In an effort to avoid thinking about the Grand Final, I've decided instead to focus on things of an international nature.
There's some interesting stuff going on at the moment with regards to the bids for the 2018/2022 World Cups. The FFA have announced the establishment of a FIFA World Cup Bid Team, chaired by Frank Lowy and led by Ben Buckley, as a business unit within its overall governance structure. Within a few months, there will be up to 15 staff working full time on the World Cup bid. An offshoot of this process is the formation of another bid team, headed by Rob Abernathy, working on Australia's submission to host the 2015 Asian Cup.
The A-League Head of Operations post, which was held by Abernathy, will be filled by the (now ex-) St Kilda Football Club CEO Archie Fraser. Despite his status in the world of eggpunching, Fraser is a round ball man at heart, having played professionally for Greenock Morton FC in Scotland (aye, the Pride of Clyde, the very same*) before moving to Australia in 1980 to play for the Queensland Premier League. Ben Buckley is obviously using his AFL connections well.
Meanwhile, our favourite national team coach Pim Verbeek has taken time out from sheeing the shexy girls at the coffee shop to pick a squad for the upcoming Asian Cup qualifier against Kuwait, to be played in Canberra on March 5. There are plenty of Reds boys in there:
Danny Allsopp (Melbourne), Fabian Barbiero (Adelaide United), Billy Celeski (Melbourne), Shannon Cole (Sydney FC), Robert Cornthwaite (Adelaide United), Tarek Elrich (Newcastle), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), Dean Heffernan (Central Coast), Scott Jamieson (Adelaide United), Ben Kantarovski (Newcastle), Matthew McKay (Queensland), Craig Moore (Queensland), Daniel Mullen (Adelaide United), Mitch Nichols (Queensland), Tom Pondeljak (Melbourne), Paul Reid (Adelaide United), Matt Simon (Central Coast), Michael Theoklitos (Melbourne), Archie Thompson (Melbourne), Matthew Thompson (Newcastle), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Newcastle), Rodrigo Vargas (Melbourne), Danny Vukovic (Central Coast), Michael Zullo (Queensland).
Making their first appearances in a 'Roos squad are Fabian Barbiero, Daniel Mullen, Queensland's Mitch Nicholls and Newcastle's impressive centre back, 17 year old Ben Kantarovski. I'm not going to try to predict a starting lineup, but we need to see more creativity out wide. Dodd was overlooked again for the squad - his form hasn't been great, but he's still the best pure right wing option in the A-League.
Anyway, I think that, on home turf, we will see a far better showing from the A-League Socceroos than was the case against Indonesia. Do it.
*Not that I'd ever heard of them, of course.