Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The A-League List

PIM picks his squad for the Qatar matchday 3 qualifier tomorrow (11am Eastern), and based on his previous work and the fact there is an international break in the calendar, it is likely to be a big one.

That's the Verbeek way, allowing him to not only expose many players to his methodology, but allowing for meaningful training-ground scrimmage.

As such, expect to see a few A-Leaguers. The boys on 'The Club', Fox Sports FC, said as such this evening. Verbeek has been spotted at just about every A-League game in the past fortnight, casting an eye over all that is hot and cold. With that in mind, here's a quick glance at the local boys catching the eye, starting at the top of the table;

Melbourne Victory

Vargas; continues to be consistent and solid.
Muscat; wonderful passer and great composure, but boy do our referees let him get away with some.
Berger; Merrick was singing his praises when we chatted in the pre-season, and this boy has hitherto lived up to the hype. Needs a little more polish in the front third, but boy does he have engines.
Kemp; some wonderful run early on.
Allsopp; confidence player, is on a high at the moment.
Celeski; great to see him playing in his rightful place in central midfield, has carried on his wonderful form at the Olympics and is the epitome of a wonderful footballer; silky on the ball, with breathtaking mobility.
Thompson; after a disappointing Olympics, back to his tricky best, causing headaches.

Sydney FC

Bolton; poor game against the 'Nix, but has been exemplary otherwise.
Fyfe; very solid.
Cole; arguably the find of the off-season, it is wonderful to see an Australia player so good at delivering the ball, from either flank, with either foot. Name me a better crosser in Australian football!
Musialik; a lack of discipline up the F3, but has been quietly making Sydney tick from deep since.
Corica; is he too old for the green and gold? Outstanding form, and would be good to have in the squad even if only to impart a bit of wisdom to a player like Brett Holman.
Brosque; looking very sharp and very comfortable on the ball, and has improved his composure in the 18 yard box. Really enjoying playing in a quality front quartet, where the focus isn't always on him.

Adelaide United

Galekovic; stand-out A-League keeper, he has been very decisive.
Jamieson; a bit to work on defensively, but neat coming forward, one to watch, especially given his position.
Costanzo and Ognenovski; no nonsense partnership, physical and intimidating.
Reid; great business bringing him back, he plays the half-attacking, half-defensive midfield role beautifully and has a great attitude.
Dodd; direct and powerful, looks like he's enjoying things at the moment.

Central Coast Mariners

Jedinak; one of the A-League muscle-men, has been crucial to the Mariners resurgence since coming back in. Added some wonderful set piece work.
Hutchinson; another powerful presence.
Caceres; found a niche at the head of the diamond, where his creative work has been a feature of the past couple of weeks, both games against his former clubs.
Simon; long time readers of this blog will have heard me refer to Simon as a battering ram over the past couple of seasons, but the rough diamond is finally adding some subtlety to his game, with some lovely finishing of late.
Petrovski; did he score on his last Socceroos outing? Mr. Calm and Consistent this season, he has been at his best dropping off the front line and providing a link between midfield and attack.

Queensland Roar

Moore; excellent against Melbourne, he is still among our top few central defenders.
McKay; Miller is grabbing most of the attention, but McKay continues to run opposition midfields ragged.
Murdocca; ditto.

Newcastle Jets

North; has looked more solid in the past couple of games, just in time for the watching Verbeek.
Holland; not an attacking threat of late, but still looks neat on the ball.

None from the Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony, I notice 10 of 13 HAL players picked are in your list. Great insight as always, where have you been?

What are your thoughts on Cornthwaite and Wilkinson seeing as they weren't on your list?

Who did you think was unlucky to miss out?


Wed. Oct. 01, 01:09:00 pm AEST  
Blogger pippinu said...

Does Pim need a snivelling, sneaky, underhand, dirty mongrel who is impervious to official sanction? I have just the player!

Wed. Oct. 01, 01:17:00 pm AEST  
Blogger Hamish said...

I've seen Moore, McKay and Massimo slagged a bit of late in blogland so I was pleased to read your praise of them. The latter two may not be goal scorers but I wouldn't want to be in the midfield with them on the opposition. You don't hear people slagging off the Roar's midfield much, and they are the reason.

And Moore remains a legend in my mind. So many times - so many that now I just grin knowingly when it happens, I see a certain goal interupted by Moore's foot flying in from nowhere, somehow arriving, under extreme pressure, exactly where the ball is about to be. Sometimes it seems almost miraculous. I frankly don't think he's a 'thug' at all (Tiatto maybe wears the label better). As a professional defender he tries to stop the goal with extreme prejudice. I reckon if a defender reckons he's got a 50:50 chance of getting the decisive tackle in, he's going to go for it. Do we want him to hold back more to make absolutely sure none of his tackles are fouls? If he did, Pim wouldn't be choosing him. His job is stopping goals. He does that, very well indeed.

I frankly laughed at suggestions Pim would be leaving Moore out. Pim is a professional, and is keen to win.

Wed. Oct. 01, 06:26:00 pm AEST  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

...Tony, I notice 10 of 13 HAL players picked are in your list. Great insight as always, where have you been?...

Thanks James, heaps busy at my end, keeping a close eye on all the action though.

...What are your thoughts on Cornthwaite and Wilkinson seeing as they weren't on your list?...

Surprised to be totally honest. Thought about including both of them on my list, but left them off as I felt they haven't been consistently great. Cornflakes has had good moments, as we know, but has been caught out defensively a few times and his distribution is avg. Ditto Wilkinson, in my opinion, but I guess Pim wants to bring 'em in and assess 'em.

