TattsBet Brekky Show soccer expert James Clark takes a look at Round 23 of the A-League.
TattsBet A-League Round 23 Preview
Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar
Allianz Stadium Friday 6:35pm AEST
Brisbane Roar proved they deserve the Premier's Plate this year with a hard fought and comprehensive win over Adelaide at Suncorp on the weekend. 10 points clear with a dominant goal differential, it appears likely that Besart Berisha has plenty more to offer his beloved club and has the Golden Boot firmly in his sights. Roar will be without the services of Socceroo Ivan Franjic who suffered a low-grade ankle strain against Adelaide. Sydney FC is riding high following a confidence-boosting win over cross-town rivals the Western Sydney Wanderers. The big question will be replicating that same defensive effort against a Roar side that has registered nine goals against the “Sky Blues’ in their two previous fixtures this season.
My tip: Brisbane Roar
Western Sydney Wanderers v Adelaide United
Pirtek Stadium 4:35pm AEST
The ledger is all square at one a piece between Western Sydney and Adelaide this season. The Wanderers' busy schedule has them travelling to China for a mid-week Asian Champions League (ACL) commitment with Gizhou Renhe. This is a crunch match for both teams and a loss could see the Wanderers relinquish their hold on the number two spot. A win for Adelaide will restore some momentum back to the outfit many feel are the biggest danger to the Roar claiming their third Grand Final title.
My tip: Adelaide
Central Coast Mariners V Newcastle Jets
Bluetonge Stadium Saturday 6:45pm AEST
The Jets are on the cusp of a top-six spot and plenty of coaches are hoping that’s just where they remain. They have proven on more than one occasion they can snatch three points from any side in the competition at home or away. The key weapon up front is Adam Taggart, who leads the Golden Boot with 11 goals this season. Conversely, Central Coast is in danger of falling out of the six with a loss in this game. The Mariners will carry the extra burden of backing up from another ACL group match against Japanese side Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Despite that I’m going with the Mariners to get the three points in a physical “F3 Derby” that could ultimately determine their season.
My tip: Central Coast Mariners
Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory
nib Stadium Saturday 8:35pm AEST
Perth Glory return to nib Stadium following an arduous away trip that only netted the one solitary point despite plenty of frequent flyers miles coming their way. They host a third-placed Melbourne Victory side which will need to refocus quickly after hosting Korean heavyweights Jeonbuk Motors at Etihad Stadium in the ACL. Squad selection and depth is a huge test for coaches juggling both competitions, but a chance to steal the all-important second spot on the ladder will provide great motivation. As the early market suggests this will be tight affair, which has me, leaning towards the points being shared after 90 minutes.
My tip: Draw
Melbourne Heart V Wellington Phoenix
AAMI Park Sunday 3:00pm AEST
These two lowly based teams met a few short weeks back in round 19 and it was the Heart that delivered a 5-0l blow to a Phoenix side that until then had found their mojo. Despite the loss, Wellington delivered a 4-1 demolition away to the Mariners and subsequently lost heavily to Adelaide. They are a nightmare for tipsters and often manage to throw form lines out the window. Based on Heart’s great run of late compared to the “Jekyll & Hyde” nature of Ernie Merrick’s Phoenix, I’m sticking with Melbourne to get the points.
My tip: Melbourne Heart