Monday, January 21, 2013

January transfer window round up #3

As always with my sports articles this was written for and can also be found at but you get to see it here first

Well its been another busy week in the wonderful world of January transfers, especially here in Brisbane.

The Roar have bid farewell to midfielder Erik Paartalu who has been transferred to Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda.  Last week’s young signings Corey Brown and Julius Davis both made their A-League debut’s on Sunday from the bench. Brown had previous made his 1st team debut in the Asian Champions league.  The Roar’s other signing Jade North was unavailable for selection due to match fitness.  Meanwhile it has been reported that Mike Mulvey has had a falling out with Nick Fitzgerald and has demoted him to play out his contract in the youth league.  The Mariners have asked for him early but this request has been denied.

Adelaide United have released journeyman Sergio van Dijk, and he is believed to be in Indonesia where he is coming to terms with an Indonesian squad.

For the Mariners golden boy Tom Rojic will not return this season having signed with Celtic, rejecting the offer from QPR.  Bernie Ibini is expected return from Belgium for Friday’s match against Adelaide, I have not heard anything on the grapevine about him landing a contract with Club Brugge.

The Victory are bringing home local product Francesco Stella signing him from Rangers.

The Jets have signed Andrew Hoole from their youth league squad, and have let Tiago Calvano head down the highway to Sydney FC.

Sydney FC had a cracking weekend with signing Joel Griffith scoring on debut, and as mentioned about Calvano also played an important role in the 7-1 thrashing of the Nix.

The Nix did not play new signing Hogg, neither did the Wanderers with Visconte.

There are several overseas based Aussie and Kiwis looking out on the market with Tommy Oar being courted by several clubs, while rumours abound today that former Roar skipper Matt McKay is being transferred to an unnamed Chinese team by his Korean side.

Time will tell if these rumours come to a head or if any other players transfer in the European or American markets, and who else will be signed to the A-League with a few clubs still looking out for players to fill holes in their rosters, with the Roar still looking for a striker to compliment Berisha and with a visa spot up for grabs.

Mmmmm coat of arms (*Drools*)

The advertisement for the burger on the Grill'd website
Grill'd have set Patriots and Monarchists off with their new special offering for Australia Day, the Coat of Arms burger.

Most people will know that Australians are one of the only if not the only country in the world that eats all the  symbols on its coat of arms, and Grill'd have seized on this and created the coat of arms burger, with a patty of 80% Kangaroo and 3% Emu meat.

The burger is a very limited edition on offer for the period of January 19th-31st and only available in one location per state, limited to 50 burgers per day.

Strangely enough I stumbled upon this story on New Zealand newspaper The New Zealand Herald's website and have yet to see it anywhere in the Australian media.

  The burger has been slammed by the Australian Monarchist League's chairman Phillip Benwell, who took issue with the use of Australia's coat of arms.
"The coat of arms represents a nation and using it in a marketing campaign rather
demeans the coat of arms and ridicules it," he said.
Looking at the Grill'd website reveals not only is the meat patty made from the national icons, but the rest of the filling is uniquely Australian.  It contains Quandong, Bush Tomato Relish, Caramlised Onions,  Native Thyme Mayo, Meridth Dairy Goats Cheese, as well as tomato, mesculin & beetroot which cant be considered entirely Australian.

Seeing this fine combination of ingredients I fell a little like this

Now just need to make it into the CBD early enough in the day to be one of the lucky 50 who gets to sample this delicacy...

See the herald article HERE and the Grill'd write up/advertising HERE

Saturday, January 19, 2013

7 News Brisbane make (bad) onscreen changes

7 News Brisbane have made the biggest shake up to their on screen line up in decades, relegating their main presenting duo of Rod Young & Kay McGrath to Friday and Saturday nights only. And I am NOT happy.

At the same time they have brought in former 10 news presenter Bill McDonald who they have paired with weekend presenter Sharon Gidella.  The new team will present the news Sunday to Thursday, while Gidella will also present a new Queensland version of Today Tonight, 7's "current affairs" programme.

I think this is the worst decision that 7 could've made.  They lead the rating's in QLD and have done for sometime, but I think there is a good chance of this slipping with the main presenting team being relegated to a "weekend" role.

Don't get me wrong I have a lot of respect for Sharon Gidella and think she is a wonderful presenter, but I don't think the fact they were able to pick up and ex news reader from a rival network, is a reason to make such a huge change.

