Five things we learned from A-League Round 2

Late goals, big games and big names all came to the fore this past weekend as round two of the new A-League season again delivered ample action and plenty of talking points.


Massimo Maccarone (L), Tim Cahill (C) and Roy O'Donavan (R) Source: Getty Images, AAP

Cahill’s back!

It’s been a big week for Tim Cahill. Not only did he score two goals to keep the Socceroos’ hopes of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup alive, but he also managed to plug his new sponsorship deal mid-celebration and moan to the media during the week as Ange Postecoglou took the spotlight away from him.

While Cahill will forever remain one of the greatest players to ever don the green and gold jersey, his achievements were quickly forgotten when he made his season debut for Melbourne City during the derby on Saturday night.

With approximately half the world’s population of seagulls circling above, Cahill replaced Ross McCormack in the 81st minute to a chorus of boos from the Victory support.

Cahill was ineffective in the end, but the 37-year-old deserves credit for backing up a 120-minute midweek showing with a quick cameo as City held on for a 2-1 win to go top of the league.

Sydney FC’s seats are sky blue

Before you clench your fists and blurt out all the excuses you conjured up while watching the game last night, just know that your team are the champions.

Yes, it was a Sunday night, but for all Graham Arnold’s men achieved en route to their Premiership-Championship double last season, it seems their ability to draw a crowd has remained a chronic problem.

The 11,284 fans in attendance was the lowest figure for a defending champion’s first home match of the season in A-League history, succeeding the previous mark of 12,106 Sydney FC also set in the 2010-11 season.

The Cove’s tifo, reiterating every record Sydney broke last season, said it all. But despite being arguably the greatest team this league has ever seen, fans still feel they have some place else to be.

While the Wellington Phoenix surprised many with their resilience and resolve, it ultimately wasn’t enough as Sydney held on to extend their unbeaten home record at “Fortress Allianz” passed 560 days.

Age actually isn’t just a number

29. That was the average age of the Brisbane Roar side that surrendered a 1-0 lead late to Adelaide United to lose 2-1 on Friday night.

Had the returning Brett Holman been fit enough to reclaim his place in the starting eleven, instead of a youthful Nicholas D’Agostino, that average would have increased to 30.

Fans were left bemused at the Roar’s sudden collapse, as Adelaide dominated second-half proceedings on what was a perfect pitch at Brisbane’s (nursing) home of Suncorp Stadium.

John Aloisi’s side are now winless in their last six games in all competitions dating back to last season – the longest drought in club history.

Nobody ever said having experience was a bad thing, but replacing your 20-goal striker (Jamie Maclaren) with a 38-year-old (Massimo Maccarone) doesn’t exactly leave you expecting a similar return.

People that pay to be a member don’t go to games

Last week, a respectable 12,223 fans turned up on a Sunday afternoon to watch the Western Sydney Wanderers make history and win their opening match of the season.

Buoyed by this unfamiliar success, it seemed only natural that a big crowd beckoned ahead of their Saturday afternoon clash against the Central Coast Mariners, right? Wrong.

The Wanderers and Mariners played out a highly entertaining 2-2 draw that could have gone either way. But despite boasting almost 16,500 members alone, only 11,650 fans turned up.

It’s disgusting, it’s lazy and it’s clearly an attitude of preservation as the wait for Parramatta’s new Western Sydney Stadium drags on.

Hayden Foxe has followed the foundations Tony Popovic left behind, and the Wanderers now have arguably their strongest squad since their inception. So, if you’ve got a seat, here’s an idea: use it.

Is it 2008 again?

We knew Perth Glory would be strong this season, but did anyone see this Newcastle Jets team coming?

While Adam Taggart’s 92nd-minute equaliser, his second strike of the game, against his old club would have hurt the home side, a 2-2 draw on the face of things doesn’t seem so bad considering the Jets once again came back from behind.

Ernie Merrick has put together a squad that, in the space of two weeks, has already joined early title discussions and left fans filled with optimism.

The last time the Newcastle Jets followed an opening round win with at least a point dates back to the 2009-10 season – the last season in which they made the finals.

With a solid backline and a potent attack featuring Andrew Nabbout, Ronald Vargas and Roy O'Donovan, it seems the Jets are finally flying again.

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5 min read
Published 16 October 2017 at 10:37am
By Jonathan Bernard