Patrick Wood’s opener for Sydney FC was just one of the football highlights of the weekend.Photo: Steven Markham/AAP
After all these years, it seems Australian football is no closer to where the “Peak-A-League” summit lies. Don’t know if it’s too long to look at the Peak A-Series, if the A-Series Peak looks right at you; coping and humor mask the loneliness and inability until you forget what it’s like to be normal or, daresay, competent.
Because the men’s and women’s leagues were back at it again this week, creating a series of mishaps and incidents that could only happen in Australia’s top flight.
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First, drama kit. Wellington men’s clash with Western United was delayed after the latter arrived home in only their green and black kits, prompting a mad rush to get the Nix’s yellow shirts. Second, stadium saga. The bus driver insisted the Sydney women’s side be taken to their match against Melbourne City to an empty ground in Bundoora rather than the City Football Academy more than 60km away – despite protests from players.
Then, Sydney’s Patrick Wood missed an open goal, and Western Sydney finished with nine men in their 3-3 draw with Newcastle, paving the way for coach Marko Rudan to continue his feud with football authorities and officials.
To celebrate a momentous weekend of A-League highlights – here are eight of the best from the competition’s history.
New Year’s Eve, 2018
The scene was set for this strange evening when Tomislav Mrcela swooped in and broke the post after scoring a goal that should have been disallowed, delaying the Mariners v Glory match for 40 minutes as a replacement goal was set. Then the delay was withdrawn again as the officials searched for a second replacement goal for the other side. Then the delay caused the premature New Year’s fireworks to go off in the middle of the game. Then a child with a toy gun in the stands added to the general confusion. And, this being Gosford, there was probably an osprey somewhere. To top it off, presenter and former Mariner, Daniel McBreen, was caught on a hot mic putting a succinct bow on things: “Can I say he’s representative of the Mariners these days? Fucking dogs.”
Inevitable limits, 2020
The ALM scrambled to keep its season alive as Covid descended across Australia, with the potential consequences of a significant postponement in nature. Amidst the chaos, Melbourne, Melbourne City and Western United players were whisked from their homes and given little information as they tried to cross the New South Wales border only for fog to prevent their charter flight. The following evening they tried again, only to pull the plug while their plane was on the tarmac.
Almighty treasure, 2006
Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory have always had a fierce rivalry, one that was highlighted during the 2006-07 season between John Kosmina and Kevin Muscat. Then-Adelaide coach Kosmina grabbed the then-winning skipper by the throat after he was overwhelmed by Muscat’s somewhat unnecessarily enthusiastic efforts to retrieve a ball that had rolled under his seat.
The VAR is broken! 2018
In the ninth minute of the ALM grand final, Kosta Barbarouses scored to give Melbourne a 1-0 win, a margin they would eventually beat the Newcastle Jets for a fourth title. The problem was, the goal should have been disallowed, and the replays showed a disagreement in the build-up. The VAR would have picked this up… if he was working at the time. Instead, the Novocastrians were left to dream of a world where technology worked properly for their only finals appearance in 13 years.
The numbers fall out, 2018
It may have happened in the Asian Champions League but because it involved an A-League team, it still counts. When Ceres-Negros lost to the Philippines 3-2 in an opening game, the numbers of Roar players Eric Bautheac, Jamie Young and Ivan Franjic began to dwindle. The club had to do a desperate repair job with tape. Roar went so far as to apologize for the embarrassing incident.
Quiet rule change, 2023
At some point during the last season, someone in the Australian Professional Leagues decided to replace the favorite tiebreaker on the ladder with goal difference. While it’s not an ideal change, it’s not a huge problem – it’s easy to change back next season. The problem is, whoever made the change seems to have forgotten to tell anyone Not the clubs, the players, the media, the fans, not even other people working in the APL . Ultimately it fell to eagle-eyed fans pouring over the regulation league to try and keep Wellington top of the league as the general public spoke out about the change.
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The Tuba Guy, 2021
One of the most enduring memes across the A-Leagues, Tuba Guy was the name given to a man who suddenly appeared on screen when the feed was cut off during the ALW match between Adelaide and Victory. It was in his bedroom, a click away, not to mention his newfound fame, with a tub in the background. Perhaps one of the purest displays of A-League Peak cover rage, it came after a series of broadcast errors by then broadcaster Fox Sports during the women’s games, including picture and sound on poor quality with a huge hexagon symbol superimposed on top of the film.
Pissant town, 2009
There have been a few infamous press conferences over the years – Rudan is currently doing his best to add to the legacy – but none have had the power of Aurelio Vidmar’s infamous spray towards his club and home after Adelaide United were beat 4-0. at Bua rivals. “That 4-0 result tonight was politics, nothing else. Whether you are involved directly or indirectly you have an effect. It affects everyone. Because of a pissant town, this club will never win, until you get rid of that crap.”