Monday, April 20, 2009

A-League Draw 2009-10

The t's have been crossed, the i's have been dotted, and the 2009-10 A-League draw is finally ready for public consumption. Here is is in .pdf format, off the official website:

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


Rob said...

I'm so excited for this season and the decision for us to play most of our games on Friday nights is a great move, lets respond and get the crowds down there!

Top 6 final series = stupid. It should still be top 4, but ultimately what needs to happen is we must shift our emphasis on this AFL type of final series. I believe the football going public are ready already but the FFA, footballing media and mainstream media need to start focusing on making winning the league the focus of the A-league. The current terminology of "minor premiership" is wrong because coming first over the course of the season is a big deal!

The FFA should do away with the final series and instead have a FFA League Cup that could maybe be a home and away knockout tournament throughout the season that culminates in the final at the end of the year.

What say you, Spawning?

Mike Salter said...

Completely agree about the finals series Bill...and about the pre-season cup as well (glad they've done away with that). As you say, Parra's not a bad place for a SFC home away from home, but the SCG...awful. Love it for cricket, but it'll be a dud for football.

Bill said...

Rob - yeah, 'minor premiership' is one of my pet peeves. There's nothing minor about winning the league! As far as I can recall it has always officially been called the 'premiership' by the FFA, with the 'minor' tag usually added by journos more familiar with AFL or NRL. I have heard people affiliated with the A-League use it occasionally, though...

In my view an FFA cup could easily take the place of finals matches - the last few rounds (say, the semis and the final) could take place just after the end of the league season, so we can keep that sort of 'finals fever' atmosphere that draws the crowds.

If we are to have a finals series, though, maybe six teams isn't too bad. The way it's set up, finishing in the top two is much more favourable than is the case with four-team finals, and finishing fifth or sixth will make things very difficult (you'd have to win four away games in a row to clinch the Championship). I know I've changed my tune but, looking at it a bit deeper, I'm starting to think that six is better than four finals-wise.

Nunny said...

I agree that this finals series is better than the last. It is very 1 v 2 focused.

I would also like to see the whole finals thing scraped. We should be trying to differentiate ourselves from AFL style of things as much as possible. It is a false argument that 'Australians are more used to finals'. Australians that follow the A-League are generally quite familiar with how other international leagues and cups are run.

As this is 'The world game' why are we trying to change it just for Australia?

I would also like to see clubs that perform poorly relegated, this brings interest to lower ladder games. Unfortunately I think this might be a pipe dream in Australia.