Thursday, August 30, 2007

Defenders dropping all over the place

TRBA reports that there are up to 14 defenders on the sidelines this weekend and that a number of them will be out for some time.

WHAT is it with the curse of the defenders at the start of A-League v3?

Everywhere you look there are defenders dropping like flies, either through injury or suspension, and last week’s opening round only exacerbated the problem. Every club is affected.

Up in Queensland, Danny Tiatto’s two match suspension handed down this afternoon (one match immediate, the second suspended if he earns a caution or red card in his first game back) for a stupid two-footed lunge on Richie Alagich is only the latest in a series of suspensions rocking the Roar rearguard.

Hyuk-Su Seo, who has been playing at right back in the Roar pre-season, still has a week to serve on the suspension he picked up in the final pre-season cup round. He is joined by skipper Craig Moore, who will this week serve his automatic one match ban after losing the plot in his A-League debut.

Their opponents on Sunday, the Jets, are facing up to the news that Andrew Durante will be out for an extended period after tests yesterday revealed he has torn ankle ligaments after badly rolling it in the 0-0 draw with Perth last Sunday.

While the initially hope was that he would be out for two weeks, TRBA has it on good authority that it will be more like six weeks on the sidelines for the Jets right back, another cruel blow for a player who has already suffered two broken legs and spent the entire inaugural season on the sidelines.

In the same game, the Glory’s central defender, David Tarka was in severe pain after ripping the tendon in his right hammy, and will now require surgery and be out for months, possibly the season.

He joins Perth’s other central defender, Hayden Foxe (another long term casuality), on the sidelines, meaning the glory will travel to Melbourne on Saturday night to face the might of Danny Allsopp and Archie Thompson without their first choice central defence. Dino Djulbic is likely to be partnered by either Jamie Harnwell or Nikolai Topor-Stanley.

The Victory have their own problems at the back after big name signing Lubjo Milicevic limped off with strained medial ligaments after an early challenge by Wellington’s Tony Lochhead. The early prognosis was that he’d be out for over a month, but yesterday Ernie Merrick hinted Milicevic might be back a little sooner.

Tomorrow night at Bluetongue Stadium, the Mariners take on Wellington without skipper and central defender Alex Wilkinson after he tore his medial meniscus in the knee in the season opener against Sydney. While the club is still determining the length of his injury, a spokesperson said Wilkinson “could be back on the park within six weeks, but could also be out for as long as three months”.

Further tests will reveal whether he requires an arthroscopy.

With Paul O’Grady, Tony Vidmar and Andrew Clark all spending time on the sidelines in the pre-season, it’s been a torrid time for defenders on the Coast. At least Vidmar and Clark are back in contention to replace Wilkinson, but O’Grady continues to recover from a shoulder injury.

The Phoenix travel to Gosford without right-back Steven Old, reportedly suffering the flu, but at least he is replaced by a defender, Steven O’Dor, back from international duty.

Even Sydney and Adelaide, who clash on Saturday evening, have their own defensive headaches. Mark Milligan, who played in the centre of a back three in the second half against the Mariners, is reported to be ill, and has been left out of the squad for the clash potent Adelaide attack. Manager Branko Culina is showing signs of frustration.

His nominal replacement, Jacob Timpano, played for 45 minutes in Sydney’s pre-season clash with Penrith Nepean United, but hasn’t been sighted since. After a wretched season on the sidelines last term, Timpano is said to be at least five weeks away from a comeback.

Terry McFlynn, who played at right back in the first half against the Mariners, has also this afternoon been handed a two match ban (one match effective immediately, the other suspended if he is cautioned or red carded in his first two games back).

Adelaide is the only team not to lose a defender from last week, but is still waiting on the return of new central defender Milan Susak from a hamstring injury. He is said to be three weeks away.

By my calculations, that’s 14 A-League defenders currently on the sidelines, a staggering amount in a competition that has less than 200 registered players, and it’s only round 2.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Tiatto is no surprise, this will be an ongoing thing, just like Muscat and to a lesser extent Moore. These 3 will be regular visitors to the judiciary, while their opponents will be regular visitors to surgeons.

Why is the FFA holding off on appointing a coach, as next year the qualifers for the World Cup start.


Fri Aug 31, 11:17:00 am AEST  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

Macka, funnily enough, when he (Tiatto) actually settled down after about 35mins, he played pretty well....but the reality is he shouldn't have been on the pitch by then.

Ange Postecoglou was spot on during the call when he said something like this after one Tiatto challenge; "Tiatto has just put the freighteners through every A-League right midfielder".

Agree with you though, it's not the way we want to see the game played here. It's not entertainment, it's thuggery.

Re Roos coach, Advocaat is reportedly the man, but I'd guess FFA have the wait for his contract in Russia - with Zenit St Petersburg - to expire in November

Fri Aug 31, 03:53:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ange postecoglou was NOT spot on mate.

