The A-League reaches Week 19 this weekend, with the Central Coast Mariners sitting safe on top of the table despite a 2-0 defeat by Ange Postecoglou’s Brisbane Roar last weekend.

The Mariners find themselves being in the ironic position of leading the league comfortably despite being unable to pay all of their players or coach Graeme Arnold. The Mariners were the visitors to Melbourne for last night’s opening fixture of the round. Victory’s form this season has been so poor that many have started referring to the club as Melbourne Draw, and it’s hard to see a turnaround in form big enough to overcome the runaway table toppers.

Behind the Mariners, Wellington Phoenix, Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory can all feel a degree of finals confidence, with the real fun this weekend coming in the chase for the final two finals berths. Everyone from Heart in 5th to Adelaide in 9th will feel they are still in with a chance if they string a couple of good results together in the final run in.

Saturday’s games see Melbourne Heart go to Newcastle and Sydney entertain the in form Perth Glory.

Heart were the better side in last week’s derby match, but were unable to put the ball in the net against their neighbours. Newcastle, meanwhile, put five past their NSW rivals from Sydney in a devastating performance which indicated that Gary van Egmond’s long term goals to create a passing, possession based side, may bear fruit. John van ‘t Schip’s side already have the passing style that van Egmond is seeking but their recent form has them drifting away from the top of the table. The red half of Melbourne will be hoping for a reversal of form to secure that top six place.

Sydney, having shipped five against the Jets, will be nervous ahead of their game with Glory who knocked four past the Gold Coast last weekend in one of their easier games of this season.

On Sunday, Gold Coast take on Adelaide Utd in front of 28,000 empty seats in Queensland whilst neighbours Brisbane Roar travel across the Tasman to face Wellington Phoenix. Phoenix are in the best form of their A-League history, sitting second on the table, and now questioning whether they should be allowed to participate in the Asian Champions League should they (an Oceanic side) finish in one of the qualifying positions. Roar returned to form with their win at Gosford last week and will be looking to continue this week as they battle to claim second at the least.