PLAY IT SHORT (A-LEAGUE): Fergie's Dogs of War, Australia don't have cattle

FERGIE'S DOGS OF WARBehind closed doors, Fergie and Stu Munro have to milk yesterday's result for all it's worth.

Behind closed doors, Fergie and Stu Munro have to milk yesterday's result for all it's worth. If ever Perth Glory have had their fuse lit in the A-League, their comeback in Melbourne was it. 'Never-say-die', 'Dogs of War', whatever they've got, the Glory management have to throw it at their players this week. The place should be hopping anyway, but Fergie needs to make the most of this result to take the players to a new level. Forget championships, it was the sort of performance clubs are built on.
Fergie deserves the credit for his supersubs - at 2-0 down and with a man less he threw on Andrezinho for the Brazilian to peg one back before his second sub Todd Howarth produced a wonder cross for Smeltz to equalise. That the Kiwi had a good piece of a later header to almost net the winner proved the Glory's domination in the end.

For all the injustice Glory suffered, it was a stunner witnessing the attitude of the players. No-one crowded the ref for Liam Miller's red, nor for the pen. The away team were really a great credit to the club and the A-League in the way they put it all behind them and just got on with things. Bas van den Brink played with passion and controlled aggression, yet at the final whistle, he was just 'matter of fact' when revealing Chris Beath had admitted he'd got the spotkick wrong. That Beath was willing to disclose this during the game - and that Glory's players didn't throw a tanty as a result - is really what we want to see from match officials and their interaction with players.

Archie Thompson was again the one bright point for Victory. He sparked Miller's dismissal and then won the pen for Melbourne's opener. Archie was the one player in Melbourne colours capable of breaking the lines and making something happen. You wonder where they'd be without him.

I enjoyed the little grenade Clint Bolton threw at the end of Melbourne Victory's collapse. It was good to finally see someone connected to the A-League have the stones to go rogue and just wind up a rival. Talking about a lack of energy and things going on behind the scenes, it was quality stuff from the Heart No1. If the Victory marketing men have their heads screwed on, they'll roll out Muscat or Thompson to respond - with a little stinger for Heart to keep things rumbling on.

Thailand are a good team: fact. The way the Aussie soccer media rubbished the win in Bangkok last week was ridiculous. The Thais have some great, marauding players which have always matched-up well when facing Australia - as they did on Tuesday. Many of the pundits keep banging on about the 4-0 Asian Cup win four years ago, but just as they did home and away this year, the Thais OUTPLAYED the Aussies that night. It was only the bigger, more powerful Aussie athletes like Beauchamp and Viduka that won the game. I won't hold my breath, but maybe it might just click for the clique that Verbeek's achievements last time around were more worthy than they dare admit.

Outside Mark Schwarzer, fact is Australia's current team doesn't boast any players competing at a top level, nor coveted by bigger clubs. Kewell, Viduka, Cahill, Bresciano, Moore the list goes on, all players who were achieving big things in the game while playing for the Socceroos. Today, there's no-one running around for Liverpool, or captaining Rangers or playing for a team like O'Leary's Leeds United.
That's not to say this current team does not have players with the 'potential' to match those of the recent past. Rhys Williams, Adam Federici and Luke Wilshere are all being linked with Premier League moves. Mile Jedinak has been outstanding for Crystal Palace and earning great reviews in the English press, then you fancy Carl Valeri and Brett Holman to find that move up that their commitment over the years ploughing away on a smaller stage deserve. 2012 could be an exciting year for several of the current team in terms of the transfer market.

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