...Who did you think was unlucky to miss out?...

From my list or overall? From my list Dodd stands out, but with so many wide attacking players, and Garcia included, it's easy to see why.

Doesn't surprise me Corica was left out - age!

Nick Carle? Not surprised, he's clearly on the outer, and probably doesnt want to come here to warm the bench anyway, which isn't the attitude the manager would admire.

Nathan Burns hasn't really been playing, so not surprised.

....Does Pim need a snivelling, sneaky, underhand, dirty mongrel who is impervious to official sanction? I have just the player!...

Muscat? Yes Pippinu, he does get away with a bit, and has been since coming back. Interesting to see Graham Poll recently nominate him as the most irritating player he's reffed.

Hamish, long time no hear, great to see your football odyssey continues...how's it going for you and Jacob?

...I've seen Moore, McKay and Massimo slagged a bit of late in blogland so I was pleased to read your praise of them....

By who? Murdocca and McKay can be a bit all over the place at times, and lack pen box composure, but I agree, I'd hate to play against 'em. Reckon they absolutely suffocate an opposition midfield, as MV found out.

Moore, once he put his hand up and despite the good work from Coyne and North, was always going to be part of Pims plans. As you say, he's a pragmatist Pim, and knows what he wants.

The great thing about Moore is that the bigger the stakes, the better he performs - very calm, and as you say, reads and organises so well. He's had a consistent run of games of late, so appears to be managing his injuries and thats always been my biggest worry with him.

Wed. Oct. 01, 08:38:00 pm AEST  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

Pippinu, just realised who you were talking about. Have left some thoughts on yours and Eric's blogs.

Wed. Oct. 01, 10:09:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous Ed vegas said...

Oh, have been waiting to get home from work and rib Pippinu by implying he was talking about Muscat... only to find that Tony beat me too it...

While I consider Moore a legend and love being able to see him in action at Suncorp, he is not the athlete he once was... is it not a bit of a worry that Pim is turning to him at this point? He is already pretty injury prone and will be 35 by 2010.

Wed. Oct. 01, 10:26:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous dhd said...

Tony, i was equally as reassured to find Cornthwaite NOT on your list as I was bewildered to find he WAS on Pim's. What on earth?
Yes I am a Melbourne supporter but how you'd pick Cornflake over Vargas is mystifying to me.

For me, Alsopp's early season strength was only an artefact of Ney Fabiano being on the park and the way it gave defences simply too much to do to cover them all. With Fabiano out, opposition defenders have been stripping him of possession the way they always have. One thing i think he does deserve credit for is finally getting his head on the ball when long balls are played to him. Its a blight on the league that i'm congratulating one the the leagues dominant strikers on being able to make contact with the ball, but that's still where we're at in many ways.

Fri. Oct. 03, 11:02:00 am AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony, I agree with your thoughts on Wilkinson.

I don't think he's been that good this season, and thought about your comments when Travis Dodd took him on last night and almost scored. Made him look pedestrian.

Dodd made Verbeek look like he'd erred in leaving him out. Jamieson was good though.


Sat. Oct. 04, 10:30:00 am AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Rusky from Perth would be in my squad.

He has exciting potential.

Great speed, always getting in goalscoring positions.

If someone can show him how to beat a defender with ease ( it isn't that hard for someone with pace) and then convert the chances that comes his way he could well be the modern Peter Sharne indeed much better than Sharne

Sat. Oct. 04, 01:59:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in the years since Corica has come back I have waited in vain to watch either beat a man or deliver a defence splitting pass.
He has done neither.

His experience puts him in good positions but his lack of pace often negates that.

He should retire

Sun. Oct. 05, 11:49:00 am AEDT  
Blogger Carlo said...

Moore is getting slow, the last time he turned out for Aus the qatar game he was beaten a few times for speed. He should have just stayed retired.

Before I am hated upon i think he has been and will continue to be a champion player just not at international Level.

Wed. Oct. 08, 01:43:00 pm AEDT  
Blogger Hamish said...

Carlo, you might be right about Moore's form in the medium term as the WC approaches, but I think, as Cahill pointed out yesterday in the MSN, Pim plays the players who are in form now, and demonstrating the same in their club games. (At the same time he keeps a large crew interested.) I reckon he'll play Moore, because although others may be in form, they don't have Moore's vast experience. My instinct about Pim is that he will bring the maximum tactically practicable player resources that he can to bear and he will make that determination at the last possible moment of time. If he could leave it to the moment the players ran on he would.

Hi Tony. Good news for Jacob's last season. He moved to Annerley FC, which is in the official football league and much better organised, but getting into the B team, who'd apparently had a shocker last year, meant he was playing in 7th division in some moderation games, all of which they won so they started in 5th Div. The short story is they won the Premiership and the Grand Final. Was a fun season, with great rivalries at the top of the ladder.

Indoor soccer has just started for them (today his team won 7:2, but last week they lost and it's going to be a tough comp because there's no div in Jacob's agegroup so they play some older teams). There is no real end to the soccer season, and the exciting times for soccer in general adds fuel to the fire.

My own futsal team finished its season last Tuesday with a draw. We did moderately badly overall, but are ready for the next season in a month or something.

I'm very busy lately and not blogging, but I do lurk around soccer blogs, and always read your stuff.


Sat. Oct. 11, 09:12:00 pm AEDT  

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