A-League season reviews - North Queensland Fury
A 7th-place finish was not such a bad result but at times they were diabolical in defence and too often opposing attacks cut them up.
Check back next week for the first two teams to be knocked out of the finals race.
Record: Wins – 8; Draws – 8; Losses – 11; Points – 32
Top goalscorer: Robbie Fowler (9)
What went wrong? The Fury had the leakiest defence in the league and was the second lightest team for goals scored which is bound to make life difficult.
A disastrous start with three losses to kick off their time in the A-League, conceding nine goals in those matches and a massive turnover of players were the catalysts for their seventh-place finish.
What went right? The crowds were brilliant and the response to their away games due to the Robbie Fowler influence was massive for the fledgling club.
Many critics had the Fury to hold up the table but to finish three places above that was a massive positive.
tribalfootball.com’s Player of the Year: Usually there is a stand out player at a club but in the case of the Fury there were many players who performed well at different stages of the season. Robbie Fowler was brilliant early, left-back Chris Tadrosse was handy late, Matthew Smith made an impact in central defence when he joined the team, Dyron Daal was important after he signed permanently, David Williams earned a Socceroos call-up and Rostyn Griffiths was solid in midfield and defence.
Unfortunately these players were too inconsistent which made results consistently average.
Crowds: Home average – 6699. Biggest – 8897 (Rd 1 v Syd) Lowest – 4156 (Rd 25 vs. NJ) With a population of just 160,000, the Fury attracted brilliant crowds to Dairy Farmers Stadium. Per capita they had the best crowds in the entire league and can continue in this vein next season if they hold on to Fowler and begin to create a winning culture around the place.
The coach: Ian Ferguson. The Fury coach probably surpassed expectations so you can say Ferguson did a good job overall, but at times, moves he made were perplexing and the off-field disagreement with Fowler got tongues wagging.
Surprises: The signing of Michael Marrone from Adelaide United was a big surprise but has shown to be a clever move as he was selected for the Australia squad for next month’s Asian Cup qualifier after a great end to the season with the Reds.
How much the Townsville public took to the new team and supported them throughout a campaign that produced eight wins from 27 matches and saw them leak goals on a regular occasion.
Disappointments: A high turnover of players was a major disappointment and at times the coaching was questionable with too many changes of tactics and personnel on the park.
The fact that midfielder Terry Cooke was not used much was disappointing as when he played full matches he showed what he is capable of with pinpoint crosses and the ability to hold the ball up in the centre of the pitch.
Where to from here? A good horse racing parlance can be used for the Fury – ‘They will be better for the run’. This suits them to the ground and the club can only get better after experiencing the rough and tumble of the A-League.
A big pre-season is required and a stable squad would be ideal – as would keeping Fowler for at least another year.