The Offside Trap – Round 1 Preview

You can read many previews on the first round of the new A-League season from various new sources but they will all cover the same ground, who’s playing who, who’s new, who’s gone etc but for a look at the lighter side of the A-League, look no further than The Offside Trap.

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adelaide united vs sydney fc – friday night

Finally snake season, I mean A-League season is upon us and gets underway with Adelaide United hosting Sydney FC at Average Beer Stadium on Friday night. Will the defending champions get off to a winning start in the City of Churches or will Adelaide make Sydney feel blue?

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Where it all began last year for Sydney and Adelaide

The forecast for Friday in Adelaide is 21 degrees and sunny which is perfect weather for snakes to start appearing especially around the Coopers Stadium area where Kosta Barbarouses, Alexander Baumjohann and James Troisi could be sighted in the lead up to Friday night’s clash.

These two sides met in Round 1 last year and played out 1-1 draw and both went on to have very different seasons, Adelaide were inconsistant all year and Sydney ended up eventual champions.

Adelaide welcome back hometown heroes Riley McGree, from his stint at Club Brugge where he made a grand total of zero appearances and ended up on loan at Newcastle Jets and then Melbourne City and James Troisi, who still had his fingers in his ears as Melbourne Victory tried to negotitate a contract with him.

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Adelaide is very quiet James, no more need for fingers in ears.

Sydney said goodbye to club legend Alex Brosque over the offseason much to the disappointment of the A-League referees as they always had such an easy time with Alex.

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Alex Brosque, supporter of referees everywhere

Kosta Barbarouses (Victory), Alexander Baumjohann (WSW) and Luke Brattan (Melb. City) have all arrived at Sydney during the offseason to provide a much needed boost to a championship winning squad.

Sydney to win this match 2-1 but Adelaide, much like the city itself, will try really hard to keep up but will fall just short.

wESTERN SYDney wanderers vs central coast mariners – saturday evening

Recently with the AFL Grand Final, Twitter went nuts about a big deal about a big, big sound from the west of the town and now it’s #sokkahtwitter’s turn to get excited about a big, big sound as the Wanderers return to the west of Sydney after three years away.

Western Sydney Wanderers (WSW) over the off-season have produced some of the highest quality social media posts the A-League has ever seen. If only the players put that much effort in last season they might have played finals.

Looking at the list of arrivals and departures for the Wanderers, they look to have upgraded across the board which really wasn’t hard given some of the players they had on the books last season. Riera and Bonevacia gave them good service but replaced by Alexander Meier, Matt Jurman, Dylan McGowan and Daniel Lopar is like taking a Fiat and replacing it with a Ferrari.

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You won’t be needing that jacket in Australia Alex

No fanfare around the Central Coast Mariners this preseason. Last season it was all about the world’s fastest man, this season it’s about the world’s fastest mutual termination. Jai Ingham signed a two year deal with the Gosford based club in June after being released by Melbourne Victory. Before even kicking a ball in a competitve fixture for his new club, well, he had a new club. He would become the 12th signing of the Brisbane Roar during the off-season.

As for CCM, they have looked good in FFA Cup games in the lead-up to the season, reaching the semi-finals and could be in for a season where they don’t finish on the bottom but maybe second bottom perhaps on the back of quality signings like Ziggy Gordon, Mark Birighitti and Daniel De SIlva.

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Could all the good CCM players please line up over here?

This game though, the Wanderers will be too strong running out 3-1 winners here as the Mariners will take a little while to get going this season.

melbourne victory vs melbourne city – saturday night

Ah yes, the good old Melbourne Derby to start the season. This will be Derby #29 in which the boys in blue, I mean dark blue, almost navy in fact, lead the head to head 12 wins to 9 with 7 draws between them.

This offseason has seen a lot of changes at Melbourne Victory. Honda, Niedermeier, Barbarouses, Baena and Muscat are among the names to leave Victory. Not to despair though, in a move that would please Greta Thunberg, Victory’s recycling program is second to none. Former players in Andrew Nabbout, Robbie Kruse and Adama Traore have rejoined the club after spending time in Asia and Europe.

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Melbourne Victory’s Honda power has been replaced by European reliability

Many have asked how the Victory will cope with it’s Honda engine being replaced by a European variety in the form of Kristijan Dobras from Austria, I guess we will find out Saturday night.

The light blue side of Melbourne have signed a bloke with the surname Noone. I’m not going to bite into the low hanging fruit that that presents. Now, the forecast for Saturday night is meant to be partly cloudy which mean the roof at Marvel Stadium could be open allowing City’s main core of fans to attend the match.

