An F3 Derby with some spice and we get a taste of the FFA Cup Grand Final | A-League Round 2 Preview
The Melbourne Derby fizzled in Round 1 but maybe the F3 derby can sparkle this weekend with the Mariners and the Jets both looking to kick-start their seasons.
New boys Western United will still be flying high after their opening win in Wellington and they’ll be hoping for a strong turnout for their debut home fixture at Kardinia Park.
And we get a preview of the FFA Cup Grand Final with Melbourne City and Adelaide set to feel each other out on Sunday afternoon before the big one next week.
All that and more is coming up in Round 2 of the A-League!
Melbourne Victory vs Western Sydney Wanderers | Marvel Stadium | Fri 7:30pm
The Wanderers celebrated their return to Wanderland with a come-from-behind win against the Mariners but they’ll have to step it up a gear when they travel to Melbourne Friday night. Victory were off their normal pace for the derby and Marco Kurz will surely instill a sense of drive and urgency in his attackers.
One person that looked full of drive was Andrew Nabout who caused City all kinds of problems down the right flank. He’ll need to continue that drive considering fellow winger Robbie Kruse is still out with a hamstring injury and reports are indicating he could be unavailable for up to a month still.
Western United vs Perth Glory | GMHBA Stadium | Sat 5pm
They made history last weekend in Wellington and they’ll be looking to do the same this weekend in Geelong. Western United are preparing for their inaugural home game at Kardinia Park as they host defending premiers Perth Glory.
Tony Popovic knows better than anyone what Mark Rudan and Western United are working towards having achieved amazing early success with the Wanderers in their early days. But he’ll be keen for his side to stifle that having let three points slip through their fingers in the last minute of the game against Brisbane.
Much has been discussed about what can be expected of Western United in their debut season. Perth will be a strong barometer of how the new side are shaping up and all eyes will be on Geelong to see another piece of A-League history.
Central Coast Mariners vs Newcastle Jets | Central Coast Stadium | Sat 7:30pm
It’s the first F3 derby of the season and there’s some added spice to this one. Matt Millar ditched the yellow jersey and headed north to the Jets in the off-season so he can expect a frosty welcome on his return to Gosford.
Meanwhile, the last time Jets CEO Lawrie McKinna was at Central Coast Stadium was earlier this month when he unfurled a 10 metre banner reading ‘Newcastle: A Class Above’ in the grandstand during the Mariners’ heartbreaking last-minute FFA cup semi-final loss.
It’s his side’s first game of the season after a Round 1 bye so they’ll be out to prove his statement correct and what a game it would be to do it. The Mariners will be eager to bounce back from their agonizing loss to the Wanderers last week. Tommy Oar was everywhere for the men in yellow last week and Staj will be hoping for a similarly busy performance.
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Melbourne City vs Adelaide United | AAMI Park | Sun 4pm
Sometimes the draw just works out… or not. City and Adelaide face off for installment one on Sunday afternoon with installment two being the FFA Cup Final on Wednesday evening.
It’s hard to tell whether each manager will throw out full-strength sides to try and land a psychological blow before the final or whether they’ll rest key players to keep them fresh.
These teams had polar opposite games to start the season. City played some good football against rivals Victory but lacked the final product. An in-form Jamie Maclaren returning from Socceroos duty could provide exactly that and Erick Mombaerts will be hoping his excellent partnership with Craig Noone will have the goals flowing.
Adelaide on the other hand will have only just caught their breath again after that frenetic game against Sydney FC in Round 1. They’ll be without defender Ryan Strain (suspended) but look out for young striker Al Hassan Toure who looked electric in his first A-League game.
Sydney FC vs Wellington Phoenix | Leichhardt Oval | Sun 6pm
Round 2 wraps up with the defending Champions hosting Wellington Phoenix at one of Australia’s great historic suburban grounds in Leichhardt Oval.
The apprentice returns to face his master as Ufuk Talay takes on his former employer. Talay who was assistant as the Sky Blues won the title last season will be using every bit of inside knowledge he has to break down Steve Corica’s side.
Phoenix were left slightly red-faced after their former manager returned with the A-League’s new boys to steal three points from his old home. They’ll be fired up and ready to do the exact same for their manager but first and foremost they’ll need to contain a Sydney FC strike force that look to have clicked alarmingly fast already.
Adam le Fondre scored a double last week whilst Kosta Barbarouses looked sharp as ever and would have had one of his own if not for a very tight VAR call.