Time will tell if this decision is a good one, or one that loses the channel viewers and hands the ratings crown to 9 news, I for one will give it ago for a week, but since I usually don''t get to see the news on Fridays, Saturday's & Sunday's I wont be seeing Rod & Kay and therefore doubt I will  last long.  I wont be off to 9 as I think they are still an inferior product, I think I'll just stop watching and get my news from the interwebs.

Read more on the 7 network changes from the Courier Mail HERE

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hyundai A-League round 17 preview

As always with my sports articles this was written for and can also be found at but you get to see it here first

The round kicks off in Melbourne on Friday night as the Heart host Adelaide.  The hosts sit just outside the top 6 while the visitors are in second place and will be looking for the three points to try and claw their way back into top spot.  I don’t expect any fireworks in this match which should go the way of the visitors.

The first game of the Saturday triple header sees Sydney hosting the Phoenix in a bottom of the table clash.  The Phoenix will look to recover from their lapses of concentration this season as 3 points in this match will see them off the bottom of the table, while Sydney are looking for some form.  Both sides have the squads to perform better than they have this season but neither side has been able to click.  For Sydney, Del Piero (when he has been fit) just hasn’t had the impact they would’ve liked, although this may be because he hasn’t had the ball supplied to him often enough.  Although in the last few weeks their other big name player Brett Emerton has started to show promising signs having scored a couple of good goals.  I’m tipping this one to end in a boring draw.

Saturday’s middle game see’s the table topping Mariners hosting the Newcastle Jets In the F3 derby.  Newcastle are mid table but have faulted a little lately and will be looking for a win to maintain their place in the top 6.  The Mariners are happily sitting top of the table and will look to grow their advantage over second placed Adelaide.  However the Mariners are now without Tom Rojic who is remaining in Scotland to agree personal terms for his transfer, and I believe Bernie Ibini is still on his 10 day trial in Belgium, however Graham Arnold will look to his experienced players to bring this one home.  The Jets come into this one on the back of a 1-0 win over the struggling Roar and will look to build momentum as they seek out a guaranteed top 6 spot.  I’m tipping a comfortable Mariner’s win.

The final game of Saturday sees the Glory hosting the Victory at NiB stadium.  The Glory will look to the continued resurgence of Shane Smeltz to help them win this one, with the Kiwi striker coming off the back of a drought breaking brace a fortnight ago and a penalty last week.  The Victory will travel to the west full of confidence as they sit in third place and look strong under the tutelage of Postecoglou.  I’m tipping this one to be tight with a draw a likely outcome

The final game of the round and Sunday’s only game, sees the struggling Brisbane Roar hosting the Western Sydney Wanderers.  The Wanderers will come into this one full of confidence as they have already tasted victory over the Roar this season, and their continued consistent performance has firmly cemented them as the best ever expansion club.  The Roar are wounded and some of the changes in players may make an impact on them in this game.  They will be boosted by the inclusion of new signing Jade North, but will be without the services of Erik Paartalu who is off to China.  One thing to watch out for, is if the Wanderers play Rocky Visconte who transferred from the Roar in the last two weeks.  This game shapes as a tight match with the Wanderers flying high and the Roar desperate for a win.  If the Roar can show some dominance inside the area and actually learn how to shoot, then I can see them winning this.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A look at the Westfield W-League

As always with my sports articles this was written for and can also be found at

Often the W-League is forgotten by of football followers, even unheard of for some, but it is a competition that deserves its place in the sun, next to the Hyundai A-League.

The Westfield W-League is currently contested by 8 squads, Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar, Canberra United, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory, Sydney FC & Western Sydney Wanderers.  Central Coast, Melbourne Heart & Wellington Phoenix do not have sides in this competition, while Canberra United play in the W-League but not in the A-League.

The W-League began back in season 2008-09 with 8 squads, however it was Central Coast who fielded the 8th side, with WSW not yet in existence.  The 2nd season was only 10 rounds long and was played entirely within the last 3 months of 2009. Season 2010-2011 saw the competition drop to just 7 squad’s with Central Coast’s withdrawal, with Season 2011-12 following suit. With WSW joining the football Australia family for the 2012-13 season we have seen the W-League return to 8 teams.

