The split round has finally come to an end, with the makeup of the top six becoming clearer heading into the final month of the regular season.
Perth’s wastefulness in front of goal costs them
Despite losing 4-1 to Melbourne Victory, Perth Glory had more than enough opportunities to swing the game in their favour. Registering 17 shots showed promising signs that Perth had the ability to create opportunities, but with only a third of those on target, it is a problem Kenny Lowe will need to solve. With a front three as good as any in the league, Perth can cause havoc in the finals, but the clinical nature of Victory shows that other teams at the top will make them pay.
Poor pitches taking away from league’s quality
Following the round’s opening match between Sydney FC and Central Coast Mariners, Paul Okon was left infuriated with the state of the pitch. With the Rugby codes now underway, many teams will be made to deal with pitches which have been dug up only hours earlier. If we want to ensure that games can be played on the best quality pitches, something needs to be done. The Socceroos are due to play on the same Allianz Stadium pitch, and showcasing a decent surface to a global audience should be a must.
Melbourne City send a reminder of their quality
With home finals on the line, Melbourne City produced a winning performance over Newcastle Jets reminiscent of their form prior to their FFA Cup triumph. Their goal difference was given a significant boost, and a third-placed finish is now firmly in their grasp. This game is a sign that their form is returning at the right time with only weeks till finals.
Maclaren continues to showcase form
Australia still faces a shortage of goalscorers, but Jamie Maclaren has now scored 14 goals this season to back up his haul of 20 from last. Ange Postecoglou claimed that Maclaren’s omission was based on inconsistency – six goals in five games is a show of anything but. There is still time for Maclaren to be called up in time for the Confederations Cup and the latter World Cup qualifiers. This kind of form has him in contention.
Refereeing issues create havoc again
Another week goes by, and with it comes more scrutinised refereeing. As the game Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar headed to a dull conclusion, it suddenly erupted in the dying stages. Michael Theo was held by Dylan McGowan after claiming the ball, and Theo swung his elbow back, hitting McGowan. The red card was rightly given, but the situation should never have developed to that stage. With decisions like this costing Brisbane crucial points in the run-in to the finals, Round 26’s video technology trial cannot come soon enough.