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A-League season kicks off with win to Sydney FC

A-League season kicks off with win to Sydney FC

11/10/2019, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29544929

A late header from Ryan McGowan has delivered Sydney FC a 3-2 win against Adelaide United in a rollicking A-League season opener.

McGowan nailed a free header in the 87th minute to settle a feisty Friday night encounter at Adelaide’s Coopers Stadium.

After Sydney’s Adam Le Fondre produced a rapid first-half brace, Adelaide rallied with replies to Nikola Mileusnic and Al Hassan Toure.

And just as the fizz appeared to be dwindling, South Australian-born McGowan produced the decisive moment of his first A-League game.

Unmarked from a Brandon O’Neill corner, McGowan floated to five metres from goal and sweetly hammered a header.

The season opener also included a straight red card to Adelaide’s Ryan Strain, who was marched for felling Le Fondre in a second-half sprint towards goal.

And the fresh campaign also featured video assistant review flashpoints, including an offside call which denied a goal to new Sky Blue Kosta Barbarouses.

Barbarouses thought he’d delivered for his new club when he slotted past Adelaide goalkeeper Paul Izzo in the 60th minute.

But a VAR review found the New Zealander offside and the goal was disallowed.

Just 10 minutes earlier, the VAR system decided Adelaide’s lively newcomer Toure had squared scores 2-2.

A Sydney FC free kick is headed away by the United wall. Photo: AAP

In another narrow call, Toure was ruled onside when his teammate Riley McGree played an audacious lifted pass which paved the path to goal.

Toure’s score lifted the 9903-strong Adelaide crowd which had earlier slipped slumped after Le Fondre’s quick-fire double.

Just 20 minutes in, referee Alex King halted play for a VAR check – he watched replays of a Le Fondre clip brush an arm of Adelaide captain Michael Jakobsen inside the area, and awarded a penalty.

Le Fondre duly scored, thumping into the top right netting.

Just six minutes later, the Englishman started and finished a flowing play which diced Adelaide’s defence.

Le Fondre supplied Milos Ninkovic, who played Alex Baumjohann into space and the German’s cut-back across the goal-face precisely found Le Fondre for a tap-in.

Adelaide answered just before halftime when Sydney’s Baumjohann tangled with Ryan Kitto and the Reds were given a free kick some 20 metres out.

Mileusnic dult produced a stunner: a curling strike which eluded a diving Thomas Heward-Belle.

-AAP

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Jamie Maclaren nets hat-trick as Socceroos thrash Nepal 5-0 in 2022 World Cup qualifier

Jamie Maclaren nets hat-trick as Socceroos thrash Nepal 5-0 in 2022 World Cup qualifier

10/10/2019, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29542307

The Socceroos attack is starting to click under coach Graham Arnold after Australia thrashed Nepal 5-0, but it was still left frustrated after their World Cup qualifier in Canberra on Thursday night.

Australia had all the possession and territory, creating countless chances but struggled to finish against the team ranked 161 in the world.

The Socceroos were never challenged and dominated from start to finish against the Group B minnows as Jamie Maclaren scored his first international hat-trick.

Maclaren had scored just one goal in 13 appearances leading into the game but showed his class in front of 18,563 fans.

Maclaren was happy to take the match ball after the 90 minutes.

“(It’s) my proudest moment in a football jersey – representing my country in Canberra and scoring a hat-trick,” the Melbourne City striker said.

Australia’s Jamie Maclaren enjoys his hat-trick in Canberra. Photo: Getty

Arnold was satisfied with the score but said plenty of improvement remained in his team.

“We have a lot of work to do … we created plenty of chances, but we have to be more ruthless when it counts,” Arnold said.

“It’s a performance that we can improve on, but overall I am very happy.”

Australia opened the scoring with a set-piece move on six minutes when Aaron Mooy found Craig Goodwin and his low drive couldn’t be contained before Maclaren fired in the rebound.

The second goal arrived when Aziz Behich crossed for Rhyan Grant, who headed back across the face of goal to Maclaren to score from point-blank range on 19 minutes.

Scotsman Harry Souttar then made it three as the 198cm defender scored on debut after heading in a well-hit Goodwin corner.

It should have been 4-0 on the stroke of half-time when Mathew Leckie scored a deflected goal that was incorrectly ruled offside by the linesman.

Goodwin looked certain to score his first international goal in the second half, but his back-post header was denied sharply by goalkeeper Kiran Chemjong.

