Straight from the stands

Australian Four Four Two - - CONTENTS -

Right now, I should be in OHMYGOD, IT’S THE WORLD CUP mode... and up un­til a few days ago, I was. But then the A-League semi-fi­nals hap­pened – and I fell back in love with our do­mes­tic game again. What an ab­so­lutely amaz­ing cou­ple of games that was. New­cas­tle Jet Ri­ley McGree went from hip­sters’ bolter tip for the Soc­ceroos to global fame lit­er­ally overnight. That scor­pion kick goal will be played and played and played through­out his ca­reer now. Un­less he does it again. No pres­sure though, but, you know, do it again, Ri­ley. DO IT AGAIN!!! DO IT NOW!! And then there was that epic Big Blue semi be­tween Mel­bourne Vic­tory and Syd­ney. A five goal thriller that went to ex­tra time – and Vic­tory scored ev­ery one of the goals. No-one saw that com­ing (least of all Arnie). But the nar­ra­tive of Terry An­to­nis go­ing from zero – when he scored Syd­ney’s crush­ing own goal equaliser with the last kick of nor­mal time – to hero when he scored Vic­tory’s win­ner just as the clock was run­ning down to penal­ties... If there is a god, he loves foot­ball and can write a bloody good script. And what about the drama on the side­lines with coaches get­ting red carded for slap­ping play­ers, while Syd­ney’s tre­ble dream came crash­ing down, in their last game un­der Gra­ham Arnold and their last game too at Al­lianz Sta­dium be­fore it’s razed. Then there’s the Grand Fi­nal and the sto­ry­lines that threw up. The Jets: wooden spoons last year, Cham­pi­ons this year? And 10 years on from their last Grand Fi­nal ap­pear­ance and Cham­pi­onship. Ernie Mer­rick, the coach few ex­pected to do more than re­store a lit­tle bit of stern pride to the Jets, turns his side around, over­comes ma­jor in­juries in his star play­ers and brings out the best in vet­er­ans and young­sters oth­ers had given up on. And he’s fac­ing his for­mer prodigy in Kevin Mus­cat – the man Mer­rick coached as his cap­tain at Vic­tory then groomed to take the hot seat when he left the club. We go to print be­fore the Grand Fi­nal kick off but what a way to fin­ish a sea­son that a few weeks ago seemed to be sleep­walk­ing into ir­rel­e­vance. Bring on 2018/19! Oh, but be­fore that, there’s the World Cup. We’ll be in Rus­sia and will bring you all the ac­tion from the Soc­ceroos camp ev­ery minute of the day on­line. Join us – and en­joy! Kevin Airs Edi­tor

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