Article by: Vaughan Menlove (host of It's Not Called Soccer Podcast) Twitter: @DrCruel73 https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/its-not-called-soccer/id1476502062
So now as Australia is coming out of it’s 2-year Covid slumber we get to enjoy things that we treated as normal. Activities such as going to work, meeting with friends or going to a restaurant/pub have been things most Australians have not been able to experience very often in the last 2 years. However, the biggest thing we have missed is watching or going to sporting events. So, the new A-league season coming up on November 19th could not have been better timed for sporting starved supporters in this country. It seems Australian football have quietly been making all the right moves over the last 6 months and starting the new A-League season just as Australia comes out of it’s Covid slumber might be one of the shrewdest moves the game has made in years. I myself can’t wait for the season to start and I have compiled the 5 things I am looking forward to for the upcoming A-League season.
5. Paramount Plus/Channel 10 broadcasting the A-League/W-League
This is the first season Paramount Plus/Channel 10 will be broadcasting the A-League as part of the of their 5-year commitment to broadcast the game. As well as seeing regular faces such as Simon Hill, Tara Rushton and Andy Harper come across from Fox Sports. We shall see some new faces such as Archie Thompson, Mark Milligan, Georgia Yeoman-Dale and Amy Chapman join the team. While majority of the games will be shown on the Paramount Plus streaming service, Channel 10 will have a live A League game every Saturday evening and W League game on Sunday afternoons. These games will have top drawcard teams to draw the biggest audience possible. So far, the signs seems promising. The Socceroos and Matilda’s games on 10 have gone off without a hitch and it seems Channel 10 is promoting both the A league and Wleague across it’s many shows and formats. Paramont/Channel have invested a lot of money into football in this country and want to get its bang for its buck
4. New Stars
Of course having ex Liverpool superstar Daniel Sturridge strutting his stuff for Perth Glory will be an exciting addition for the A-League, but I am also looking forward to seeing the next generation of superstars make their name in the A-League. One of the big pluses of the Covid 19 epidemic is it has forced A-League clubs to play their young players and has unearthed some potential superstars for not only the league, but hopefully for the Socceroos as well. Looking forward to seeing the progression of Melbourne City Defender Nathaniel Atkinson, Phoenix winger Reno Piscopo, the Toure brothers at both Adelaide Utd and MacArthur FC and Western Sydney Wanderers Midfielder Keanu Bacchus.
3. Socceroos and Matilda’s
We now have the opportunity to watch our National Teams on home soil regularly with Covid 19 restrictions lifting. The Socceroos are in a tight tussle to qualify for Qatar 2022 and with recent results it is going to be a tough ask and the home game against Japan looks to be a do or die fixture. The Matilda’s on the other hand are preparing to host the 2023 World Cup with New Zealand so expect a lot of home games in the next 18 months as the Matilda’s are a huge chance to win the tournament which of course would be a first for any Australian team male or female
2. Full effect of A-League/W-League breakaway from FFA
This is the first full season we have the official breakaway of the A and W League from the FFA. Already we have seen the benefits thanks to the media rights deal with channel 10 and Paramont +. However, it is from the FFA side I hope to see more positive changes. Do we see more focus on player development and participation? Will better relationships be formed with business and Government to further enhance the game? Can the biggest issue registration fees be finally tackled?
1. Can Melbourne Victory reclaim its former glory?
Bit self-indulgent here, but I am a mad Melbourne Victory supporter, and it has broken my heart to see the decline of this club over the last few years. However, with the appointment of Tony Popovic it looks like the tide might be turning on the clubs fortunes. The players arriving at the club look promising with signings such as Jason Geria, Jason Davidson, Josh Brillante and Chris Ikonomidis. We also see Matthew Spiranovic come out of retirement and Spanish midfielder Rai Marchen arrive to play for the Blue and White army. Now Melbourne Victory has moved full time to AAMI Park we hopefully will see the return of the glory days.
Champion Shield and Grand Final Melbourne City
Last (Wooden Spoon)