Souttar celebrated a double when he headed home on 59 minutes but the shot took a deflection and it officially went down as an own goal to Dinesh Rajbanshi.

Maclaren completed his hat-trick in the 90th minute after collecting the ball from Jackson Irvine’s chest inside the box and finishing sharply.

The Socceroos have begun their road to Qatar 2022 with two strong wins and now face Taiwan away on Tuesday before players return to their clubs.

-AAP

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Socceroos and A-League kick-off sets scene for a big week in football

Socceroos and A-League kick-off sets scene for a big week in football

09/10/2019, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29540001

The Socceroos return to Australia on Thursday night for the first time since November when they host Asian minnows Nepal in Canberra, before jetting off to Kaohsiung for a clash with Taiwan next week.

After starting their long journey to the 2022 World Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over Kuwait, head coach Graham Arnold has named a largely unchanged group.

Defenders Trent Sainsbury and midfielder Massimo Luongo will miss the Nepal match with niggling injuries, while captain Mark Milligan, midfielder Dimi Petratos and Bristol City defender Bailey Wright enter the squad.

“I’ve changed the way that we play a little bit with the Socceroos to help those boys [Australia’s strikers] more, with our wingers more inside,” Arnold told Fox Sports before the meeting with Nepal.

I really expect these boys to start stepping up now and I don’t think we’ll be talking about the lack of goals for too much longer.”

While the Socceroos have, on occasion, made a habit of slipping on banana peels, comfortable wins against Nepalese and Taiwanese sides that are ranked 161 and 129 in the world should be the expectation for Arnold’s group.

With the A-League not recognising international breaks for the 2019-20 campaign, some clubs were at the mercy of Arnold when it came to the presence of some of their best players for the first round of matches in the domestic competition.

Only Sydney FC (goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne and defender Rhyan Grant) and Melbourne City (striker Jamie Maclaren) will be missing for their clubs.

Captains of the various A-League sides launch the season in Sydney. Photo: Getty

Sydney FC – champions a season ago – should be able to cover the duo’s absence before a season in which they are expected to challenge for premiership and championship honours.

The Sky Blues have recruited impressively in their quest for back-to-back successes under second-year head coach Steve Corica.

They have added Socceroos defender Ryan McGowan and recruited Alexander Baumjohann, Luke Brattan and Kosta Barbarouses from A-League rivals.

Joining a side that, despite the retirement of Alex Brosque, retains proven A-League performers Grant, Redmayne, Miloš Ninković, Brandon O’Neill and Adam le Fondre means that the road to A-League glory in 2019-20 will likely run through Moore Park.

Looking to forget the 6-1 shellacking suffered at the hands of Sydney, the Harboursiders’ eternal rivals Melbourne Victory has experienced one of the most sweeping overhauls in their club’s history.

Now under former Adelaide United boss Marco Kurz, who replaces ‘Vuck’ legend Kevin Muscat in the dugout, Victory has lost Barbarouses, Keisuke Honda, Raúl Baena, Georg Niedermeier, James Troisi and Terry Antonis this offseason but replaced them with well-credentialled international talents and brought back former fan favourites Robbie Kruse, Adama Traoré and Andrew Nabbout.

Fan favourite Robbie Kruse in Socceroos mode. Photo: AAP

Tantalisingly, in Ola Toivonen – arguably the best player in the A-League – Kruse and Nabbout; Kurz possesses a front three that all started at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

It is a stark contrast to the dearth of firepower the German had at his disposal in his time in the City of Churches.

Sydney and Victory’s crosstown foes will likewise be looking to the new season with a renewed sense of vigour.

Finally able to end their time stadium-hopping and return to their permanent home at ‘Wanderland’ – Parramatta’s new Bankwest Stadium – the coming season will bring much needed stability for head coach Markus Babbel’s Western Sydney Wanderers.

Led by Socceroo Mitch Duke and former Bundesliga top scorer ‘Fußballgott’ Alexander Meier, hopes are high that the Red and Black can reach the heights that marked their first seasons in the A-League and augur the return of one of the loudest and most entertaining live experiences in all of Australian sports.

Discarding Warren Joyce in favour of Erick Mombaerts, Melbourne City has made a fine start to the season already; winning its way through to the final of the FFA Cup.

With returning building blocks Maclaren, Harrison Delbridge and Scott Jamieson joined by new signings Craig Noone and Josh Brilliante and some of the best young talent in Australia, City can perhaps dare to dream of bigger things.

