MELBOURNE CITY 0 ADELAIDE UNITED 2
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 2 NEWCASTLE JETS 4
MELBOURNE VICTORY 0 BRISBANE ROAR 0
WELLINGTON PHOENIX 0 WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 2
SYDNEY FC 4 PERTH GLORY 0
ADELAIDE UNITED ARE THE 2015/16 PREMIERE’S PLATE WINNERS
Brisbane Fall Short At The Last
Four teams started the final round of the A-League 2015/16 season with a chance of lifting the Premiere’s Plate. After Adelaide United’s resounding win over Melbourne City on Friday night, the equation was simple. If Brisbane won, the plate was theirs. Any other result and it goes to Adelaide.
With Victory assured of a 6th place finish and no possibility of anything higher, Kevin Muscat had little to play for and chose to field an understrength squad for the game. As a result, the Roar dominated for large portions of the game both in possession and shots on goal. But all the skill, luck and good fortune that saw them score last gasp victories over the Wanderers, Sydney FC and the Jets in recent weeks suddenly eluded them. The tone was set when Matt McKay missed a sitter two minutes into the game. It finished with a final stab at goal from James Donachie which Man of the Match Lawrence Thomas managed to parry wide. Thomas had an immense game and was unstoppable between the sticks for the Victory.
The Roar looked a sullen team when the full time whistle blew. They had their fate in their own hands and they couldn’t make it count.
It’s been a whirlwind ride for Brisbane Roar which started the season with financial woes and finished two agonizing point short of claiming their third Plate in six years. The Wanderers won comfortably over Wellington Phoenix on the weekend which meant the Roar finished third and lose the right to a home semi final.
Still, the club’s fans have been delighted with the team’s performance overall this season and I think it will be looked back upon as a thrilling season that delivered plenty of fond memories.
Now its time for the finals. An elimination match against last year’s champions and the team that denied them of the Plate this year – Melbourne Victory. For the Roar, the opportunity to enact a measure of revenge is only just around the corner.
News and Notes
- Adelaide United won their second Premiere’s Plate this season. They were the inaugural champions of the competition and have waited over a decade to have another opportunity to lift the title. It caps off an incredible season for the club who were winless in the first eight and according to former player/manager John Kosmina – within a game away from sacking coach Gui Amor.
- The key to Adelaide’s success must surely be the teamwork and selflessness of the team. Whereas teams like Victory, Roar and City all have big name star players, Adelaide have a stack of talented players but none that stand out as *the* person that the team is reliant upon. Their win over City where Aaron Mooy and Bruno Fornaroli were effectively cancelled out of the game showed the difference between a star team and a team of stars.
- Perth Glory lost 4-0 to Sydney FC who finally snapped an eleven game winless streak but I wouldn’t read much into it. I don’t think Glory had anything to play for after the results of Friday and Saturday.
- Melbourne City faded badly in the final two rounds of this season when it counted the most taking zero points from their final two matches. They lead the competition only a fortnight ago. Now they finished fourth. Melbourne Heart fans will be used to this disappointment but the sense of frustration must surely be close to boiling over. Attendances have also been disappointing. Despite the free scoring season they’ve had, attendance figures have been down for City. Marketing the A-League successfully and finding an audience continues to be a challenge for the sport’s administrators. I’m not sure how much more you can ask for with the on-field product.
- Ben Sigmund, a legend at Wellington Phoenix, played his final game at the club this week. He has retired from professional football to spend more time with his family. It was also the last game for Manny Muscat who moves to Melbourne City next season.
- The teams that didn’t make the finals – Newcastle, Central Coast, Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix – all have a lot of rebuilding to do in the off season to change their fortunes for next season. Expect plenty of transfer news in the weeks ahead.
- Any of the teams playing finals football are a genuine chance to win the Grand Final this season. It may well be the first time in the competition history that a team that finishes outside the top two claims the title. Perth Glory are my pick to go the distance.
- Adelaide and Western Sydney have a week to rest. Next week it’s Brisbane Roar vs Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City vs Perth Glory.