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Matt, I agree the a-league is actually getting stronger each season & catching up to Asia's biggest leagues. This season with the roar & mariners playing great. Especially the roar who in my opinion has played the best football in the a-league's short history.

I think the reason why they put the big leagues in the same half of the draw against the smaller leagues in the other half of the draw (east vs west pretty much) is so the smaller league clubs can progress through. It doesn't really do the smaller leeague clubs any good becaus the moment they come up against a bigger club form japan, korea, etc. they are beaten easily & are left wondering went went wrong.
I don't know how the group draw works in the ACL, but they should seed the top clubs, so when the groups are finished they should have 2 bigger teams & 2 smaller teams in the group. It makes the competition more interesting & fair for everyone. You don't want to knock out all the bigger clubs out within the group stage & it will also give the smaller clubs more experience & the ability to pull of an upset against a stronger club, like you see in Europe.

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