Hyundai A-League talking points

What did we learn from Timmy Cahill’s return to his hometown Sydney? That and more in this week’s talking points.

Does John van ‘t Schip need to push Cahill higher up the pitch?

City boss JVS said last week that Cahill has lived up to his expectations so far this season. But could City get more out of the veteran Caltex Socceroo?

Cahill has been deployed in a deeper midfield role over his first five games in the Hyundai A-League.

While he has done an adequate job – who will ever forget that wonder goal in the Derby – the 36-year-old could have an even greater influence on the side.

Cahill was hardly in the match against the Wanderers on Friday night until he had a rare chance to get into the box early in the second half.

That’s when Timmy did what Timmy does, getting on the end of an inviting cross to give City the lead.

For a player of his scoring nous and goal-poaching ability, City must find a way of getting Cahill further forward and in the box more often to get even more reward from their marquee man.

It makes sense.

Theo still a master shot-stopper

It’s hard to believe there were a few calls for Michael Theo to be dropped during the week after an apparent error in the draw with Adelaide United in Round 6.

While the 35-year-old may no longer be assured of the no.1 jersey from Jamie Young, Theo is still a top-quality keeper.

Let’s not forget he has five Hyundai A-League titles to his name.

With the pressure on him, Theo responded in the best possible way on Saturday night, making a string of fine saves as Roar halted the Sky Blues juggernaut with a 1-1 draw at Suncorp Stadium.

He not only almost single-handedly kept his side in the game in the first half, but may have also silenced a few critics as well.

Are the Reds showing signs of imploding?

It was never going to be easy defending their title but things certainly aren’t going to plan for Adelaide United.

Seven games, no wins, key players injured and propping up the rest of the Hyundai A-League at the foot of the ladder.

Sure, they are in a similar position to this time last season but are the crevices starting to appear becoming full-blown holes?

It’s hard not to think that after a frustrating night in the west against Perth Glory that saw them throw away another lead and lose 3-1.

The Adelaide players – and coach Gui Amor – were unable to remain composed after Glory’s contentious second goal.

A red card to Jordan O’Doherty, an apparent elbow by Iacopo La Rocca and Amor’s uncharacteristic show of emotion that saw him sent to the stands indicates the Reds may just be buckling under pressure right now.

Has Spotless softened the intimidatory atmosphere of a trip Wanderers?

Over the last few seasons, there’s been no harder road trip in the Hyundai A-League than a visit to Pirtek Stadium against the Wanderers.

With the huge backing of the incredible RBB, the fans so close to the action they can almost touch the players and a wall of noise behind the home side for 90 minutes, it proved a fortress for Tony Popovic’s side.

But the rebuild of Pirtek means Spotless Stadium is Western Sydney’s new “Wanderland” and – as of yet – it hasn’t proved a happy hunting ground for the Red and Black.

The 1-1 draw with Melbourne City on Friday night means it’s three straight draws at the venue this season, a venue where the fans are certainly a lot further away from the pitch than at Pirtek.

Where are Adelaide’s goals going to come from?

When it rains, it pours. That certainly seems the case for Adelaide United.

Already struggling for results and without injured attackers Sergio Cirio and Henrique, the last thing they needed was to see leading scorer Sergi Guardiola limp out of Friday night’s loss to Perth with a knee injury.

While the Spaniard’s ailment might not be too serious, it does beg the question how will Adelaide find the back of the net if he does need to spend an extended amount of time on the sidelines?

Guardiola has not only scored three of their seven goals so far this season but is also proving to be an excellent creator of opportunities for those around him.

Amor’s side will need to discover goals from other avenues if they are to get out of the mire they are currently in.

#F3Derby membership initiative pays off

Hats off to both the Newcastle Jets and Central Coast Mariners for their clever collaboration to get members of both clubs to Sunday’s F3 Derby.

Under the agreement between the two clubs, full-season ticketed members of both clubs are able to attend the away derby matches free of charge for the next two seasons.

As a result a huge contingent of Mariners fans made the trek up the F3 to see their side’s gritty 1-1 draw with the Jets, with a healthy crowd of 11,283 in attendance at McDonald Jones Stadium.