The long-standing club goal of a place in the Asian Champions League (ACL) is a real possibility.

Of course, both Victory and City must deal with another dog on the Melbourne block.

Entering the A-League for the first time in 2019-20, expansion side Western United is looking to stake an immediate claim in Melbourne’s west.

On the field, it should certainly prove capable of competing straight out of the gate.

Poaching the highly rated Mark Rudan from Wellington Phoenix to serve as inaugural head coach, United has recruited veteran Australian and international performers such as former Socceroos Scott McDonald, A-League legend Besart Berisha, Greek international Panagiotis Kone and former Italy and West Ham playmaker Alessandro Diamanti.

Besart Berisha has had a storied A-League career and now gets a chance to write another chapter. Photo: Getty 

That veteran core will be supplemented by bright young Australian talents such as Valentino Yuel, Seb Pasquali, Josh Cavallo, Dylan Pierias and Apostolos Stamatelopoulos.

Though there are questions of pace surrounding what figures to be an ageing spine, United should be in the mix for a finals place at the end of the season.

Looking even further west, defending premiers Perth Glory has reloaded and is seeking to go one better this season after suffering a heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat in front of a record home crowd in last season’s grand final.

Head coach Tony Popovic’s side loses Socceroo Jason Davidson but again has Chris Ikonomidis and Diego Castro in Glory’s quest and, following his acrimonious departure from City, welcomes an A-League legend in the form of Uruguayan striker Bruno Fornaroli to the fold.

But Glory will – for the first time – be forced to contend with Asian Champions League football as well as A-League commitments in the season ahead; adding another dimension to its task of proving last season wasn’t a flash in the pan.

Adelaide United enters the season under the guidance of new gaffer Gertjan Verbeek and has lost club legend Isaías but, once again, features hometown hero Riley McGree.

McGree became the first player that the Reds paid a transfer fee for in their history when they paid a reported $150,000 to secure him from Belgian side Club Brugge and bring him back to the side at which he began his professional career in 2016.

Signed on Saturday, Socceroo Asian Cup hero Troisi should further boost the Reds in attack.

Also welcoming new coaches will be Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane Roar.

Though there hasn’t quite been the fanfare that accompanied their flirtations with Usain Bolt last season, the Mariners have, under former Matildas’ head coach Alen Stajčić, flashed potential in making a run to the semi-finals of the FFA Cup and will be looking to avoid finishing as wooden spooners for the third consecutive season.

If he can stay out of trouble, Korean midfielder Kim Eun-sun figures to be a key player in any Gosford revival.

In Queensland divine intervention has arrived, with a man that was christened ‘God’ by Liverpool fans, English legend Robbie Fowler, taking the reins of the club for the season ahead.

Robbie Fowler
Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler gets his chance to stamp his class on the A-League. Photo: Getty 

Recruiting a number of players from the lower leagues of England that he is familiar with, Fowler has also brought in former Newcastle Jet Roy O’Donovan to join local talent Dylan Wenzel-Halls in leading the line for the coming campaign.

O’Donovan’s former side enters the season in a state of flux. Operating on a reduced budget, the Jets have already lost marquee signing Wes Hoolahan and attacker Kaine Sheppard to preseason injuries that will keep them out until the new year.

Wellington Phoenix reversed years of mediocrity last year and became feel-good finalists, but new boss Ufuk Talay will be tasked with guiding a youthful Wellington on an even tougher journey.

Joey Lynch’s A-League end-of-season prediction:

1st – Sydney FC

2nd – Melbourne Victory

3rd – Perth Glory

4th – Melbourne City

5th – Western United

6th – Western Sydney Wanderers

7th – Brisbane Roar

8th – Adelaide United

9th – Central Coast Mariners

10th – Wellington Phoenix

11th – Newcastle Jets

A-LEAGUE ROUND 1

Friday: Adelaide United v Sydney FC, Coopers Stadium, 7.30pm
Saturday: Western Sydney v Wanderers Central Coast Mariners, Bankwest Stadium, 5pm; Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City, Marvel Stadium, 7.30pm.
Sunday: Wellington Phoenix v Western United, Westpac Stadium, 4pm;
Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar, HBF Park, 6pm.
Bye: Newcastle Jets

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A-League: How the national competition plans to kick on to new heights

A-League: How the national competition plans to kick on to new heights

07/10/2019, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29535608

The battle for eyeballs in Australia’s summer sporting marketplace is a crowded and fiercely combative one and, after much soul searching, football’s A-League is trying anew to get to the top of the pile.

