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PLAY IT SHORT (A-LEAGUE): Standing ovation for Kewell's miss, Cole back in A-League, Kosmina can stop Adelaide doing a Glory

HARRY'S STANDING OVATION FOR A MISSFor all the carry on off the pitch, Harry Kewell has to happy he chose to play for Melbourne Victory's fans after their standing ovation - for a miss - yesterday. Only Victory fans would get to their feet to applaud one of their own after he'd ballooned a strike high over the bar. The Victory fans were desperate for 'H' to break his duck from open play and his EFFORT in beating one, two, three tackles before his miss was appreciated by everyone at AAMI Park. Amazing show of passion from both the player and the support.

MELBOURNE'S LOSS SYDNEY'S SIX-YEAR GAINGreat to see Gary Cole's six years at Melbourne Victory not lost to the A-League. By his own admission, Cole learned on the run as football director of Victory and that six years of experience will now go to Sydney FC. The Sky Blues can now tap into Cole's network which brought Costa Rica internationals and Brazilians like Fred to the A-League. You then consider his willingness to spread the local net wide to grab the likes of Kruse, Langerak, Ryall and Leijer from outside of Melbourne and you can see what a travesty it would've been if Cole had been lost to the A-League. Hilarious to see some in the Sydney clique complain about Cole's tetchy relationship with the media. Dear-oh-dear, people should be in their jobs because they're the best available, not because of an ability to cosy up to soccer reporters.

Great also to see Ernie Merrick back in work as Hong Kong coach. Fantastic to see guys like Merrick and Lawrie McKinna working across Asia, while their younger rivals, with higher profiles, sit and wait for local jobs instead of hustling and making things happen for themselves.

ONLY KOSMINA CAN PREVENT ADELAIDE DOING A GLORYIt was inevitable if Rini Coolen was to make way, Kosmina would take charge. The owners at Adelaide United would've been desperate for some unity and a re-connection with fans - and there's few others in the town capable of pulling it off than Kosmina. He's come in with plenty of bluster, taking shots at Coolen in the process, which is always good to hear. But if it doesn't happen, he also knows he won't be taken to task by a friendly media as Coolen would if the shoe was on the other foot. For Coolen, it's difficult to understand a board that gives a coach a long-term contract, then gets rid when things aren't working with the players. Which even makes the Kosmina appointment more crucial. Another personality and you wonder if they'd go the same way as Perth Glory in the aftermath of Steve McMahon's demise.

WARD ROLLS BACK YEARS FOR NIXSpeaking of McMahon, delighted seeing Nick Ward return to his best against Brisbane Roar. That late goal, the run from deep in midfield, was a reminder of what Ward is capable of. At the Glory, it was McMahon who ignored advice of locals and signed Ward, drove him into the ground in preseason and turned him from a so-so striker into an outstanding box-to-box midfielder. That long first preseason had Ward in the best shape of his career and his lung busting performances eventually persuaded John Gregory to sign him for QPR. The manner of last week's goal for the Nix was Ward back to his best. This column doesn't believe he's still as strong as that first A-League season (he was struggling yesterday in Melbourne), but that Roar goal was a reminder of what he is capable of.

ZAHRA ON TRACK FOR EMOTIONAL HEART RETURNMelbourne Heart could be in line for an emotional boost next year with Adrian Zahra's return. Zahra is now seeing action for the Heart's youth team and skipper Matt Thompson tipped him for a return before season's end on SEN last night. It could be the emotional boost Heart can lean on going into the finals.Disappointing to hear John van't Schip talking about 'going under the radar' after their win at Perth Glory. With the Big Bash at full throttle, surely local football clubs need their clubs to be doing all they can to generate media space?

VILLA HELPS HERD JOIN MILLIONAIRES CLUBTerrific to see Chris Herd earn his new four-year deal at Aston Villa. The Perth lad is now an instant millionaire - which looked miles away before Gerard Houllier took charge last season. It was the Frenchman who gave Herd his chance - and the boy hasn't looked back. Villa manager Alex McLeish says he now is an example for his academy pros - which include fellow Aussie Reece Caira, who was blocked by the FFA from signing for the Villans before this season and has tasted action in the celebrated NextGen series.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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