Home > The Straight Bat > Adrian Considers (A-League/O’Connor/Maloney/NBA + more)

Adrian Considers (A-League/O’Connor/Maloney/NBA + more)

Even Berisha is excited for the return of Adrian Considers (Source: AAP)

 

It’s been a while, but I’m back with my thoughts on a myriad of sporting topics. Let’s go!

 

A-League – must-see football        

There has been a lot of talk surrounding the A-League this season, with a strong focus on the competition rarely seen since its inception. I’ve kept a closer eye on the league this year, watching as many games as possible. But what has made it so interesting?

Is it the Brisbane Roar, and their astonishing 36-game undefeated streak? Is it the arrival of both Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton, and the profile and expectation that comes with two of Australia’s greatest players?

I’d say it’s a combination of those factors, as well as a strengthening of the competition as a whole. No longer are there any ‘weak’ sides – I don’t think any club can mark out in advance games they know for certain they will win (apart from the Roar, they just win everything). Take a look at the bottom of the ladder. Gold Coast United haven’t exactly been playing poorly, but as of late, they just can’t take a trick. In fact, only five points separate 2nd from 2nd last…

It truly has become a balanced and unpredictable competition, as seen in my poor efforts in tipping matches. For two straight weeks, I couldn’t pick a thing! (Perhaps I just suck at tipping?)

I also think the quality of international imports has gone up a level. Gone are the days of clubs signing players just because they’re from overseas, and presumably better. They’re a bit pickier now, with plenty of young local talent beginning to shine.

Let’s not kid ourselves – the A-League isn’t the EPL, but it’s still worth checking out. It has improved right across the board, and I can’t wait to see what the next round has in store.

 

H + Emmo

Speaking of the A-League, the two highest profile signings in the league’s history have had a mixed start to their time back on home soil. Both Kewell and Emerton had chances in the opening match of the season, and both have finally claimed their first goals over the last two rounds.

You might argue that they were insignificant because they were from a penalty and set piece just outside of the box respectively, but both had the nerve to convert when the lights were on bright (thanks JBL).

We haven’t seen the best of either player in the A-League quite just yet. Both were signed late in the monster off-season, and the challenge of fitting marquee players into your squad is hard enough, let alone a few weeks before Round 1. I don’t think either has found their best role in their respective sides either, especially as they’re both so versatile. Kewell can be used as a striker, out wide on the left, or as a playmaker centrally. Same deal with Emerton – on the wing, as a forward, or in the no. 10 role (although Nick Carle has that sewn up for the Sky Blues).

At any rate, they are huge for the local game and have already contributed significantly off the pitch – let’s see what they’ve got to give over the coming rounds.

 

Melbourne Victory – club in crisis?

What a difference a win makes. Let’s face it – the Victory have an embarrassment of riches, with plenty of options, especially in attack. Were expectations for the club unfeasible? Absolutely not. With the talent they have, there’s no reason why they can’t challenge for top spot. But while the results have been fine (remember, they’re third on the ladder with only one loss), I think the way they’ve gone about things has been more of an issue for fans.

Stupid challenges? Lifeless play? It was all there. But, it seems they’ve turned a corner with the win over the Gold Coast.

Props to Ante Covic and Archie Thompson – the former has returned to some of his best form in front of goal, while the later has been carrying the club in attack during this rough patch.

It was sad to see Francis Awaritefe part ways with the Victory, but the administration need to stand by their current coaching staff to ensure some stability for Australia’s biggest football club.

 

Eastern Suburbs, eat your heart out

Brisbane Roar continue to amaze me. Their style of play and determination to not just win, but win for each other, is amazing. It shows the true power of the collective. I love watching them play, and make sure I catch every game they’re involved in.

I have no idea how long their streak will continue, but they certainly don’t look like being beaten any time soon. Bring on the ACL!

 

The Brand steps up

James O’Connor had a pretty good hit out at five-eighth against the Barbarians, so let’s leave him there and see what happens… please? I’ve been critical of O’Connor in the past, but it has become clear that he’s wasted out on the wing. With Cooper out for a while, and a potentially lethal combination with Kurtley Beale at both club and national level, 2012 could be the year he truly becomes a rugby superstar in the no. 10 jersey.

That’d be good for his brand, right?

While we’re talking rugby union, Lachie Turner needs to keep his spot in the side. Don’t play him in the centres; he’s fantastic on the wing. Plenty of speed, and he knows how to finish.

 

Maloney signs with Roosters for 2013 – time for a transfer window?

Don’t get me wrong, this is a great signing (although I wish he’d made the right choice and joined Souths, but each to their own), but announcing a signing for 2013 in November, 2011? Really? Same deal with Maloney’s replacement, Thomas Leuluai, who is moving back to NZ for the 2013 season. We all know what went down with the Bulldogs and their head coach for 2013… If you’re going to sign a player or anyone, do so for the following year! I understand there are issues that mean this current arrangement must take place, but I propose an alternate arrangement.

Let’s bring a transfer window into the NRL. Two, if you like. The first would be the off season window – from the day after the grand final, right through to the end of the year (or earlier/later, whatever is agreed upon). This allows clubs to shuffle their rosters for the following season, as happens now. The second window would be a few weeks around mid-season, allowing clubs to fix up their roster for the back end of the season. Had three of your props pick up long-term injuries? Sign Player X from a club who are looking to offload a prop so as to sign a centre that they require.

This would fix one big problem many have with the current system. Fans often complain that they see Player X playing for Team Y early in the year, only for him to show up at Team Z a few rounds later. There would be a bit of this with the mid-season transfer window, but each move would be well publicised and above board, instead of the current scenario where players seem to appear all over the place without anyone knowing.

It would also create considerable interest in the game. Fans would spend weeks speculating who their club will pick up in the transfer window, who they want to see join their side, and so on. It could be exciting, with deals done on the day of the deadline that lead to premiership success.

One possible issue could be determining which players are available to trade. Should it be any player, with a transfer fee being paid for those still contracted, or just those who are uncontracted? Perhaps each club could release a list of those players they’d be willing to trade, and who they would release if the right offer came along. That would create an uncomfortable situation for those on the list that aren’t traded though… Plus transfer fees would counter the salary cap, to an extent.

It’s something to think about, anyway.

 

NBA is back

As a casual basketball fan (GO MAVS!), I haven’t really missed the NBA – I’ve had plenty of other sport to keep me occupied. But, there are those out there that have been hurting.

Until now.

They won’t have to wait long to see their favourite stars back in action, with a reduced pre-season tentatively scheduled for December, followed by the regular season starting on Christmas Day.

Now that everyone has sorted out their differences, care to throw a few million my way?

 

That’ll do me for now. Agree or disagree with anything I’ve said? Leave a comment below or catch me on Twitter – @adrmcm. I’d love to hear your take on any of the topics above. With any luck, I’ll be back next week!

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