Bris­bane and Western Syd­ney to kick off new sea­son

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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

Pic­ture: AFL Media

Lance Franklin of the Swans knocks down Shane Ed­wards of the Tigers dur­ing Fri­day’s clash at the SCG.

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