Set to kick off this week, Australia’s revamped domestic football league enters a battle for attention against cricket, basketball, tennis and the increasingly covered AFL and NRL off-seasons.

Following long negotiations, the 2019-20 season will mark the first in which control of professional leagues – the A-League, W-League and Y-League – will transition from Football Federation Australia to a group representing Australia’s professional clubs – the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association.

The battle for eyeballs in Australia’s summer sporting marketplace is a crowded and fiercely combative one and after much soul searching, football’s A-League is trying anew to get to the top of the pile.

Set to kick off this week, Australia’s revamped domestic football league enters a battle for attention against cricket, basketball and tennis, as well as AFL and NRL off-seasons that are attracting an increasing level of coverage.

Following long negotiations, the 2019/20 season will mark the first in which control of professional leagues – the A-League, W-League and Y-League – will transition from Football Federation Australia to a group representing Australia’s professional clubs – the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association.

Taking cues from the English Premier League, the new club-run structure is just one facet of the largest shake-up of Australia’s top flight since its birth in 2005.

Initially taking a low-key approach to marketing the league in a hope of finding clear air following the AFL and NRL seasons, news broke last Friday that Australian football had found a new home on free-to-air television, with the A-League, W-League, Socceroos and Matildas games being broadcast on the ABC for the next two seasons.

The league then flexed its marketing muscles with a slick, comic book-inspired marketing campaign.

“We wanted to do something very different,” league chief Greg O’Rourke told The New Daily.

“We were listening to fan feedback that, in the past, the marketing campaign has fallen a bit flat and that it just looked like a bunch of players saying, ‘Look at us, we’re footballers, we’re back, you should love us’.

A-League football
The A-League has found itself slipping in the eyes of hard core and casual fans. Photo: Getty

“What comes with the ABC, which might not be immediately obvious to people, is that they’ve got a whole range of other mediums through their digital and online, through their kids programs, through their radio, through their podcasts …

“Some of our research in the past has been that people don’t know where to find the Socceroos, or the Matildas, or the A-League, or the W-League.

Not only does it bring the leagues onto the same channel, it actually brings football to the same channel on free-to-air.

“You’ll find the Socceroos there, you’ll find the Matildas there, you’ll find the A-League there and find the W-League there.”

There will also be a new look on the field, chief among them the entrance of expansion side Western United to the competition.

One of the last major decisions the FFA made regarding the A-League, west Melbourne-based United is one of two sides selected to join the competition last January – south-west Sydney’s Macarthur FC is to play out of Campbelltown Stadium from the 2020-21 season.

Photo: Supplied
Artist impression of the proposed stadium for the new Macarthur South West A-League team.

Securing a licence largely on the back of its promise to build an A-League-first, privately funded, team-owned boutique stadium at Tarneit; United will play home games in Geelong and Ballarat during the facility’s construction – promising it will move into its new home in time for its third season.

Melbourne and Sydney are the historical hotbeds of Australian football; the addition of a new franchise in both cities has the potential to provide much-needed depth to the competition.

Since reaching an average of 13,041 fans in 2013-14, A-League attendances have fallen in every subsequent season, sitting just 10,671 in 2018-19. Television ratings have followed a similar trajectory.

Australian football’s core fan base has faded away, while the casual fan base’s interest shifted to competitors such as the NBL and Big Bash.

“We need to make the product better and we need to attract people,” O’Rourke said.

We’ve got quite a few new coaches that have different playstyles and that, in and of itself, is going to change the dynamic.

“Most, if not all, of the clubs we’ve spoken to have said they’re going to be much more attacking … and much more aggressive in trying to score goals.

“There’s also going to be incentives announced to encourage clubs to play with more under-23s, to ensure that we can unearth some new talent. People are looking for local, home-grown heroes; the next Daniel Arzani coming through the system.

“We’ve spoken to all the clubs to see what they’re going to do on match day to attract families and keep families interested with the whole event and precinct experience.

“We’ve also spent a bit of time talking to stadium police and security … The five clubs sat down with police [in Sydney and Melbourne] about how to better work together so our fans can get a better experience; so that they don’t feel the events are over-policed.”