And they got a cracker of a clash, too.


Football Federation Australia

Women’s football making giant strides in Australia

Westfield Matildas

Monday, 21 November 2016

staff writers and AFC
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has praised the progress being made in Australia in the area of women’s football.

The AFC acknowledged that women’s football is developing in Australia at an impressive speed following the announcement that Westfield Matildas duo Caitlin Foord and Lisa De Vanna have been announced in the three-women shortlist for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Player of the Year Award, to be presented at the AFC Annual Awards in Abu Dhabi on December 1.

The shortlisting of Foord and De Vanna comes in the same week that the leading global role Australia has assumed in women’s football development was recognised by the 2016 International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Women and Sport Awards.

Australia remain Asia’s highest ranked women’s national team on the FIFA Women’s Rankings, with the Matildas currently in seventh.

“Australia’s role within Asia has been impressive – particularly in the area of women’s football,” said AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.

“They are an important contributor to the AFC, as their successful hosting of the Asian Cup 2015 demonstrated.

“We are looking forward to continuing our close co-operation with the Football Federation of Australia in the years to come for the benefit of football not only in Australia but in Asia as a whole under the banner of One Asia, One Goal.”

The future of the women’s game is also bright “Down Under”, with the young Matildas having recently qualified for the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship China 2017.

Australian female refereeing was in the international spotlight as Australian referees Kate Jacewicz and Renae Coghill, together with India’s Uvena Fernandes, completed the all-AFC affair at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan in October.

The FFA have also run an exchange programme with ASEAN members and female administrators from Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam have spent two weeks in Australia, participating in workshops, visiting the Australian Institute of Sport and spending time with FFA, regional association and W League club management. Participants from other ASEAN Member Associations will join the programme over the next 18 months.

But it is not only in women’s football that Australia, who joined the AFC in 2006, are taking an active and positive lead. Their support for the unity of Asian football has been backed by their assistance to many AFC Member Associations in the last year.

According to the AFC, the close co-operation with Football Federation Australia (FFA) has been a significant factor in aiding many of those Member Associations achieve their potential and the programmes are starting to show positive results.

Only recently the A League, Australia’s premier club competition, signed a historic agreement with Japan’s J-League in which the two countries will share technical, marketing and administrative expertise. The deal will also lead to the joint promotion of AFC Champions League games.

And to encourage Australian clubs to sign – and develop – players from other Asian countries the FFA Board has recently decided to move towards introducing the ‘plus one’ rule in the Hyundai A-League in coming seasons which will allow more Asian players to take part in the rapidly developing competition, which has seen increased crowds and television audiences this season as standards continue to rise.

In India, FFA have signed an MOU with the All India Football Federation where it is conducting grassroots participation programmes throughout schools in the State of Kerala.



Football Federation Australia

Outcome of independent Match Review Panel – Round 7

Perth Glory v Adelaide United highlights

The independent Match Review Panel (MRP) have met to consider the incident involving Adelaide United head coach Gui Amor from Friday night’s clash with Perth Glory.

The MRP – consisting of Simon Micallef (Chair), Alan Contini and Adam D’Apuzzo – convened today [Monday] to consider an incident involving Guillermo Amor (Head Coach, Adelaide United) which occurred in or around the 68th minute of Adelaide United’s Round 7 match against Perth Glory on Friday, 18 November 2016.

The MRP has the authority to consider the incident as Amor was expelled from the match by the Referee.

The MRP regarded the incident constituting unsporting conduct towards a match official and has referred the incident to the Disciplinary and Ethics Committee for hearing regarding what sanction should apply over and above the Mandatory Match Suspension (which Amor must serve against Sydney FC on Saturday, 26 November 2016).

The Disciplinary and Ethics Committee hearing date is to be confirmed.

Football Federation Australia

Caltex Socceroo defender’s Milos Degenek crucial result in Germany

Milos Degenek's 1860 Munich secured a crucial 1-1 draw overnight.

Caltex Socceroos defender Milos Degenek has helped his side to secure a crucial result in Germany but there was disappointment for another Aussie in Denmark this morning (Tuesday).

