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Tribal Talking Points - A-League Round Two: Socceroos back for derby; Newcastle set to repeat; Mariners face Western Sydney battle;

With the AFL and NRL Grand Finals, and the Socceroos World Cup qualifier in Syria, over the past few weeks, the beginning of the 2017/18 A-League season flew somewhat under the radar. But last week it all kicked off, with the usual spectacle of grabbing your phone to check who that player was and where did he used to play. Now that we all feel a bit more comfortable with our new A-League bretheren, Round Two is shaping up to be a doozy. So, without further adieu, let's have a look at Tribal's Talking Points for Round Two of the A-League season.


Once they were heroes - Two fallen giants meet at Suncorp

A clash between two titans of the league, trading blows at the top of the table and looking likely to battle it out for championship glory.

If this match preview was written in previous years these might be things you'd hear about these sides. But after Brisbane's previous dominance and Adelaide's grand final victory in 15/16, both sides have fallen by the wayside a little bit.

Of the two sides, it is Brisbane who currently look the more likely to reinstate their former glory, although there has suddenly become a little bit of unrest at Suncorp.

With news that Ange Postecoglou may be stepping down from the national team post, Roar Manager John Aloisi may be tempted to put his hand up.

With potential future unrest in the Brisbane camp, paired with a very disappointing opening game performance, that return to previous championship glory looks like it may be a while off yet. They'll be desperate to stake their claim with a big win at home.


Will the Mariners bounce back in the hostile Western Sydney environment?

With a number of new faces around the camp, the Central Coast Mariners will have entered their campaign and their opening round F3 derby against Newcastle full of hope and optimism that they were in for a positive season.

After a number of disappointing years in a row, the signings of players like Alan Baro and Daniel de Silva had fans thinking that just maybe - this year could be their year. If their opening game was any indication, that will not be the case.

The Mariners were embarrassed by the Jets last weekend, as O'Donovan put a hat trick away before 45 minutes had passed, and they were put to the sword 5-1. Doesn't make for pretty reading for Mariners fans.

What defines a team is how well they can bounce back from adversity, and it is possible that with many new players the Mariners were just suffering some teething problems.

Western Sydney Wanderers away from home is a tough place to try and win back respect, however. Rest easy Mariners fans, at least you have more permanent managers than them.


Socceroos stars return for the passionate Melbourne derby

In the short time that has passed since it was inaugurated, the Melbourne Derby has generated plenty of passion and intrigue.

For this game there is plenty of interest amongst Melbourne Victory fans, as it gives their side a chance to start afresh after a false start against old rivals Sydney FC.

To help give their campaign a shot in the arm, Victory welcomes back Mark Milligan, Kosta Barbarouses, and James Troisi back into their starting lineup, with Milligan and Barbarouses making their long awaited returns after stints away from the club.

The injection of this talent and experience is sure to give Victory a massive edge, and will help them greatly in attack, an area they struggled in against Sydney.

Milligan in particular received some rough and unwarranted attention while on international duty, so Victory fans will be hoping he is at 100 percent fitness for this all important local derby.


Five-goal Newcastle look to cash in against the dire Glory defence

Ernie Merrick's Jets shocked the league last week when they went into Gosford and destroyed the Mariners 5-1. The Hunter club have become the laughing stock of the league, having not made the finals for the last seven years.

But is this all about to change? Merrick knows the competition like the back of his hand. The wily Scotsman has coached in every season since it's inception except for one and he has collected two titles with Victory along the way.

The thing that stood out most in the F3 Derby was the Jets firepower. Former Mariners striker Roy O'Donovan bagged himself a hat-trick while ex-Roar midfielder Dimi Petratos scored the goal of the round.

Encouragingly for Merrick and his players, they come up against what can only be described as an appalling defence. Perth Glory manager Kenny Lowe has somewhat prided himself on the swashbuckling, carefree style that his side display, but will they able to score six or seven because the Jets are sure they can score at least five.


Can Sydney FC get back to their 16/17 form against Wellington?

The Sky Blues might have beat Melbourne Victory last week, but it was no mirror of last year's Grand Final. Graham Arnold's side were largely outplayed in the first 45 minutes and were fortunate to be in front after Thomas Deng's own goal.

Sure, it was round one, but they will want to kick-start their campaign with a big win against the Nix on Saturday night.

Wellington are being tipped by many pundits to win the wooden spoon this season, but there spirited effort in their 1-1 draw with Adelaide United showed they won't go down without a fight.

Under new boss Darije Kalezić, Phoenix know they have nothing to lose when they come up a big club like Sydney. And that will be the test for Graham Arnold's men. They need to finish the game off quickly to cut off any hope that the Phoenix will bring with them across the Tasman.

About the author

Brodie Cowburn

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