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Melbourne City’s core group of supporters gather before an FFA Cup game last year

In all seriousness, City have added some quality players in Brillante, Noone and Windbichler and Erick Mombaerts has replaced Warren Joyce much the approval of the seagull, I mean supporters.

This game is match of the round as Noone knows what to expect, sorry, that was too easy. I promise to do better next time. This game will end in a 2-2 draw and hopefully we get some serious spice in this game.

wellington phoenix vs western united – sunday afternoon

This would have to be one of the most intriguing matches this season and we get it in Round 1. Wellington Phoenix vs 2018 Wellington Phoenix or more commonly known as Western United.

There’s more to unpack from this game than a suitcase after 3 months in Europe, where to begin? Let’s start with our friends across the ditch shall we.

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“That way is west and that’s where all our players headed” – Chris Greenacre, probably…..

The boys in yellow had a great season for 2018/19, making finals and claiming sub big scalps including a 3-1 over eventual champions Sydney in Sydney and an 8-2 belting of CCM. However, there was a long white cloud over Wellington towards the end of the season with rumours about the future of Mark Rudan and several players starting to swirl. Then next thing the Nix know, they have no coach, no captain and no goalkeeper as they have all jumped ship to Western United. Leading goalscorer Roy Krishna has headed to the Indian Super League. It’s only called the Super League as players go there to top up their super funds. Up and coming star Sapreet Singh made the decision to leave the shores on New Zealand and swapped it for a place at small German club called Bayern Munich, not sure if they are any good though.

In return, Germany has sent the Nix a 24 year old called Matti Steinmann who has spent most of his time at Hamburger SV among a host of other players from various leagues, both NZ Domestic and international leagues.

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That feeling when you are back in the best city in Australia

Hello Berisha my old friend, I’ve come to watch you play again. That’s right, the player you love if he’s on your team, hate if he’s not, Besart Berisha is back and he’s playing with Melbourne Victory Western United this season. He joins a host of big names, well big names for the A-League at the league’s newest side. Household names such as Connor Chapman, Filip Kurto, Andrew Durante and Connor Pain will line up for WUFC this season. In all seriousness, the signings of Alessandro Diamanti and Panagiotis Kone are huge for WUFC as these are top quality players who will ensure that the new kids on the block will hit the ground running.

This game will be frostier than a winter morning in Wellington and Rudan and his new team will lob into Wellington, nab three points and head on home with their first win.

perth glory vs brisbane roar

Perth Glory and three letter acronyms, name a better combination. Perth Glory absolutely love three letter acronyms and announced earlier this week that their shirt sponsor for the upcoming season is going to be BHP and all home games are played at HBF Park. This carriers on from last year where the shirt sponsor was QBE and home games were played at NIB Stadium. The only other combination that comes close to Perth and their love of three letter acronyms is Tony Popovic and finishing second. Perth, in their first season under his guidance finished top of the table but lost the Grand Final on penalties and will be hoping to go one better this year, losing the grand final in regular time.

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How many pies did you eat per game while in the stands Bruno?

Some small changes with Jason Davidson, Jacob Italiano and Andy Keogh all departing the club for bigger and better acronyms, I mean opportunities. James Meredith, Osama Malik, Riley Warland and Gregory Wuthrich are good additions for the squad and Neil “Hard as a cat’s head” Kilkenny and Diego “Fidel” Castro will go around again for the lads out west. Forward firepower will be provided by Melbourne City outcast Bruno Fall-and-rolli who spent all of last season sitting in the stands watching Warren Joyce’s career implode.

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Roar fans will be hoping that Robbie can bring a better trophy to the club this season.

Now for Queenslanders. Robbie Fowler is back in Queensland for the first time since 2010. His move from northern QLD to south-east QLD means he’s now dealing with lower temperatures but higher IQs. This is Fowler’s first full time coach role at a big large club and will be interesting to see how his first season goes. The Roar have added some quality with Aiden O’Neill on loan from Burnley, Scott Neville, Jai Ingham (as discussed above), Jay O’Shea and George Mells. Another interesting pick up is Roy O’Donovan, who appears to following in the footsteps of Dario Vidosic and trying to play for every A-League side at least once in their career.

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Look how happy Henrique is when he found out the Roar decided to release him at season’s end

The Roar, much like my fridge at home, we can only have one package of Ingham there at a time. Jai comes into the squad, Dane leaves and now plays for Perth.

You are probably going to hear the word God a lot this season, maybe referring to Fowler’s playing days but more likely intertwined with words such as oh, what, are, they and doing to describe the way the are Roar playing at current point in time.

Perth will be too good here and will run out 4-1 winners as Brisbane will roar back to Queensland with their tail between their legs.