Four Four Two
Straight from the dugout
There's an amazing month of football ahead here in Australia. The A-League reaches its peak with the showpiece Grand Final, very swiftly followed by the star-studded visits of Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea. With Perth Glory's salary cap rort costing them a spot in the finals (and a hefty fine), the battle for the dunny seat will be intense. As we go to press, all six teams are still in the running but few could deny the top four's claim for the title. Melbourne Victory have been a force of nature this season. Their attacking might has been a pleasure to watch as they tore rivals apart. While the defence often looked shaky – especially while Delpierre was out injured mid season – the breathtaking strikeforce of Berisha, Barbarouses, Archie, Finkler and Khalfallah brought home the points to be worthy Premiers. Sydney's mid-season revival under Arnie post-Asian Cup came just too late to nick the Premier's Plate from Victory – but with a full roster, injury-free next year, it would be a brave man who bets against them. Meanwhile Adelaide, although inconsistent, were football dynamite when they hit their straps. Gombau's Spanish quartet plus Argentinean Carrusca brought Latin flair, bolstered by local talent, not least Tarek Elrich who showed his own South American skills with his Maradona-esque run down the wing to score in the final round. And finally Ernie Merrick – the most successful coach in the A-League – proved he's still got it by transforming the fortunes of Wellington Phoenix with a stellar season, aided by a reborn Burns, inspired by the assists of McGlinchey. Meanwhile Brisbane Roar left it late to sneak in, but showed great hope for the future with the next gen of stars they're bringing through like Clut and Borello, while Melbourne City relied on Aaron Mooy to do it all after Duff's injury. Whichever way it goes, a great Grand Final lies in store (if the FFA can find a venue!) For Sydney though, the fun just carries on even after the final whistle. Facing the stars of Spurs and Chelsea in quick succession will be a massive treat for their players – and fans across the country will head to ANZ Stadium to soak it up. Get in the mood with our lengthy chat with Harry Kane... and I'll see you at the games – get in!