This Saturday see’s Brisbane Roar’s W-League team, play in their 5th straight finals campaign, as they host Sydney FC in the first semi-final.  Both sides have a deep history in comp having met in all four finals series, twice in the grand final match.  In fact only 3 teams have played in all 4 grand finals to date with Canberra United having played Brisbane Roar in the other two finals.  These 3 sides are also the only 3 to hold the premiers trophy, with Brisbane & Sydney holding it twice & Canberra once.

This year will finally see a fourth side make it into the grand final with Brisbane playing Sydney in the first semi and Canberra having not made it into the finals series.  The 2nd finalist will either be Melbourne Victory (in their 3rd finals appearance) or Perth Glory (making their 1st finals appearance).  Which ever of these sides makes the grand final they will face strong competition from the vastly more experienced Brisbane or Sydney sides.

As a Roar fan I am proud of our W-League history having been crowned Premiers in the inaugural 2008-09 season and again this season, while having finished 2nd in 2010-11 & 2011-12.  We have made all four Championship matches winning in 2008-09 & 2010-11 and losing the other two.

As a football fan I have enjoyed getting out to support the girls on the occasions that other obligations have permitted, and find the laid back relaxed atmosphere at these games far nicer than the authoritative heavy security presence at A-League matches.  I also like the fact that W-League matches, like youth league matches, are free entry for season members upon presentation of the membership card.

I would encourage all fans of football and members of A-League clubs to get out and support their W-League sides if and when you get the chance.

The finals history of the W-League is as follows (winners in bold)
Premiers: Brisbane Roar
Semis: Newcastle Jets v Canberra United & Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC
Grand Final: Brisbane Roar v Canberra United

Premiers: Sydney FC
Semis: Sydney FC v Canberra United & Central Coast Mariners v Brisbane Roar
Grand Final: Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC

Premiers: Sydney FC
Semis: Brisbane Roar v Canberra United & Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Grand Final: Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC

Premiers: Canberra United
Semis: Canberra United v Melbourne Victory & Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC
Grand Final: Canberra United v Brisbane Roar

Monday, January 14, 2013

January transfer window round up #2

Here is my look at the second week of the 2013 January Transfer window as it affects Australian & New Zealand players and A-League squads, as always this is article was written for and can be found over at

While the January transfer window is in full flight around the globe it has only fully begun today here in the Hyundai A-League.  So we can expect a flurry of activity over the next couple of weeks, but even so, there has been some movement on the transfer front for A-League Clubs.  I have included a list of transfers as I’m aware to time of writing below for reference. 

Probably one of the biggest names so far in the transfer window is Socceroos defender and new Roar defender Jade North who has signed with the Roar after a stint in Japan.  North brings with him experience but his signing has created some huge ripple throughout the fan groups with some welcoming him but a lot questioning his signing calling him washed up.  The Roar have also signed up their youth league captain Corey Brown to a two year deal in the first team, and picked up youngster Julius Davies from the Victory.

The Mariners “nursery” continues to churn out talent with Tom Rojic heading to Spain for 10 days to link with Scottish side Celtic for their midseason training camp, while Bernie Ibini has headed to Belgium for a 10 day training stint with Club Brugge.  Both players will return to the A-League but for how long is the question, with English Premier League side QPR having already tabled a firm offer for Rojic believed to be £700,000.  The Mariners other up and coming youngster Matt Ryan cancelled his training stint with Rangers due to the unknown nature of their position in the Scottish leagues next season.

The other big news for Kiwi football fans which was mentioned last week, has now been confirmed, All Whites defender and captain Ryan Nelsen has been signed as Manager (Coach) of MLS squad Toronto FC.  This has caused widespread concern from MLS commentators and Toronto fans as the side that has been struggling have not only signed a rookie manager with no managerial experience, they’ve signed one who is contracted as a player with QPR until 3 months into the upcoming MLS season.  Last I had heard Nelsen had yet to get in contact with Ricki Herbert about his future with the All Whites, but I suspect his time in the National squad is over.