A LEAGUE – ROUND 1 

Friday: Adelaide United v Sydney FC, Coopers Stadium, 7.30pm
Saturday: Western Sydney Wanderers v Central Coast Mariners, Bankwest Stadium, 5pm;  Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City, Marvel Stadium, 7.30pm.
Sunday: Wellington Phoenix v Western United, Westpac Stadium, 4pm;
Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar, HBF Park, 6pm.
Bye: Newcastle Jets

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Socceroos: Arnold expects goalfeast against Nepal

Socceroos: Arnold expects goalfeast against Nepal

05/10/2019, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29530599

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold expects his strikers to fill their boots in next week’s World Cup qualifier against Nepal.

Arnold’s theme for Australia’s Qatar 2022 qualifying is about being ruthless – and that is the attitude he is calling on Jamie Maclaren, Adam Taggart and Apostolos Giannou to bring against the Group B minnows.

Nepal head to Canberra after winning its most recent qualifier against Taiwan but having started the campaign being belted 7-0 by Kuwait.

Australia defeated Kuwait 3-0 in its opening match, with all their goals coming in the first half through a Mathew Leckie double and a classy strike by Aaron Mooy.

Taggart, given the nod ahead of Maclaren, toiled hard in the Kuwait City heat but was unable to score for his country for the first time since 2013.

Maclaren has one goal in 13 appearances for his country while Giannou’s strike-rate of two in 11 is only marginally better.

With Taggart still in good form for South Korean club Suwon Bluewings and Maclaren banging in goals for Melbourne City in the FFA Cup, Arnold’s expectations are high for the visit by Nepal.

The Socceroos coach says after 12 months of passing on his ideas and tactics, it’s time for his players to deliver consistently on the pitch.

“I’ve changed the way that we play a little bit with the Socceroos to help those boys more with our wingers more inside,” Arnold told Fox Sports.

I really expect these boys to start stepping up now and I don’t think we’ll be talking about the lack of goals for too much longer.

“They’re starting to understand what we’re doing. We’re in total communication with the players all the time. The players have bought in to what we’re doing.”

Arnold has made just one change to his squad for Thursday’s game with Trent Sainsbury left out due to injury, replaced by Bristol City’s Bailey Wright.

Sydney FC pair Rhyan Grant and Andrew Redmayne as well as Maclaren are the only A-League players in the squad with that competition kicking off next week during the international window.

Despite losing both Grant and Redmayne for their season-opener against Adelaide United next Friday, the Sky Blues said they had opted not to request a postponement of the fixture.

“We understand the importance of this opening round of the Hyundai A-League season and maintaining the momentum of the competition as we enter a new and exciting era, so we’ve chosen not to,” Sydney FC chief executive Danny Townsend said.

“We have a very strong squad at our disposal and Steve (Corica) has immense confidence in any player he choses to come in and do a job for the team in Adelaide.”

Arnold has also hinted he’ll make changes to his squad following the Nepal game before taking on Taiwan in Kaohsiung on October 15.

“Trent’s available for the second game,” Arnold said.

“We can change as many players as we like after the first game, it’s not that this squad is set in stone for both games.

“At this stage it is but there can be changes.”

Australia’s players will assemble in Canberra on Monday.

-AAP

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Socceroos: Arnold makes only one change for World Cup qualifiers

Socceroos: Arnold makes only one change for World Cup qualifiers

04/10/2019, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29528011

Defender Bailey Wright replacing injured Trent Sainsbury is the only change made by Socceroos coach Graham Arnold to his squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Nepal and Taiwan.

Sainsbury has been placed on stand-by and replaced by Bristol City’s Wright in the 23-man squad, which is otherwise the same as that named for last month’s qualifying opener against Kuwait.

Captain Mark Milligan has been named having withdrawn before the 3-0 win over Kuwait due to injury.

Arnold said the performance in that comfortable victory in Kuwait City had enabled him to stick with the same group of players for next Thursday’s clash with Nepal in Canberra and the trip to face Taiwan on October 15.

“Our group did very well in their first qualifier away from home, so I am pleased to be able to maintain significant consistency within the squad as we seek to build upon our strong start to qualifying for Qatar,” Arnold said.

“Trent is managing a minor injury but remains on stand-by for the squad should we need to call him in.

Bailey is a big part of our plans and a great player and person to have in the squad, so we are pleased that he will be with us this month.”

Wright has made 23 appearances for the Socceroos and played a full 90 minutes in June’s 1-0 friendly loss to South Korea.

English-based Harry Souttar is the only uncapped player in the squad but may get his chance to make his international debut against the Group B minnows.

