The media promotion campaign for the new A-League season finally kicked into gear during the week with a major good news announcement being that the ABC will be the free to air broadcaster of A-League matches, W-League matches, Socceroos and Matildas matches over the next two years. The ABC will broadcast one A-League and one W-League match each round as well as the finals series.
This week Neos Kosmos continues its two part A-League season preview.
Last Season: 7th
Coach: Ernie Merrick
Captain: Nigel Boogaard
The Jets failed to fire last season after the promise of having made the grand final in 2017/18. Roy O’Donovan’s lengthy suspension robbed the Jets of firepower in the first half of the season. The team has lost O’Donovan to the Roar this season, and has also lost exciting striker Joel Champness to a music career. Playmaker Ronald Vargas has also departed whilst they’ve suffered pre-season injury blows to key offensive players Wes Hoolahan and Kaine Sherpherd. Notable additions to this year’s squad are Panamanian international forward Abdiel Arroyo, who Jets fans hope can form a fruitful partnership with the likes of Dimi Petratos, one of three Petratos clan members in the squad.
Goalkeepers: Keegan Hughes, Lewis Italiano, Noah James, Glen Moss
Defenders: Nigel Boogaard, Jason Hoffman, Lachlan Jackson, Johnny Koutroumbis, Patrick Langlois, Nikolai Torpor-Stanley
Midfielders: Ryan Goodhew, Wes Hoolahan, Benjamin Kantarovski, Matthew Millar, Kosta Petratos, Matthew Ridenton, Jack Simmons, Angus Thurgate, Steven Ugarkovic
Forwards: Abdiel Arroyo, Nick Fitzgerald, Dimitri Petratos, Yerasimakis Petratos, Kaine Sheppard
Last Season: 1st – beaten Grand Finalist
Coach: Tony Popovic
Captain: Diego Castro
Following a wonderful season last season, in which they were the benchmark team, the expectations on coach Popovic’s Glory will be justifiably high. They’ve picked up a potential star forward Bruno Fornaroli after the departure of Andy Keogh, and how Fornaroli fits in and combines with Chris Ikonomidis and Diego Castro up front, could determine how the Glory fare this season. It will be interesting to see how Fornaroli adapts to the coach Popovic’s preferred system and whether the coach changes the formation from last year’s three central defenders and attacking wingbacks. One of those wing-backs Jason Davidson has departed along with another key defender Shane Lowry. Socceroos full back James Meredith and Swiss central defender Gregory Wuthrich have come into the team. Glory’s depth will be tested as they fight a campaign on two fronts, the A-League and Asian Champions League.
Goalkeepers: Liam Reddy, Tando Velaphi
Defenders: Gregory Wuthrich, Matthew Spiranovic, Alex Grant, Tomislav Mrcela, Dino Djulbic, James Meredith, Ivan Franjic, Dane Ingham, Jacob Tratt, Soo-Beom Kim
Midfielders: Osama Malik, Neil Kilkenny, Juande, Brandon Wilson, Jake Brimmer.
Forwards: Gabriel Popovic, Chris Ikonomidis, Diego Castro, Joel Chianese, Chris Harold, Bruno Fornaroli, Nicholas D’Agostino.
Prediction: Top two finish
READ MORE: Part 1: 15th A-League season preview
Last season: 2nd (Grand Final Winners)
Coach: Steve Corica
Captain: Alex Wilkinson
If anything, the champions look to have strengthened their squad with the additions of proven A-League performers, forward Kostas Barbarouses (Victory), and midfielders Alex Baumjohan (WSW) and Luke Brattan (Melbourne City) making up for the loss of retired skipper Alex Brosque and Siem de Jong. The prospect of twin playmakers Baumjohan and Milos Ninkovic playing in tandem is an exciting one for Sky Blues fans. Winning back to back A-League Championship may be a tall order for the Sky Blues particularly in a season in which they’ll be competing in the Asian Champions league. But then again, that didn’t stop their championship push last season.