A-League transfers announced so far:
Brisbane Roar In: North (Consadole Sapporo), Davies (Victory), Brown (youth squad)
Out: Visconte (WSW), Fitzerald (Mariners at end of season)

Central Coast Mariners In: Fitzgerald (at end of season)
Training: Rojic (Celtic) – QPR have also put a firm £700K offer on the table, Ibini (Club Brugge)
Melbourne Heart In:
Out: Marrone (Shanghai)
Melbourne Victory In:
Out: Franjic (Released), Davies (Roar)
Perth Glory In:
Out: Memhet (Bangkok Glass)
Sydney FC In: Griffith (Shanghai Shenhua)
Wellington Phoenix In: Hogg (Portland Timbers)
Western Sydney Wanderers In: Visconte (Roar)

Monday, January 7, 2013

January transfer window round up #1

Here is my look at the first 7 days on the 2013 January Transfer window as it effects Australian & New Zealand players and A-League squads, as always this is article was written for and can be found over at

We are now exactly one week into the new year, with today being January 7th, which is also 7 days into the fabled January transfer window, so lets take a look how the first week of transfers have affected the A-League and Australian & Kiwi players.

Wellington Phoenix have announced the signing of Kiwi International defender Ian Hogg from Portland Timbers.  Hogg will fill the place vacated by Mirjin Pavlovic who left the club in November.  Hogg will look to challenge Tony Lochhead for the left back role, and will also look to thrive under his national coach, after failing to break into the first team in Portland.

Over in Perth the Glory have released striker Billy Mehmet who moves to Thailand to play for Bangkok Glass, which frees up not only a spot on the squad, but also much needed salary cap space for the purported tilt at securing the services of former England and Liverpool striker Michael Owen.  Owen’s current side Stoke have hit out at the reports claiming Owen will stay with them until the end of his one season contract.

Central Coast were set to see inform keeper Matt Ryan link up with Scottish side Glasgow Rangers today on a 10 day trial, but this was delayed due to the shoulder injury he sustained in the match against Western Sydney yesterday.  This isn’t the first time that Ryan has headed overseas for a trial, having spent time in 2012 trialling with Tottenham Hotspurs.  The Mariners also look set to lose Tom Rogic with Reading shaping as favourite to secure his signature from a number of English and other European clubs.

In the English Premier League the only confirmed move so far is New Zealand striker Chris Wood who has transferred to Leicester City from West Bromwich Albion.  He initially went on loan so he could be registered in time for Leicester’s New Years Day match against Huddersfield Town, in which he debuted and scored a brace.

From the EPL rumour mill, there is talk Harry Redknapp is looking to sign Aussie midfielder Tim Cahill as one of six new faces at QPR in a bid to stave off relegation from England’s top flight.  Staying with QPR Redknapp is looking to keep Kiwi defender Ryan Nelsen, who is linked with a move to the US MLS competition, despite DC United (one of the clubs he is linked to) denying the rumours.  The other club he is linked with is Toronto FC.  It is thought that Nelsen will be able to step into a player/manager role with the intention of becoming Manger of one of the sides after his playing career ends.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Summer of Football incl Hyundai A-League Round 15 preview

As always here is my look at the Hyundai A-League which you will also be able to find on

A lot has happened in the short space of time between my last article and this one, the Hyundai A-League Summer of Football is in full swing and with it has come a fair swag of matches.  Round 12 which I mentioned in the last article seems like an age ago as it was just one of 3 short sharp rounds, with Round 13 & Round 14 occurring around the festive period and Round 15 fast approaching on the horizon.

Round 12 saw the Wanderers smash in form Adelaide 6-1, the Roar lost to the Glory 1-0, The Nix and Mariners drew 1-1, the Jets downed Sydney 2-1, while The Victory took out the Melbourne derby also 2-1.

Round 13 the “Christmas” round saw success for new coach Mike Mulvey as the Roar took a 1-0 away win over Adelaide, The Glory couldn’t subdue the visiting Wanderers and scraped a 1-1 draw.  The Nix came from behind as a Brockie brace gave the home side a 3-2 win over the Heart, While a late Brett Emerton header saw Sydney steal the 3 points out from underneath the Mariners 1-0, and the round ended on a high note for the Victory who survived a late Jets come back attempt to hold on 3-2.

Round 14 ended the year for some clubs, while for others it began 2013. The Mariners ended the year on a high after a controversial 1-0 win over the Glory despite replays showing the goal came after a blatant hand ball by Bernie Ibini.  Down the line Adelaide rounded out 2012 by demolishing Sydney 3-0.  2013 got off on the right note for the Heart who grounded the Jets 3-2, while in Sydney high flying expansion club Western Sydney downed the resurgent Victory 2-1.  The Roar then went back-to-back for the first time this season after downing the Nix 2-1 in what proved to be another controversial match with debut ref Tim McGilchrist losing the plot after Brockie had equalised, struggling to make many correct calls from the 36th minute onwards.  (Some Phoenix fans will remember McGilchrist from the preseason game against the Jets, that saw 3 Nix players see Red)

