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The A-League's test

by Adam Peacock on Feb 16, 2012

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Now the test.

Now to see if this delay the season thing really worked.

In case you haven’t noticed by the breathless reporting of Josh Dugan’s tattoo count, and how quickly an AFL player can run around the ‘tan, Australia’s winter football codes start soon.

Which leaves the A League where, exactly?

The start of the season worked perfectly. The FFA could not have hoped, or got, a better start to the season, with off field chatter centred around on-field matters.

But now, as the pointy end nears, the competitors have awoken from their summer siesta.

OK, get the bad stuff out the way first...

Not helping the promotion in the big city markets is faltering big city teams. At the time of writing, Sydney, Victory and Adelaide all starting into the abyss of missing the finals – something considered completely unacceptable back in October.

Not helping is one club that seems intent on not giving a stuff about the rest of the league, or it’s fans, Gold Coast. Every family has a misfit.

But in a way, this is where the unbalanced top 6 in a 10 team helps – interest can be grasped onto longer would ordinarily happen.

The FFA is also faced with the possibility of a grand final in Wellington. Or maybe even Perth, when we could get all early 2000’s and pack out Patersons Stadium (Subiaco).

Different, yes, unexpected, yes (are the grounds booked?) but those two venues would provide an atmosphere equal to Suncorp last year, and hopefully the drama will be befitting of the stage again.

The Champions League starts, giving another point of difference to AFL and NRL, whose competitions also double as world championships, and Super Rugby.

Harry Kewell finally plays where he grew up – Sydney. March 10, SFS, Sydney v Victory. The FFA needs to pump up this fixture, and not hope Harry alone will sell tickets. Across town that night, the Bulldogs play St George Illawarra in an NRL blockbuster.

The NRL, AFL and ARU will do it’s best to divert attention. Why not? Don’t get all cynical about it – why should they give another code a free kick? Blub, blub, blub, the usual cries of derision will surface when they make life difficult. You reckon Pepsi get any free kicks from Coke?

The overriding factor needs to be this – look in the mirror. The zits of a few seasons just gone are clearing up - Crowds are up. The bed-head is starting to not look so unkempt - the standard is up.

The game has to back itself.

It has no other option.