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PLAY IT SHORT (A-LEAGUE): Enjoy Queensland AFL, A-League or NSW PL? Villa vet Heskey for Nix

TREATMENT OF QUEENSLAND FANS A DISGRACEPeople are demanding everyone be positive, but the way this Western Sydney franchise was launched just stinks. While Geoffrey Schuhkraft and Tom Tate were drumming up private financial support for Gold Coast United, this so-called heartland of Australian football couldn't produce one decent investor. In the end, Queensland football fans were twice insulted, first by the FFA's decision to shut them down, then by the make-up of Western Sydney's finances - from their coffers and the taxpayer. Aren't Queensland football fans taxpayers too? And what about all those Queensland player registration fees? What is really baffling is what has changed in just three years? From seeing the potential of the Queensland sports market and attacking it aggressively with three teams, not only are we left with one, but the FFA saw so little in it that they risked irreparable damage to the game's reputation with the way they dumped Gold Coast.The crocodile tears shed by the ex-players brigade in the Sydney press was a disgrace. They love telling us how influential they are, but when it came to actually doing something meaningful for Queensland fans, they could do sod all. The fans and the football community in Queensland deserve a lot better. Only time will tell if this has damaged the sport in the state, but with competition between all codes red-hot, last week's actions have done us no favours.

YOU'RE WELCOME AFL, ENJOY QUEENSLAND ...So what is it? The A-League? Or the NSW Premier League? The FFA need to get a grip, the game is fast shunning the rest of the country to prop up one State. It's bad enough that all opinion and reportage comes out of Sydney, but now the majority of the league's actual football is doing the same. When you see News Limited's 'Perth Now' online asking its readers if they'll support a Western Sydney soccer team, you know things are going off the rails. Fairfax is the same, having Sydney-based pundits rubbishing teams and coaches in other states. This stuff matters. An audience needs to be engaged, otherwise they lose interest. The big support enjoyed by clubs outside NSW are having the mick taken out of them by being forced fed the opinion of ex-player pundits working from remote control in Sydney. Now we have almost half the comp coming out of NSW, while the AFL does the opposite and continues to expands its code around the country.

GLORY WILL BEAT MARINERS WITH PLENTY TO SPAREPerth Glory have to fancy themselves against the Mariners this Saturday. Playing away won't faze them and the manner of their victory over Wellington Phoenix, especially having to fight back after surrendering the lead, will have the locker room buzzing. As mentioned last week, Liam Miller will only get better after another 120 minutes in the legs and now big Billy Mehmet has found his scoring touch. You always fancied the Glory on the night, they kept creating chances and were always knocking on the door. That's massive going into Saturday's playoff.The pundits (all from Sydney) will say Mariners are favourites, but its Glory and their players who go into the game flying, while the Mariners have lost back-to-back. It wouldn't surprise if Glory won it comfortably.

WELLINGTON PHOENIX SCREAMING OUT FOR HESKEYGreat attitude shown by the Nix players and coach Ricki Herbert after Saturday's heartbreaker. Instead of accepting the idea of being 'overachievers' this season, they were having none of it. The Nix left Nib stadium feeling they should've done more. It's this culture that drove them to better other more fancied teams this season.Some of the support the Nix received this season has been fantastic. They have a great base of around 10,000 fans to build from - and you just fancy the right marquee signing can get the club and the turnstiles really humming next term. There's a glaring weakness in Herbert's attack - no big centre-forward. What could Emile Heskey, of Aston Villa, do for Wellington on and off the pitch? Or what about a homecoming for Chris Killen after 18 months in China?

BOUZANIS GRABBING CHANCE AT OLDHAMFormer Liverpool goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis is winning great praise at Oldham Athletic after finally making his debut a fortnight ago. Bouzanis stepped in after fellow Aussie Alex Cisak suffered an injury. Since then, Bouzanis hasn't looked back and if it isn't to be at Boundary Park, the 21 year-old is sure to be offered a chance by a watching rival next season.

WHEN WILL VILLA'S HERD GET HIS AUSSIE CAP?Chris Herd just goes from strength to strength at Aston Villa. He's that sort of player. Give him a chance and the Aussie steps up, from his loans at Port Vale and Lincoln City, to the opening Gerard Houllier gave him last season, the boy just grabs it and doesn't look back. He has to be floating after scoring at Anfield. When are we going to see the lad in an Australia shirt?

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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