Sport

A-League's season of highs and lows

PHIL DILLON looks back on the year that was in Australia's premier football competition and picks out his five highlights and lowlights of another action-packed year.

1. The signing of Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton

It may have been protracted and drawn out, but Kewell's move to Melbourne Victory in August gave the A-League the perfect boost ahead of its seventh season. And when fellow Socceroo Emerton came "home" to sign for Sydney FC it sent the strongest of messages that the powers-that-be were serious about making this competition one of the best in the southern hemisphere. Both have been successes this season (I have to admit I wasn't sure about Kewell) and hopefully could lead to more big-name players making the journey to play down under.

2. The revoking of Gold Coast United's A-League licence

If the signings of Kewell and Emerton were good news for the A-League and Football Federation Australia, then this ridiculous saga, which turned into a war between one of Australia's richest men Frank Lowy and Queensland's richest man Clive Palmer, was just what it did not need. The public spat between the two, which finally resulted in the revoking of Gold Coast's licence, was a blight not only on the A-League, but on the game as a whole in Australia. Let's hope that a new consortium can be found and football finds a place on the Coast again. But if it does, the Gold Coast public has to support it and not sit on their backsides at home while the players struggle to perform in front of empty seats.

3. Announcement of new club in western Sydney

Not long after losing a club in bizarre circumstances, the FFA managed to find a new one in almost the same way. With Prime Minister Julia Gillard in attendance, FFA chief executive Ben Buckley announced a team would be formed in Western Sydney (haven't we heard that one before in another footy code?). It was all bells and whistles with Buckley saying the new outfit would be community based and run by the people for the people (or something like that). Let's hope that with government and FFA backing, the club is successful next season and we don't end up with another white elephant as we had on the Gold Coast.

4. Hunter Sports Group handing back Newcastle Jets' A-League licence

Talking of white elephants, this decision by the Hunter Sports Group, led by mining magnate Nathan Tinkler, left me perplexed, bemused and more than a little saddened for both the players and supporters of the Newcastle Jets. I remember looking at the club's website on the day of the press conference set up by HSG and after clicking on a link which said "club announcement" I read about the decision to hand in the club's A-League licence. To treat fans and players like that was disgraceful. There is strong talk that a "community-run" team based in Newcastle will be in the A-League next season. Let's hope so. It will be the perfect way to stick two fingers up to the HSG and Tinkler and the club to say: "we don't need your money".

5. Roar's grand final win, that penalty, the Joe Marston Medal cock-up and Ange's departure

I have decided to lump these four highlights/lowlights together because I think they are all inextricably linked.

Firstly, Roar's historic back-to-back grand final win was not only good for Brisbane but it has to be good for the competition as a whole. The final might not have been one for the purists but what it lacked in quality, it made up for in excitement. Lightning doesn't strike twice, they say. Try telling that to Roar skipper Matt Smith and the rest of the Roar team, who deserved its grand final success.

Perth did not deserve what happened in injury time, however, although I have to strongly disagree with some of the things I have been hearing from Glory owner Tony Sage, since that penalty. I have looked at it and looked at it and looked at it again and although I now admit there was the slightest of touches from Liam Miller, I still believe it was not a penalty as Besart Berisha fell over the ball. Perth skipper Jacob Burns insisted that Berisha told him it was not penalty but Burns was gracious in defeat and also covered himself in glory (excuse the pun) when it came to the Joe Marston Medal farce.

Not only was the grand final chance ripped away from him, Burns had to suffer the ignominy of receiving the much-deserved Marston Medal in the bowels of Suncorp Stadium, instead of in front of thousands of fans after Thomas Broich was wrongly presented with the gong after an "administrative error". This just rounded off a poor season for the FFA and A-League on the officiating front.

Then just as we thought the season was over, Ange Postecoglou gave us the coup de gras. The worst-kept secret in Australian football came out not long after the tickertape parade through Brisbane's streets. Postecoglou says he likes a challenge and good luck to him as he has done a remarkable job with the Roar. But maybe he could have left his announcement for another day or two because, let's face it, we all knew he was leaving. Talk about raining on Brisbane's parade.

Topics:  a-league football



Federal grants for 18 community organisations

Nationals candidate for Page Kevin Hogan

Clarence Valley volunteers to benefit from funding

Fears woman, 62, will lose foot after motorbike crash

Several motorbikes were knocked over in a serious accident on the Pacific Hwy at Halfway Creek.

Westpac chopper called in after Pacific Hwy accident.

Mayor slams call to bring in administrator

Clarence Valley Council mayor Jim Simmons.

Mayor calls for "more ticker" to get Valley finances in shape

Local Partners

Federal grants for 18 community organisations

MEMBER for Page Kevin Hogan announces Federal grants for 18 community organisations in the Clarence Valley


NRRRL: Magpies on a mission for home fans

ON A MISSION: Captain- coach Dan Randall hopes to lead Lower Clarence Magpies to their first victory of the 2017 NRRRL season when they run out in front of their home fans against Evans Head Bombers at the Nest this Sunday.

Lower Clarence ready for another cracker at the Nest

Polocrosse hits fever pitch at Hawthorne Park

ALL SYSTEMS GO: This weekend Grafton Polocrosse Club hosts its first annual carnival at Hawthorne Park since the club re-formed.

New lease of life in the Clarence Valley for equestrian team sport

Support for Kara's treadmill marathon explodes

Former Grafton and now NSW cricketer Kara Sutherland bowling to cricket legend Sir Viv Richards. Photo: MARK NEWSHAM

Support for treadmill marathon thrills organiser Kara Sutherland.

HBO spills new details on Game of Thrones’ final season

JUST ahead of the premiere of Game of Thrones season 7, we’ve been given new details about what to expect from the eighth and final instalment.

Karl’s rant on Corby: ‘Made to look like idiots’

Karl Stefanovic is sick of hearing about Schapelle Corby.

Today co-host launched a tirade against Schapelle Corby media circus

Shot at the live shows slips through Sally's fingers

Sally Skelton and Bojesse Pigram pictured after their battle performance on The Voice.

Sunshine Coast singer's dramatic elimination from The Voice

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor split after 17 years

They were married in May 2000 and have two children, who they said will remain their priority.

Ben Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have called it a day

Why The Voice hasn't produced a star

Boy George responds to Brittania Clifford-Pugh's heart-warming message.

It's the industry, not the show, says Boy George

These actors hated their movies and didn’t mind admitting it

Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans in a scene from GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Every year, Hollywood blesses us with plenty of God awful movies.

Miranda Kerr and fiance hang up backyard tent for wedding

The decorators and caterers are arriving for the final preparations for the wedding of Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel. Pictures: Splash

Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr are set to marry today

This is real estate's billion-dollar man

Bob Wolff at AREC with John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate.

They don’t call him the “Billion dollar man” for nothing

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!