Brisbane and Western Sydney to kick off new season
John Aloisi has been handed an interesting first assignment as Brisbane coach, in a back-tobasics A-League draw that features a Christmas Eve fixture and a test run at ANZ Stadium.
The Roar will kick off the opening round of the 201516 season against Western Sydney at Pirtek Stadium in Parramatta on October 8 — a rare Thursday night start for the competition.
But the first real blockbuster will take place the following night, when reigning champions Melbourne Victory visit Adelaide United at the alternative venue of Adelaide Oval.
Football Federation Australia has heralded a season of renewed consistency, after the Wanderers’ Asian Champions League and Club World Cup campaigns in 2014-15 severely disrupted fixtures and the side’s performance back home.
A-League boss Damien de Bohun said the new draw would cater better to those teams participating in the Asian Champions League, giving players proper rest either side of their midweek games.
That will come as welcome news to the Victory and Sydney FC, and potentially also Adelaide, if they qualify for the group stages.
“In round 27, we’ve got flexibility built in, depending on when games fall, so making sure that there’s at least a three-day break for Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC and hopefully Adelaide United,” de Bohun said.
He said there would also be no extended runs of away games, like the Newcastle Jets contended with last season.
“We’ve worked really hard to make sure there’s consistency for the fans right across the board with no more than two away games — making sure it’s a fair and equitable draw for all the clubs and there’s not too much travel.”
The summer holiday period will again be packed with onfield action, including a new Christmas Eve showdown at Pirtek Stadium between the Wanderers and Newcastle, who will embark on their first match under new coach Scott Miller. Sydney FC will also experiment with a game at ANZ Stadium for the first time since 2012-13, also against the Jets on January 9.
Central Coast Mariners have made the biggest geographical jump for a home game, hosting the Victory south of the border at Geelong’s Simonds Stadium, where the Melbourne outfit played Perth Glory last season.
This draw will also bid farewell to Sunday 3pm kick-offs in the summer heat, with the earliest Sunday match starting at 5pm (AEST/AEDT) and an increase in 7pm games. AAP
Lance Franklin of the Swans knocks down Shane Edwards of the Tigers during Friday’s clash at the SCG.