Five things we learned from A-League Round 17

Sydney FC could continue their unbeaten run right through to the end of the regular A-League season and then lose either the semi-final or grand final and another team would be crowned champions. Would that be unfair to the Sky Blues?

Jumpei Kusukami

Western Sydney Wanderers have largely struggled this A-League season Source: Getty Images

1. The debate over what means more - winning the Premiers' Plate or grand final - is about to start

It has been an off and on debate over the years and now that Sydney have stretched their competition lead to double figures, by beating Melbourne Victory and look to have the plate at their mercy, it will be on again soon.


The tradition in the big leagues overseas is that first past the post is all that matters, but in Australia we play finals football and the accepted champion team is the one that wins the grand final.

That doesn't sit well with many football traditionalists and the fact that the Sky Blues are being so dominant this season, will ensure the debate resumes.

2. It might be from the penthouse to the basement for both of last year's grand finalists

Only once in A-League history have both grand finalists failed to even make the finals the season after.

That was in season 2007-2008, when both Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United missed out after playing in the decider the previous season.

But Adelaide United and Western Sydney Wanderers are at serious risk of repeating that feat.

Adelaide can be written off now. They're in last place on 11 points, nine points behind sixth-placed Newcastle Jets, with 10 rounds to go, and simply aren't good enough to make up the ground.

Eighth-placed Western Sydney are only two points outside of the top six and therefore still in the hunt, but their last-minute, 2-1 loss to Brisbane Roar was just the latest in a long line of frustrating results for them this season.

It's going to be line-ball whether they get there or not.

3. Newcastle Jets don't get the credit they deserve

Melbourne City can spin it however they like, but the fact is the Jets were tactically better than them and deserved their 2-1 win.

The Jets realised that if they were disciplined in defence and reacted quickly in attack they could hold out City at one end and threaten them at the other.

It doesn't matter that City had most of the ball, they didn't do enough with it because they were too slow in building up attacks and the Jets were usually well-set in defence.

But when Newcastle had the chance to attack, they did it swiftly and with real penetration - something City didn't have.

4. Vedran Janjetovic has still got the occasional clanger in him

The former Sydney FC and now Western Sydney Wanderers goalkeeper is a fine shot-stopper at his best and he had begun life with his new club strongly, performing well in his first three games.

But then came his poor attempt at a save from Brett Holman's thunderous and ultimately match-winning shot for Brisbane Roar right at the death of the game.

Janjetovic was standing on the six-yard line as Holman unleashed from several metres outside the box and when he reached above his head to try to stop the ball, it went through his hands and dropped in for a goal as he desperately tried to get back.

Occasional glaring mistakes have been mixed in with mostly good form during Janjetovic's A-League career.

This was a particularly costly one for the Wanderers, who are battling to stay in finals contention and were about to take a valuable point home on the road.

5. Adam Taggart has made a strong bid for blown chance of the season

The Perth Glory striker and former Golden Boot winner had a goal laid on for him just before halftime against Central Coast Mariners, but what should have been a tap-in from several metres out became an air swing.

It was an expensive miss, as were other missed first-half chances by Glory players, Andy Keogh and Diego Castro.

The Mariners struck twice early in the second-half and climbed off the bottom of the table with a 2-0 win.

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4 min read
Published 30 January 2017 at 6:37am
By Greg Prichard