Western Sydney Wanderers may disagree, but Jarred Gillett was right to disallow them a goal against Melbourne City. The referee at the centre of Western Sydney’s contentious overruled goal carelessly allowed the Wanderers to quickly take a free kick before a Melbourne City defender could drop back into position. That defender, Patrick Kisnorbo, was only pulled out of position by Gillett for a lecture after a foul. The ever-aware Wanderers quickly pounced on that opportunity once Gillett incorrectly blew for play on, scoring via a player unmarked where Kisnorbo was previously standing.
Had it not been for an astute linesman, Gillett would not have been aware of this situation and would have allowed the goal to stand.
Brisbane too were let down by a linesman after being awarded a penalty against Wellington Phoenix, which was similarly overturned by a vigilant assistant who spotted the smallest of infringements by the attacking team. In a game where players of all ages are told to “play the whistle” it was cruel and seemingly unjust to order the Wanderers to retake it, but not as unfair as it would have been to allow that goal to stand.
2. Where there’s a will there’s a way
It was one of the most powerful moments of season – the split second after Ali Abbas scored in his first game after 13-month lay-off. He looked straight to the Sydney FC supporters, wanting to run towards them, but instead turned towards the coaching staff and jumped into the arms of the club physio and conditioning coach.
In early December 2014, doctors told Abbas his chances of playing again weren’t good after rupturing two ligaments in a horror tackle. Determined not to let that moment ruin his career, Abbas worked tirelessly to come back and made his impact minutes into his first professional game in more than a year.
3. Dollars over sense
Few games would have hurt more for the struggling Central Coast Mariners than their 3-3 draw with Melbourne Victory, and the question is, had they stayed in Gosford, instead of moving their home game to Geelong, would they have won? Central Coast was once a fortress for the side but, more eager to chase dollars than competition points, they moved that game to Geelong with a match fee understood to be attached. Naturally the crowd was mostly made up of Victory supporters who spurred their side on towards an unlikely comeback.
4. Jets in freefall
We’re now past the halfway stage of the most generous football competition in the world – where 60 per cent of teams make the finals – and Newcastle Jets don’t look like finishing in the top six for the sixth season in a row. Their 2-0 loss to Sydney FC made it seven weeks since they’ve scored and 11 weeks since they last won a match.
Worse still, the club looked bereft of confidence and simple marking and tracking would have prevented them from conceding. At the other end, the club looks rattled in the final third and although just four points from the finals zone, they don’t look close to bridging that gap.
5. World game v colonial game
It’s a battle that has been brewing for some time and will come to a head on Saturday night. No it’s not just Sydney FC against Western Sydney Wanderers but the world game against the colonial game. The A-League and Big Bash League cricket will further divide the city with two derby games and it is likely cricket will win the audience battle off the field.
Next year the A-League derbies appear set for ANZ Stadium, which could draw crowds in excess of 50,000 and if the FFA manages to seal a deal with a network, it will be broadcast nationally, truly challenging Big Bash cricket.