Round 15 sees the A-League back to weekend football with three games on Saturday and two on Sunday.  Saturday kicks off in the Hunter as Newcastle host Adelaide.  Both sides will be looking to this match to give them a much win.  Adelaide have started their rebuild with the win in R14 after the two quick losses while the Jets season continues to bumble along despite the fact they have found the back of the net 6 times in the last 3 matches.  Adelaide will again look to Dario Vidosic for their scoring opportunities, while the Jets will look to get their big man & import Emile Heskey into clear space and onto the score sheet.  I can see this match either ending in a draw or a 3-2 score line to Adelaide.

The middle game of the Saturday triple header is in Melbourne where the Victory play host to the travelling Phoenix.  The locals come into this match well placed despite the loss to the Wanderers, while the Nix will be battle scarred without the services of Boyd (red card suspension), Muscat will most probably be serving a suspension for his elbows in incident, while its possible that Leo Bertos will need a week to recover from the head knock that saw him leave the field early in Brisbane.  There will be one player the Nix will be on the lookout for and I expect there to be some fierce tackling on, Marco Rojas .  The young kiwi forward should be wary of his former side, but will also be looking to impress his national team coach with a strong performance.  Rojas is also likely to be the target of European sides with his contract expiring shortly, but he probably wont be moving during the January transfer window, but is likely to go at the end of the A-League season.  Im looking for this to be an easy win to the home side, with injuries and suspensions + the travel factor counting against the Nix.

The final match of the day sees Perth host Sydney.  The Glory will look to home form and left over resentment from the handball goal to spur them onto the win.  Sydney will travel over the Nullarbor looking to not only combat the locals, and the oppressive summer heat but also their own failings.  If Del Piero is fit to travel and to play this should give them a boost.  Both teams will be looking to improve with the Glory’s Kiwi striker Shane Smeltz looking to break his goal scoring drought.  Look for the heat to be a big factor in this one, if the day is another day well into the 30s or higher then expect the fatigue of travel to impact Sydney, giving the Glory another home win.

Sunday’s first match is also at AAMI park in Melbourne where the Heart will take on the resurgent Roar.  The locals are struggling towards the bottom of the table despite their 3-2 win on Tuesday, and will be looking to get back to back wins on the board.   A large shake up to the line up last week, including the shock elevation of former Roar back up keeper Andrew Redmayne, seems to have given the Heart the impetus they needed. The Roar come in on the back of two wins and will be looking to get another win under their belts as the try and rebuild their confidence and get back up the ladder, so they can get a shot at trying to defend their championship.  The away win monkey is now off their backs after the Adelaide win and with Berisha & Halloran having scored against the Nix look for the attacking confidence to return.  The Heart have the wood on the Roar this season but Im expecting this game to be a bit closer with a draw a likely outcome.

The round is rounded out in Sydney as the Wanderers host the Mariners in their Parramatta fortress.  The Wanderers have shown up the other former & current expansion clubs (North Queensland Fury, Gold Coast United, Melbourne Heart) not only with their on field performance, sitting 3rd at the half way point of the season but also off field with healthy turn outs in the stands.  The table topping Mariners will need to be wary of the newcomers but at the same time they have proven their worth in the last few rounds with injuries and suspensions testing the depth of their talents.  They were lucky to come away from their match with the Glory with the full three points and I cant see the Wanderers giving them the same opportunities that the Glory afforded them. Look for this to be a very tight tussle and if either side is to take the three points look to it being by just 1 goal.

The other thing about the Summer of Football other than the on field action, is the off field action associated with the January transfer window.  The Roar are known to be on the lookout for another striker and will be looking abroad having freed up a visa spot with the release of Yuji Takahasi from his loan deal.  Several other clubs may be on the lookout to fill gaps in their squad, and with the injuries to and loss of form of Paul Ifill I’d expect Ricki Herbert to have his eye out for another striker of centre forward.
Conversely the January transfer window is also the time that promising young Australian and New Zealanders, look to get picked up by European clubs. As previously mentioned there is speculation that Marco Rojas will depart the A-League either now or at the end of the season, while young Mariner Tomas Rojic is expected to move to struggling Premier League squad Reading as they look to fight the probability of relegation, while he is also being linked with several other lower division clubs throughout Europe.