The 27-round regular season kicks off on August 6 and wraps up on February 14. There's a finals series, 0f course, culminating in the Grand Final (Adelaide United v TBA) on March 20.
Here's a few things that I can gather from a quick scan of the document:
- Adelaide play 14 home games. Unfortunately, I'll miss 5 of them (including the only home games against North Queensland and Melbourne) because I'll be overseas. First home game is against Perth on August 7.
- The finals series has gotten even more ridiculous. There are now 6 teams in the finals - i.e., over half the league - with a convoluted system that seems specifically designed to befuddle (so that's why they hired Ben Buckley from the AFL):
- Lots of clubs seem to be moving home games around - Sydney are playing a match at the SCG (blergh) and a match at Parramatta (woohoo!); Perth are playing a match at Subiaco (double blergh); Wellington are playing a game in Christchurch and one in Palmerston North. Central Coast's fixtures at home to Adelaide and Perth are listed as 'TBC', which could mean anything but is probably Coffs Harbour or something. Interestingly, Adelaide doesn't look to be repeating the Adelaide Oval experiment this year, but other clubs seem intent on becoming travelling roadshows.
- Thanks to the greater number of games and longer season, there are more midweek matches. Adelaide's home fixtures include a Tuesday night match against Perth. Bizarrely, Adelaide plays 11 home games on Friday night - it suits me fine, but surely a bit of variety wouldn't go astray?
- Thankfully, there is no Pre Season Cup. Clubs are free to play whatever friendlies they want leading up to the start of the season, without the burden of having to compete for a trophy that might as well be a Mickey Mouse figurine spraypainted silver.
I have my reservations about a few aspects of the draw, but I'm looking forward to a longer and more varied season thanks to the two new teams. A 6-team finals series is just ridiculous though. In my humble opinion, they should scrap it altogether and start up a proper FFA Cup. Enough of this madness!
I'm definitely starting to get excited about the new season, even though it's still three and a half months away. Join me, will you, in this rousing rendition of Rolling Along:
Come on boys, make some noise, we’re a team of class and poise, and our Adelaide is rolling along... etc