He said "Tiatto reminding Djite this is a mans game" after he trod over him

Absolute crap.. what Tiatto did was cowardly... there was nothing manly about it.. and his two footed challegnes with the potential of ruining a palyers career.. that is not manly fella's...

I cannot believe Ange said that.. im so happy he is no longer head coach of our younguns

Tiatto deserved to be suspendend and the ref in that game also shouldve been told off.. this is not rugby, ref the games properly for goodness sake..

Sun Sep 02, 01:53:00 pm AEST  
Blogger Cecilia said...

The thing that annoyed me about Tiatto's stomping on Djite (and far more than the Alagich tackle he actually got suspended for) is that not only was it completely missed by the assistant ref, but Djite is the future of football in this country. Tiatto being the animal that he is needs to realise that being a thug is NOT in the best interests of the game in this country, especially when there's so much young talent about that needs to be nurtured and cared for. Even Muscat only really tries to kill the older guys. (I think.)

Sun Sep 02, 08:39:00 pm AEST  
Blogger Hamish said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Mon Sep 03, 10:26:00 pm AEST  
Blogger Hamish said...

A good post Tony, but for the Roar at least Seo and Moore were only the start. Tiatto was suspended since you wrote this article, then Sasa Ognenovski was injured in training and just to rub in the salt McLaren was red carded.

Tiatto's suspension, whilst unambiguously deserved in a technical sense, occurred in a very worryingly arbitrary way in my view. Remember that this retrospective stuff is very new anyway and it's not clear to me that Tiatto or any players were even aware it was possible, especially for an on-the-ball situation which the ref clearly saw. Wasn't the rave always that these retrospective decisions were for off-the-ball occurrences? That was literally how it was sold to the fans. If you can review a ref's decision not to call a foul, can you review one where he calls a foul? Let's face it, it was actually a referee's decision that was reviewed - that was never the idea.

2 Questions:

Does every match get reviewed?

What is the criteria for whether a retrospective case is to be answered?

If the answer to the first question is not yes (apparently it's not), and moreso if the answer to the second question is not very clear and transparent (it's not at all), then potentially the A-League has a very, very serious problem.

This is not a fan's sour grapes. Wrong or arguable decisions happen all the time and while we moan all soccer fans have to deal with it. It's arbitrariness that scares the crap out of me, and the danger I've only just fully realised in the "ref's decision is final; it's part of the game" philosophy - which I subscribe to - is that it can easily become a slippery slope to arbitrary decision making, which could be political, corruption-related or just sloppy.

It is essential that it is at least clear what the ruling the ref called was (it's simply still not clear in the case of Oggy's disallowed goal in the first match, as Farina has pointed out - this is a very serious issue and I wish non-Roar fans would think carefully about it) and if they're going to allow retrospective rulings (I'm actually for it) then every game must be reviewed by the same panel, with a transparent set of criteria.

The integrity of refs is desirable, but I'm talking about the integrity of the game, which is absolutely crucial as we build our (let's face it) still precarious league.

Mon Sep 03, 10:34:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The integrity of the game can be crushed from challenges and play like that, not to mention the health and careers of some of our most brightest young prospects...

Tue Sep 04, 06:11:00 pm AEST  
Blogger Hamish said...

Anonymous, I agree with you, and that's why the linesman should have called the foul and Tiatto should have been carded. The referee made the wrong decision (and it was not the only one).

But you have completely missed my point.

Tue Sep 04, 06:22:00 pm AEST  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

Thanks all for your's certainly been a fascinating week or so with this whole issue of trial by video.

As I've previously said, I agree with the sentiment that a challenge like Tiatto's (and even the stomping on Djite) should have been dealt with by the officials on the pitch. There is no excuse for them letting it go.

I agree it sets a very dangerous precedent for these things to be decided by the operations manager of the A-League, for at the very least there is a clear issue of consistent application.

The pressure and the heat should be on Richard Lorenc and his men in the bright yellow and black, with whistles and flags to get it right first time.

It's one thing to have a physical league and to discourage diving, as we all should be, but it's entriely another to allow these types of challenges to go unpunished, so I hope it's just a case of the administrators saying "it's not on".

But like you Hamish I feel there's a strong argument for a dedicated panel with clear frameworks.

Right now it's all over the shop, just like a Deby County back four trying to deal with Torres and Kuijt (had to get that in).

Tue Sep 04, 08:57:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


, everyone seems to be just shouting 'why are we using the video etc' but people really should be saying 'Why arent the refs doing their job?'

Instead we just constantly hear praising of them, yep some things they do very well, but it seems to me at times they let too many things go

Thu Sep 06, 04:40:00 pm AEST  

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