Di­verse mix makes for ex­cit­ing sea­son ahead

Sunday Mail - - SPORT WELLINGTON PHOENIX ADELAIDE UNITED V - JOHN KOSMINA

SEA­SON 13 — lucky for some, maybe not so for oth­ers. What is the fate of Ade­laide United? The gen­eral con­sen­sus is the Reds will be chal­leng­ing for glory six months from now. My Fox Sports com­pan­ion, Mark Bos­nich, has even tipped them for the premier­ship.

I won’t go quite that far but I do think fi­nals are on the radar. Why? Be­cause they have re­cruited well. Why not the premier­ship? Be­cause all clubs have re­cruited well.

If one thing re­ally stands out for me about the sea­son ahead, it’s the di­verse range of play­ers that will be on dis­play. South Amer­i­cans, Spa­niards, Dutch, Pol­ish, Ser­bian, Croa­t­ian, Ger­man, Al­ge­rian, Dan­ish, Greek, Ital­ian and even a good, old-fash­ioned Brit in Ross Mc­Cor­mack at Mel­bourne City.

It’s a real pot­pourri of football cul­tures and when you throw in a lot of qual­ity Aussie guys, we’ve got plenty to look for­ward to.

It re­minds me of grow­ing up in Ade­laide, es­pe­cially the Pol­ish play­ers. All the old-timers read­ing this will re­mem­ber the great in­ter­na­tion­als Polo­nia (now Croy­don Kings) brought out in the 1960s and 70s. They and the im­ports at the other clubs added so much qual­ity to the lo­cal game and were in­stru­men­tal in teach­ing a lot of play­ers the nu­ances of the game.

But back to United — on pa­per they have a very bal­anced squad. Much more so than last sea­son al­though I will say I feel they lack a bit of depth across the back.

Pro­vided they can stay fit, the Reds will be con­tenders.

They kick off with a tough road trip to Welling­ton for this af­ter­noon’s game, then a short turn­around for Bris­bane on Fri­day. It is im­por­tant to get some­thing out of to­day’s match — even a point, and it’s a good time to get the Roar af­ter a lack­lus­tre per­for­mance in Mel­bourne on Fri­day night and in­juries to key play­ers.

The trip across the Tas­man is bet­ter to get out of the road now. On pre-sea­son form Ade­laide has to be favourite.

The premier­ship is Syd­ney FC’s to lose and the grand fi­nal, given the abun­dance of qual­ity across all squads, may just be won this sea­son by a team from out­side the top two.

To mat­ters more press­ing — the Soc­ceroos and World Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

Not go­ing to Rus­sia would cost the game in Aus­tralia $12 mil­lion — a very ex­pen­sive fail­ure to say the least. And that doesn’t con­sider what has been in­vested to date, so a win against Syria on Tues­day night is im­per­a­tive to keep our hopes alive. I don’t care if we win pretty or fight an ugly, dour bat­tle as long as we win.

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