Australia: Brisbane Roar their way to Minor Premiership
The Hyundai A-League, Australia’s top flight football league, has concluded its regular season this weekend. The destiny of the Minor Premiership has been in the hands of Brisbane Roar for a few weeks already as they walked away with the regular season title by eight points from Central Coast Mariners. Now that the top six places have been decided everybody can look forward to the post-season Play-Off series in the hope of becoming Australian champions.
The undoubted success story of the season so far, Brisbane Roar have maintained their form and consistency in recent weeks even in the midst of the recent devastation that occurred in the area due to flash flooding and treacherous weather conditions which has made life difficult for everybody. Ange Postecoglou’s men won their final game of the regular season this weekend to Gold Coast United in the M1 Derby with the club reaching new heights this season. The Roar have lost only once in the 30 game regular season, that sole defeat coming in September against Melbourne Victory and the club has since gone 25 matches unbeaten which is a new Hyundai A-League record.
The rest of the weekend’s results saw Adelaide United secure third spot with a 2-1 win at home to Melbourne Victory whilst outgoing champions Sydney FC, who never really recovered from an atrocious start to the season, finished seven points outside the top six and miss out on the Play-Offs for the second time in three seasons. They ended their campaign with a 2-2 draw at expansion team Melbourne Heart who finished in a respectable eighth place in the club’s maiden season, one spot above their weekend opponents. Wellington Phoenix secured the sixth and final Play-Off place beating bottom side North Queensland Fury 3-1 in their final regular season game. Newcastle United Jets had made a recent valiant attempt at reaching the top six but fell six points short. They concluded the season in seventh place after losing 1-0 to second place Central Coast Mariners.
Brisbane can now look forward to a two-legged Qualifying semi-final against second placed Central Coast Mariners in the Play-offs, the winner of which will get home advantage in the Grand Final whilst the loser will get a second chance to reach the final in week 3 of the post-season. The teams finishing from third to sixth – namely Adelaide United, Gold Coast United, Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix – will be seeded and meet in one-leg straight knockout rounds with the one team remaining after week 2 facing off against the Qualifying round loser in week 3.
HYUNDAI A-LEAGUE PLAY-OFF DRAW
1. Central Coast Mariners v Brisbane Roar
2. Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners
Winner goes straight to final; loser plays winners of match 5
3. Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix
4. Gold Coast United v Melbourne Victory
5. Winner Match 3 v Winner Match 4
6. Brisbane Roar/Central Coast Mariners v Winner Match 5
7. Brisbane Roar/Central Coast Mariners v Winner Match 6