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A-LEAGUE PRESS REWIND - ROUND 8: Merrick inspiring Newcastle; Red cards & goals galore; Milligan loses the plot;

Just in case you missed it, here is everything of importance from the A-League Round 8 in Tribalfootball's Press Rewind.


The Good

While I'm sure there's plenty that went wrong this round, one thing that a lot of people will fail to see, in amongst the muck, is the quality. Say what you want about the politics and off field mess of our league, but we saw 20 goals this round.

Think about it. 20 goals across 5 games, averages 4 goals a game, whichever way you slice that pie will still be delicious. And they say football is a boring sport. The goals we saw ranged from individual brilliance and selfless team play to simple yet clinical finishing.

It's not much to go by, but I'll stand by the A-League until the cows come home. There's plenty of good in this league, we just need to bring it to the light.

Chris Sermeno



The Bad

32-year-old Mark Milligan is a well-respected member of the football community, and a role model to many, including his two daughters, Maya and Audrey.

This is why the incident that happened on Thursday night is such a disappointment.

On Thursday night, during Melbourne Victory's match against Newcastle Jets, Milligan was tackled badly by ex-teammate, Daniel Georgievski. Referee Steven Lucas was quick to deal with this situation, swiftly handing Georgievski a yellow card.

Yet, Milligan took things into his own hands and attempted to headbutt Georgievski before grabbing his neck. Milligan was given a straight red for this inappropriate behaviour.

This behaviour is completely unacceptable for anyone, especially someone who has been playing since 2002, when he played for Northern Spirit, and is a leader to this community. Milligan knows better than this.

Milligan, who has represented Australia 103 times, and been captain for nine of those times, as well as Melbourne Victory captain from 2013- 2015, should be ashamed of his behaviour on Thursday night.

Milligan should use his one week ban to think about his complete stupidity, and ensure he never acts so poorly disciplined again, as his attitude can have a profound effect on both the style of play of players who look up to him and the respect they have for his leadership.

Mikaela Pratt



The Ugly

Avraam Papadopoulos. What in the world were you thinking? This weekend has been marred by a slew of disciplinary related controversies, none more prominent than the Brisbane Roar defender's despicable brain fade.

The act of spitting at another player is something that has no place in football. His actions were disgraceful, and a lengthy suspension would be completely justified, so as to deter other players from thinking they can get away with something like this too.

The whole incident was worsened as Sydney's Matt Simon reacted badly and retaliated, seeing himself sent off as well. All in all it makes for a bad day for the A-League, and very uncomfortable reading. This is the second incident Matt Simon was involved in during the week, after he earlier jumped to the defence of a ball boy in the FFA Cup final. Never a dull moment in the life of Matt Simon.

Not pretty stuff.

Brodie Cowburn




Who's Hot

You might be forgiven for thinking you'd jumped into a time warp that has sent you 10 years into the past, but here goes. Ernie Merrick. So hot right now.

The new man at the helm at the Newcastle Jets has gotten things off to an absolutely cracking start, with the sides' scintillating goalscoring form impressing all who have bared witness to it.

After a rocky tenure at the Wellington Phoenix, Merrick has proved his doubters wrong, and shown he has more than a few tricks hidden up his sleeve with his brand of attacking football.

A massive 4-1 thumping of a miserable Milligan-less Melbourne Victory was perhaps their greatest and most complete performance to date. If this form keeps up, they'll be a very difficult side to outscore come the end of the season.

Ernie Merrick has fast become the hottest commodity in the A-League this season.

2007 called, they want their headline back.

Brodie Cowburn



Who's Not

Mark Milligan, Osama Malik, Avraam Papadopoulos, Matt Simon, Robert Cornthwaite and Ben Garrucio all have one thing in common this round, they all received red cards.

Six red cards in five games, and the VAR (video- assistant referee) used in all but one of these decisions.

It was a round of very poor discipline in the a- league, with two studs up challenges, two serious unsporting conduct and one disgraceful spitting incident; not only did the players behave poorly but, Perth Glory coach, Kenny Lowe, was awarded the first ever yellow card to be given to a coach.

Five of the players have since been hit with the minimum one week ban only, excluding Papadopoulos who has been referred to the Independent Disciplinary & Ethics Committee for the spitting incident.

Watch all six red card incidents below:

https://www.a-league.com.au/video/ffa271117halmomentsoftheroundround8seeingred

This round has well and truly raised the controversy of the VAR system to the forefront again, with Peter Green the only referee not to use it this round.

Not only does the VAR system question a referee's accuracy, it stagnates play which frustrates players.

The controversy of the VAR system will continue in the coming rounds, but it's impact on this round will surely be remembered.

Mikaela Pratt



Goal of the Week

It's hard to argue some goals. As mentioned earlier, the goals were aplenty to choose from, and some stood out above the rest as solid contention.

But this week's goal of the week simply has to go to the plucky Kosta Barbarouses. Much like his struggling Victory teammates, Kosta hasn't found the back of the net much this season, but boy did he do it in style this week.

The sweeping counter attack delivered Kosta a perfectly weighted lobbed pass, was finished with a deadly, first time effort from outside the box. Between you and I, it's reminiscent of Tim Cahill's wonder goal at the 2014 World Cup.

Sure, not the same magnitude, but compare the goals and tell me they aren't similar?

Excellent effort despite the dismal result for his club.

Chris Sermeno


About the author

Tribal Football Staff

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