain (Kevin Muscat) and I believe it's this stability which has seen us become one of the league's most powerful clubs. We tend to import our most creative player or our "No.10" if you like from overseas with some amazing results. Fred (now at DC United in the MLS) is a club legend after he was the man who constantly picked apart the opposition with clever runs and passes in 06/07 (our most successful season).

    We are widely considered to have the best supporters in the league in terms of numbers (we average around 25,000) and in terms of noise/colour/atmosphere. We're unique in the sense that we have TWO home ends. One with a distinctively British/casual feel (Southern Terrace) and the other with a more European/South American style of choreographed support (Northern Terrace).

    I'll include a few videos of memorable moments below, please watch as many as you can and absorb some Australian football at it's very best.

    Enjoy!

    This was when we sealed the Premiership in December 2006 at our old home ground, Olympic Park. Not all our supporters could fit in the stadium so only the most diehard of supporters were there on this special day. Watch the celebrations in the closing minutes and the amazing NESW Chant where all the sides of the stadium chant at each other - incredible!



    In that same season we played the Major semi final against Adelaide Utd. First we drew 0-0 away and they then at our home it was 1-1 in injury time which meant Adelaide would be hosting the final. Step up super-sub James Robinson =D This was possibly the greatest thing I've ever witnessed in my life. In front of 50,000 people he looped a header over Adelaide's keeper and into the back of the net to send the place into absolute euphoria. Here's two perspectives of the goal, just have a look at the fans reaction behind the goals. I was behind the goals where it was scored and it was a moment I'll never ever forget as long as I live.

    Game Highlights (Goal at 6min 20sec)


    Goal taken from a mobile phone


    In November 2006 after 4 goals (2-2) against Central Coast we went down to 9 men and they scored again to make it 3-2. When we thought all hope was lost a magnificent piece of skill by Fred to set up Danny Allsopp with minutes remaining made it 3-3 and one of the most memorable comebacks for the club.



    Shocking sound on this next video but this was when Carlos Hernandez scored an absolute cracker to make it 1-1 when we played against Juventus in a friendly in Melbourne.



    The most recent on was on the 27th of December, 2008 when we played at home against Sydney our most hated of rivals. It was a make or break game for both teams since we had both been in shocking form going into the match. The players walked out onto an intimidating Telstra Dome with Melbourne's Northern Terrace directing a hostile tifo display towards the travelling Sydney supporters. A black pullover with a white skull and a black banner with white letters across the front of the pullover which said "Welcome to Hell" with the finishing touch being flares ripped under the pullover for a "Hell" type effect with an orange glow emulating from underneath the pullover and behind the welcome to Hell banner.

    After going 2 goals down in the first 3 minutes our boys picked themselves up again to produce a comeback of epic proportions in one of the best games in the club's history. We then went on to win another 5 straight home games and become Premiers. At the beginning of this game one of the young kids that I coach walked out onto the pitch alongside Victory captain Kevin Muscat which can be seen here www.pumasfutsal.com (scroll down on the home page, there's also a stunning picture of the fans' tifo display.

    The Goals:


    Nick Ward's stunning equaliser from the Northern Terrace:

    Fantastic thread Ricky.
    I can relate to that Adelaide semi-final moment, bet it`s been fantastic experience. There`s nothing better than having your team snatch such an important goal in stoppage time.
    You reminded me of a match that I`ve been to, 10 years ago. We scored a winner vs. Ireland in 94th minute in EC qualifications. Game was an average one but the suspense, late goal and the crowd made it one of the best moments in football for me.

  12. #12
    RiQy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bojan View Post
    Fantastic thread Ricky.
    I can relate to that Adelaide semi-final moment, bet it`s been fantastic experience. There`s nothing better than having your team snatch such an important goal in stoppage time.
    You reminded me of a match that I`ve been to, 10 years ago. We scored a winner vs. Ireland in 94th minute in EC qualifications. Game was an average one but the suspense, late goal and the crowd made it one of the best moments in football for me.
    We have the second leg of our major semi final on Saturday again, like in 06/07 against Adelaide. This would be the exact same game two years in which that goal was scored. However, this time we return to Melbourne with a 2-0 advantage after we destroyed them in the first leg.

    It will bring some joy back to the people of Melbourne and Victoria after the state was hit by its worst natural disaster and loss of life in peacetime due to bushfires on Saturday when temperatures reached 47 degrees Celsius in the city (higher in rural areas which have bushland) and strong winds.

    Some towns were basically wiped off the map and this week the city has been in mourning for those who lost their lives or their homes.

    We are planning a nice tifo display, a simple banner held up during a moment's silence to acknowledge those affected by bushfires.

    I'll try to get pictures and put them up here.

  13. #13
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    Looking forward to it

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    I take it you are NT RiQy?. James header was amazing, at 1st i thought it did not go in then saw him sprinting away will never forget it. Fred has to be the best HAL player ever to date and best import, his 5 assits in the grand final was masterful.

    The only two downfalls with our club is lord hates spending cash and merrick the must lucky manager in the HAL, in fact i dont even rate him as a manager a over rated/paid PE Teacher. His formations, subs, team selections, style are all fucking gay. Dont care if we are the most successful club in australia, all been on luck and fred. Just look at the member drop from last year to this year. He needs to go and a import coach bought in someone with a attacking mind, cause we have the players to beable to do it.

    Are you on the forums? If so whats your nick

  15. #15
    RiQy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iniesta View Post
    I take it you are NT RiQy?. James header was amazing, at 1st i thought it did not go in then saw him sprinting away will never forget it. Fred has to be the best HAL player ever to date and best import, his 5 assits in the grand final was masterful.

    The only two downfalls with our club is lord hates spending cash and merrick the must lucky manager in the HAL, in fact i dont even rate him as a manager a over rated/paid PE Teacher. His formations, subs, team selections, style are all fucking gay. Dont care if we are the most successful club in australia, all been on luck and fred. Just look at the member drop from last year to this year. He needs to go and a import coach bought in someone with a attacking mind, cause we have the players to beable to do it.

    Are you on the forums? If so whats your nick
    I am on the forums "The Technician".

    I agree with Merrick that sometimes he's a little shaky HOWEVER this seasn I have no complaints at all about the style of Football we're playing. It's magnificent at A-League level IMO. Little combinations in and around opposition penalty area with the likes of Hernandez, Celeski, Thompson, Ward and even at times Pondeljak and Allsopp getting involved. Backheels, flicks, quick 1-2s and jinking through balls, it really is great to watch this season no matter how much people complain.

    Not to mention the out of sight improvement in Matthew Kemp with his outstanding runs from left back (which Berger was also doing at the start of the season).

    Who do you think will be Best and Fairest this season?

    IMO either Celeski or Hernandez deserve it.