Degenek’s 1860 Munich outfit drew 1-1 at home against Kaiserslautern in Bundesliga2.


The 22-year-old played 90 minutes at the back for 1860 less than a week after playing a full game in Bangkok for the Caltex Socceroos against Thailand in a World Cup qualifier.

Croatian international Ivica Olic gave 1860 an early lead before Zoltan Stieber equalised for the visitors a minute before half-time.

The draw sees Degenek’s side move one point clear of the relegation zone and up into 14th spot.

The result meant 1860 avoided defeat for just the sixth time in 13 matches so far this season.

Meanwhile in Denmark, Awer Mabil’s Esbjerg endured a tough night, beaten 3-0 by Silkeborg.


The former Adelaide United flyer played a full match for the visitors, who were on the back foot as soon as Robert Skov gave Silkeborg the lead inside four minutes.

Esbjerg remain rooted to the foot of the Superliga ladder with just two wins from 17 matches.

Fellow Aussie Brent McGrath wasn’t included in the squad for the visitors.


Football Federation Australia


Sydney FC ‘not fussed’ by Melbourne City in FFA Cup Final

Josh Brillante throws his body around in the Round of 32 against Wollongong Wolves.

Josh Brillante says Sydney FC’s physicality will give them the edge in the Westfield FFA Cup Final, and he’s not too worried about City’s big guns.

The Sky Blues and City square off in what should be a blockbuster Cup decider between the two Hyundai A-League high-flyers at AAMI Park on November 30.

While City has the benefit of home ground advantage for the final, Sydney FC have easily been the most impressive performers so far in the 2016/17 Season.


Graham Arnold’s side is unbeaten in seven games in the Hyundai A-League, while they have won all four of their Westfield FFA Cup games without conceding a goal.

Brillante told “They’ve [City] looked good and done well in some of their games but I think our team is stronger.

“Our physicality has shown in the games we’ve played. It’s going to be a tough match but we’ve got the quality and a good attitude in all the players and I think that’s going to work good for us.

“We’re not too fussed about their players. We know if we’re performing and playing our game we’ll get the result.

“We’ve had a great start and it stems from pre-season where all the boys were ready and fit. Our physicality and how we’ve dominated teams in games that we’ve played so far has been really good.”

While they’ve scored 29 goals in 11 matches in both the Hyundai A-League and Westfield FFA Cup this season, it’s Sydney’s miserly defence which been the most pleasing.

The Sky Blues have conceded just three times in 990 minutes of competitive action.

City will provide a stern test of their defensive resolve though, especially through skipper and prolific striker Bruno Fornaroli

The Uruguayan has been in scintillating touch so far this season, with six goals from just seven games in the Hyundai A-League.

But two of the Sky Blues back four – Alex Wilkinson and Michael Zullo – played for City last season so should know better than most the way to stop Fornaroli.

For Brillante, who is going into his first big final, he insists the focus is fully on what his side need to do and not so much the threats in the City squad.

“Off the back of what we’ve done here so far, the vibe is very positive and everyone is going into the game fit and ready to go and bring home some silverware,” the 23-year-old said.

And he says the club has moved on from the disappointment of not getting to host the final, after playing all of their games in the earlier rounds away from home.

“It would have been great for the game to have been at home in front of all the fans and family but no matter where it is you have to go play your best and to win,” Brillante said.

“We’re not too fussed that it’s in Melbourne. AAMI Park is a great stadium as well so it’s not such a big deal.”

Tickets for the Westfield FFA Cup Final 2016 are on sale now, starting at $25 for adults and $5 for kids.  Click here  for details and to purchase.


Football Federation Australia


Hyundai A-League stars pressing for WCQ

When the national team squad gets back together in March 2017, will Ange Postecoglou look at form players in the Hyundai A-League? He knows the league’s quality, so here are 10 names we think could come into the selection conversation.

Josh Brillante (Sydney FC)

The 23-year-old’s exceptional form with the Sky Blues in the Hyundai A-League this season is a reminder of the quality and technical ability Brillante possesses. Endured a couple of tough seasons abroad in Italy but looks to have learned from the experience and is a far better-rounded midfielder now.

