Saturday afternoons of Premier League and Championship football were swapped for Friday nights and weekends. Admittedly, the concept felt odd but, having seen Australia's devotion to cricket and rugby while experiencing the struggle of trying to do anything in 34 degrees heat, let alone play sport, football’s not as simple as lumping all games together when you live Down Under.
It makes drawing comparisons between the A-League and other competitions across the world near impossible. 'What’s the standard of football like compared to England?' is the question asked most. 'Similarly-different' is the phrase I coin. It keeps people guessing.
The A-League is unique, charming and emphatic in it's own right. And, attack is the area where it's flourished most brilliantly this season.
Naturally, it's the highest scorers, Melbourne City, who have captured the imagination. The A-League has been about Bruno Fornaroli, Aaron Mooy and a team’s lust for goals.
“Rome wasn't built in a day but I wasn't on that particular job” - Brian Clough
Rebranding from Melbourne Heart to Melbourne City has been a swift, seamless motion in a very short period of time.
John van’t Ship’s took a seven-match unbeaten run in the end of Hearts’s existence, built on it with a fifth-place finish last season and progressed that to a run for the Premiers' Plate - having already won four games more than last season and scoring an extra 30 goals in the process.
It would be impetuous to compare Dutchman Van’t Ship to the legendary Clough but he certainly looks the man for the job at City. A sticky start with one win from five and a 3-2 loss to rivals Melbourne Victory was straightened-up in the second-half of the season and now one more win may cast City’s name into the history books.
City weren't built in a day but their A-League history could be.
“When they don't score they hardly ever win” – Michael Owen.
Perhaps not the most influential quote from the king of punditry errors. In fact, it's hilariously nonsense. However, the philosophy isn't far off the mark from what City adheres to. Only once in the league have they failed to score, a 3-0 loss to Western Sydney Wanderers.
Their attack-minded approach cost them dearly in the first half of the season and with the ladder so tight at the death, they’ll be kicking themselves for such defensive lapses. A 3-2 loss to Newcastle Jets, having led by two, could haunts them for a long time.
The desire to approach each game with the mentality to pose an attacking threat is something every football fan must enjoy. For the neutrals, City have, arguably, been the most entertaining team to watch.
How many times have they witnessed Aaron Mooy or Bruno Fornaroli - the favourites to battle it out for the Johnny Warren Medal as the competition's best - thit a goal of the season contender?
When City don't score, they don't collect any points.
It’s all to play for in the last round of the season, ladies and gentleman.
“It’s squeaky-bum time'' – Alex Ferguson