A-League Round 12 kicks off tonight with the F3 derby between Newcastle Jets and the Central Coast Mariners. Newcastle Jets (9th) v Central Coast Mariners(5th) EnergyAustralia Stadium Friday October 23, kick-off 8:00pm An interesting encounter with the home side coming into the match having not won since round 4 when they toppled league leaders Gold Coast United whilst the Mariners are coming off a brilliant 3-0 away win against the Brisbane Roar.
The Jets have been somewhat unlucky in recent times but I feel it's about time their fortunes changed.
Up front they look dangerous with Labinot Haliti finding form and English import Michael Bridges having a game under his belt plus the recent performances of Tarek Elrich and Jin-Hyung song have been positive.
In the Mariners camp, things are looking solid with no injuries and the squad inclusions of Andrew Clark, Brad Porter and Ahmad Elrich giving Lawrie McKinna plenty of options.
It's an extremely tough match to call especially looking at the head-to-head record which is 6 wins to Newcastle, 5 wins to Central Coast and 7 draws form 18 meetings - clearly very even.
But for the sake of it, I will tip the home team to record a narrow win. Verdict: Jets 1-0.
Melbourne Victory (3rd) v Adelaide United (6th) Etihad Stadium Saturday 24 October, kick-off 7:00pm From a contest with an even head-to-head record to one that is severely lopsided with Melbourne Victory having won their last seven matches against Adelaide United.
In the second of this season's Grand Final rematches (round 7 saw the Victory win 2-0 in Adelaide), the Victory go into their home fixture in good form after a 3-1 away win over Newcastle last week and have Archie Thompson and Carlos Hernandez in devastating form.
However, records or more aptly, winning streaks, are meant to be broken and I'm sure the Reds will not be thinking about the Victory hoodoo whilst out on the pitch tomorrow night.
An inspiring 2-1 win at home against Sydney FC with ten men will give Aurelio Vidmar's men confidence and the chance to firmly entrench themselves in the top six should be enough incentive to see them put on a forward showing but I think the Victory have enough class for this. Verdict: Victory 2-1.
North Queensland Fury (10th) v Perth Glory (4th) Dairy Farmers Stadium Saturday 24 October, kick-off 8:00pm local (9:00pm AEDT) With still just the one win, the Fury are slowly seeing their season slip away from them.
The Glory will get back key striker Mile Sterjovski from injury but he is expected to play a role off the bench so Fury coach Ian Ferguson may go for the jugular whilst the Australian international is off the pitch.
Another tough one to pick with the Fury needing some luck to get over the line but the Glory are not in the top four by fluke and should have the talent to get a winning result. Verdict: Glory 1-0.
Wellington Phoenix (8th) v Gold coast United (1st) Westpac Stadium Sunday 25 October, kick-off 5:00pm local (3:00pm AEDT) The draw specialists up against the goalscoring specialists.
Wellington have shared the points in seven of their 10 matches this season and have just one victory to their names which doesn't bode well as they prepare for the league leaders to come to town.
On the other hand, Gold Coast have been able to fight their way back to the top of the table with two wins on the trot.
They might find their free-flowing style cut down by the Phoenix who will probably be happy to get another draw from this one but either Shane Smeltz, Jason Culina or Joel Porter are all capable of producing just one piece of magic to give the visitors a win. Verdict: Gold Coast 2-0.
Sydney FC (2nd) v Brisbane Roar (7th)Sydney Football Stadium Sunday 25 October, kick-off 5:00pm In the final game of round12, Sydney FC host the Brisbane Roar in another of the A-League's big rivalries.
The Sky Blues have been indifferent, mixing wins with losses in the past month, including a 3-0 drubbing of the Melbourne Victory in Melbourne before losing to a ten-man Adelaide outfit last week - peculiar form indeed.
In the Roar camp, things seem to be settling down with new coach Ange Postecoglou having a week with his players to assess where the club is at.
A disappointing 3-0 home loss to Central Coast last week is sure to hurt but the loss of skipper Craig Moore to suspension will hurt even more.
The visitors will definitely throw everything at Sydney but their miserly defence will be good enough to thwart any Roar advances whilst at the other end, Brisbane have been consistently leaky their back-half and Moore's absence will make more of a hole. Verdict:Sydney 2-0.