Goalkeepers: Thomas Heward-Belle, Andrew Redmayne
Defenders: Patrick Flottman, Rhyan Grant, Joel King, Ryan McGowan, Harry Van der Saag, Ben Warland, Alex Wilkinson, Michael Zullo
Midfielders: Alexander Baumjohann, Luke Brattan, Anthony Caceres, Milos Ninkovic, Brandon O’Neill, Paulo Retre, Ryan Teague, Chris Zuvela
Forwards: Kosta Barbarouses, Trent Buhagiar, Luke Ivanovic, Adam Le Fondre, Marco Tilio
Prediction: Top four finish
Last Season: 6th
Coach: Ufuk Talay
Captain: Steve Taylor
Phoenix defied the pundits’ predictions last season under newly appointed coach Mark Rudan to reach the finals. Can it repeat that feat with another new coach and former team mate of Rudan, the first timer Ufuk Talay? Talay, who has coached Australian youth teams and cites Ange Postecoglou as a mentor, has focused on young talent in rebuilding his squad which has 14 new players and an average age of just 23.6 years, one of the youngest in the competition. Phoenix will be without the firepower of Roy Krishna, David Williams and Sarpreet Singh and will also miss experienced defender Andrew Durante, and keeper Filip Kurto. Wingback Liberato Cacace, Mexican playmaker Ulises Davila and Matti Stienmann could be the players to make an impact this season.
Goalkeepers: Stefan Marinovic, Oliver Sail
Defenders: Luke DeVere, Louis Fenton, Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi, Liam McGing, Walter Scott, Steven Taylor, Liberato Cacace
Midfielders: Cameron Devlin, Ulises Dávila, Callan Elliot, Tim Payne, Alex Rufer, Matti Stienmann
Attackers: David Ball, Callum McCowatt, Jausha Sotiro, Ben Waine
Prediction: Bottom two
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS
Last Season: 8th
Coach: Markus Babbel
Captain: Mitchell Duke
The big question for the Wanderers this season is can they return from the barren wilderness of recent seasons, in their first season at their new state of the art, purpose built Bankwest Arena in their western suburbs heartland? Coach Babbel has tried to address the defensive problems of last season with his recruitment of keeper Daniel Lopar, full back Daniel Georgievski and Socceroo defenders Matt Jurman and Dylan McGowan. Fans will be eager to see if new signing, former Bundesliga Golden Boot winner Alexander Meier can fire the team with his goals. Swiss midfielder Pirmin Schwegler is another new signing, whilst the team has suffered a pre-season injury blow to its midfield with the loss to a long term injury of experienced Polish playmaker Radoslaw Majewski.
Goalkeepers: Vedran Janjetovic, Daniel Lopar, Nicholas Suman, Danijel Nizic
Defenders: Mathieu Cordier, Tarek Elrich, Daniel Georgievski, Matthew Jurman, Dylan McGowan (VC), Tass Mourdoukoutas, Tate Russell, Daniel Wilmering, Patrick Ziegler
Midfielders: Keanu Baccus, Kosta Grozos, Radoslaw Majewski, Fabian Monge, Jordan O’Doherty, Pirmin Schwegler, Nick Sullivan
Forwards: Mohamed Adam, Mitchell Duke (C), Bruce Kamau, Alexander Meier, Kwame Yeboah
Last Season: N/A
Coach: Mark Rudan
Captain: Alessandro Diamanti
For the A-League’s freshly minted club, coach Mark Rudan heads a squad comprising a mix of home grown young talent together with experienced European veterans including striker Scott McDonald. He’ll be joined in attack by proven A-League goal scorer Besart Berisha and exciting young talents Connor Pain, Apostolos Stamatelopoulous and Valentino Yuel.
Former Sydney Olympic and Phoenix midfielder Max Burgess, joins European internationals Alessandro Diamanti and Panagiotis Kone in the middle of the park. If some of its older key players can remain injury free and provide on field leadership, the team may be able to make an immediate impact on the competition, which will help the club fast track its attempts to build a strong club culture and identity with fans in the western suburbs.
Goalkeepers: James Delianov, Filip Kurto
Defenders: Johathan Aspropotamitis, Aaron Calver, Andrew Durante, Ersan Gülüm, Brendan Hamill, Dylan Pierias, Josh Risdon, Ivan Vujica
Midfielders: Max Burgess, Joshua Cavallo, Connor Chapman, Alessandro Diamanti, Thiel Iradukunda, Dario Jertec, Panagiotis Kone, Sebastian Pasquali
Forwards: Besart Berisha, Scott McDonald, Connor Pain, Apostolos Stamatelopoulous, Valentino Yuel
Prediction: Lower half of Table