Has been on the fringes of the national team in the past – just missing the cut for the 2014 FIFA World Cup – but now he could be ready to step up into the Caltex Socceroos’ midfield holding role. Can play right back, too.

Michael Zullo (Sydney FC)

After cutting his teeth at Brisbane Roar then spending five seasons at FC Utrecht in the Netherlands, Zullo returned to the Hyundai A-League last year and now looks to have found the perfect fit at Sydney FC.

Looks supremely fit under the guidance of Graham Arnold and Andrew Clark, has lightning speed and versatility, equal comfortable at left-back or on the wing. Now 28, Zullo is at the peak of his powers.

Mitch Nichols (Western Sydney Wanderers)

Has been a consistent performer in the Hyundai A-League for the last 18 months. Nichols’ talent has never been in question but has benefitted greatly from working under strict disciplinarian Tony Popovic, getting himself in tip-top shape.

Can score goals from midfield – an area the Caltex Socceroos can be better in – and is the type of player Ange likes (and knows from his Roar days). Nichols could be back in the Caltex Socceroos set-up for the first time since 2014.

Neil Kilkenny (Melbourne City)

Never short of midfield options for the Caltex Socceroos, Kilkenny has thrown his hat into the ring after a brilliant start to his Hyundai A-League career. Has experience from more than a decade playing in England and you get the sense would he settle right back into the national team despite his last appearance coming more than four years ago.

If Ange is searching for depth in the holding midfield role, Kilkenny looms as a viable option.

Bruce Kamau (Melbourne City)

The type of player that excited and gets fans out of their seats. Has a unique style but it works for him, with pace to burn, excellent dribbling skills and maturity for a 21 year-old Has gone to a new level alongside Fornaroli and Cahill at City, with the latter even putting the Kenyan-born winger’s name down for higher honours.

And Kamau will only get better as he continues to fine-tune his game between now and next March.

Alex Wilkinson (Sydney FC)

It’s no surprise that Sydney FC has the best defence in the Hyundai A-League since “Wilko” came to the club for the 2016/17 Season. He brings experience, a cool head, great organisational skills and communication to any side he’s involved with.

While he’s now 32, Wilkinson is still at the top of his game and has never let anyone down in his previous outings for the national team.

James Troisi (Melbourne Victory)

Another benefitting from a return to the Hyundai A-League with Victory, this could be the perfect time for Troisi to return to the national fold. The 28-year-old can play anywhere across the frontline, is good with both feet and always brings loads of pace and energy to the team.

If he gets a good run of games from now, he could well be on the radar.

Luke DeVere (Brisbane Roar)

After an injury plagued 12 months, were again seeing the quality in the powerfully-built 27-year-old defender. A regular under John Aloisi at Roar, DeVere has played for Australia at both under-20 and 23 level, as well as one cap for the Caltex Socceroos – against no less than the might of world champions Germany – in 2015.

If he continues the form he has shown so far in the 2016/17 season, it won’t be long until we see DeVere back in the green and gold.

Steven Ugarkovic (Newcastle Jets)

The young midfielder has been in excellent form in the Hyundai A-League since moving to the Hunter midway through last season. While the 22-year-old has always been earmarked as a star of the future, he has gone to another level on the back of week in, week out first-team football since his return to Australia.


Ugarkovic loves to get on the ball and always looks to be positive and play forward, just the way Ange likes it. While the Socceroos aren’t short of midfield options, he could push for an opportunity if he continues to develop.

Rhys Williams (Perth Glory)

If it wasn’t for a wretched run of injuries over the last few seasons, Williams would have a lot more than 14 international caps to his name. Still only 28, Williams has enjoyed an excellent start to his Glory career and – most encouragingly – hasn’t has any issues with his fitness. Equally comfortable in central defence, right back or the heart of midfield, Williams has all the attributes to thrive in this Caltex Socceroos side.


He’s technically excellent, has great engines, is strong in the air and fierce in the tackle. 2017 could be the year he explodes back onto the international scene.


Football Federation Australia