Coast chaos, Twitter fires coach, Moon dismissed
Another six games are in the books, and the race for the finals is starting to heat up in this wonderful league.
Here are your A-League Round 18 talking points.
Chaos on the Coast
Refereeing has been a hot topic this season – when isn’t it? – and the officialdom again came under fire after a dramatic 1-1 draw between Central Coast and Wellington at Industree Group Stadium on Friday.
Jack Morgan dispensed three red cards on the night, sending Moresche and Brian Kaltack for early showers, with Mariners boss Nick Montgomery dismissed from the technical area. Down to 10 men for the final 30 minutes after taking an early lead, Central Coast were eventually pegged back by Oskar Zawada’s scrappy effort deep into injury time.
I’ve looked at the Kaltack red card more than a dozen times, and yet I still cannot comprehend why the big Vanuatuan centre-half was sent off.
On Moresche’s, there’s no argument from me. The initial attempt to pick Scott Wootton’s nose with some kind of finger-gun gesture was just weird, but the slapping motion (as soft as the contact was) is unacceptable. You just can’t raise your hands to an opponent’s face like that and expect to stay on the field – it’s been that way for a long time.
Sound off in the comments if you saw something different to what I did.
Anti-climactic end to Zadkovich soap opera
Earlier this week Sokkah Twitter lit up with rumours that an A-League coach had assaulted one of his players during a game of five-a-side at training. Too many so-called “insiders” had their usual “multiple sources” telling them about these substantial allegations that would spell the immediate end of one coach’s tenure.
Before long Perth Glory manager Ruben Zadkovich was indentified as the man at the centre of the brouhaha. As it turns out, there was indeed a five-a-side game and Zadkovich, the youngest head coach in the league, did participate but there was nothing serious between him and Giordano Colli, just an innocuous collision. Talk about a mountain out of a molehill, or morons on Twitter cosplaying as reporters.
I’ve mentioned it before but since we’re on the topic of the 36-year-old, let’s give him some credit for outperforming bigger clubs with much better rosters. Perth don’t really have any right to be as competitive as they are, still in the hunt for a top-six berth 18 rounds in.
In other coaching news, the curtain was drawn on Warren Moon’s time in charge of Brisbane Roar. Moon first took the reins in July 2020, leading Roar to fourth and 11th-placed finishes in his two full seasons, and with the club sitting rock bottom at the time of his firing it’s hard to feel too much sympathy.
Coaching is just one facet of the mess Brisbane now find themselves in. For the sake of their loyal fans, hopefully things start looking up soon, because it’s hard to watch the once-proud club sink further and further into the abyss.
Pride Round: APL can do something right after all
There’s been a lot coming from head office this season worthy of criticism, and I’ve been as critical as anyone, so it’s only fair to praise the APL when they eventually do something well.
Round 18 was Pride Round, with rainbows everywhere from the steps of AAMI Park, the Paramount+ watermark on match broadcasts and the cresting on players’ jerseys. Whether or not you think sport and politics should mix, that ship has sailed and if we’re going to have this kind of celebration, it should be done properly.
Pride celebrations are not about obnoxious self-promotion. They’re important for the people in society who still feel marginalised, who don’t see themselves represented in sport and culture, who might struggle with their identity and need all the reassurance they can get.
Credit where it’s due – the APL have got it right this time, and I’m sure we will see the Pride Round back again next season.
Irankunda shows what he’s capable of
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Adelaide United’s mercurial talent Nestor Irankunda is only 17 years of age. In a similar vein to Garang Kuol, it’s also hard not to get excited about the potential this kid has.
Trailing 1-0 late in the latest installment of The Original Rivalry on Sunday, Carl Veart was looking for a spark. As he received the ball on the edge of the area, there was only one thing on Irankunda’s mind.
There have been reports of the youngster’s lack of discipline this season, which is something he will need to work on, but his age is surely a mitigating factor, as he’s still learning how to be a pro day in and day out. When he works that part out, who knows how good Irankunda will be? For now, let’s just enjoy his brilliance and not get too carried away.