With the qualifiers coming either side of the opening weekend of the A-League season, champions Sydney FC will have to make do against Adelaide without fullback Rhyan Grant and goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne after they were both selected.

Striker Jamie Maclaren has also earned a call-up and will be unavailable for Melbourne City when they open their season against cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory on October 12.

As expected Tom Rogic has not been named despite making a goal-scoring return to Celtic’s starting line-up due to his impending wedding in a move green-lighted by Arnold before the start of the season.

But experienced European-based stars Mathew Ryan, Mathew Leckie and Aaron Mooy have all been included after playing crucial roles against Kuwait.

The squad is set to come together in Canberra on Monday ahead of Thursday’s match with Nepal at GIO Stadium.

Nepal were thrashed 7-0 by Kuwait in their group opener but rebounded to post a 2-0 win over Taiwan, who are bottom of the group having lost their first two matches.

SOCCEROOS SQUAD TO PLAY NEPAL AND TAIWAN:

Mustafa Amini, Aziz Behich, Brandon Borrello, Milos Degenek, Apostolos Giannou, Craig Goodwin, Rhyan Grant, Ajdin Hrustic, Jackson Irvine, James Jeggo, Mitchell Langerak, Mathew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Awer Mabil, Jamie Maclaren, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Andrew Redmayne, Mathew Ryan, Brad Smith, Harry Souttar, Adam Taggart, Bailey Wright.

-AAP

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ABC strikes deal with FFA to become free-to-air home of football in Australia

ABC strikes deal with FFA to become free-to-air home of football in Australia

04/10/2019, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29527875

The ABC has struck a landmark deal to become the free-to-air broadcast partner of the A-League, W-League, Socceroos and Matildas.

What the deal includes:

  •  Every Socceroos match, including World Cup qualifiers, live
  •  Every Matildas match, including Olympic qualifiers, live
  • One A-League match live per round, and selected finals on delay
  •  One W-League match per round and every final live

The two-year deal will see one A-League and one W-League match per round broadcast live on ABC TV and iview around the country throughout the entirety of the 2019/20 season.

Every match of the W-League finals will also be available live, and a selection of A-League finals on delay, including the grand final.

It will also mean the Socceroos’ next two rounds of World Cup qualifiers will be broadcast live and free across the ABC and SBS, as well as all of the Matildas’ upcoming international friendlies and Olympic qualifiers.

“We are thrilled to welcome Australian football into the ABC family,” Judith Whelan, the ABC’s Director of Regional and Local, said.

“The ABC has unrivalled reach into every corner of Australia and we will be using that reach to help build the profile of football. We plan to use all our platforms to drive audiences to our coverage on ABC TV.”

The deal means A-League games will be broadcast by ABC TV for the first time, and marks a return for the W-League, which had a home with the ABC from 2008 until 2017.

soccer-broadcast
One A-League match will be broadcast live and free on ABC TV. Photo: AAP

“We have always been a big supporter of women’s sport in this country and will use every means possible to build the biggest audience we can for the W-League,” Ms Whelan said.

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold said it was exciting to have ABC on board for football coverage.

“It is fantastic news that live, free-to-air coverage of a variety of elite Australian football will feature on the ABC,” Arnold said.

“I remember when I was playing in the National Soccer League that the ABC showed the match of the day, and provided great exposure of the competition.

“The ABC provides a truly national platform across many mediums — TV, radio, and online — so having the ABC involved to provide coverage of the Socceroos, Matildas, A-League, and W-League is a big win for the game.

“The Socceroos will be the first team to be shown live by the ABC as part of this agreement next Thursday night when we play Nepal in Canberra.

Catch the Socceroos World Cup qualifier on ABC TV. Photo: AP

“We expect to put on a great display for fans across the nation and it is welcome news that many more supporters will be able to watch us live throughout our journey to Qatar.”

FFA chairman Chris Nikou said the “reach and audience” of the ABC would complement the current pay TV broadcast deal with Fox Sports.

“The ABC has been a long-term supporter of football on both television and radio, and we are delighted that our partnership will grow further over the next two years,” Mr Nikou said.

“We are also extremely excited about the network-wide support ABC will bring to football. ABC is the home of iconic programming that Australians have grown up consuming and we look forward to working with the network to deliver more football content and cross promotion.”

The A-League season begins on Friday October 11.

soccer-w-league
Every W-League final, including the grand final, will be broadcast live and free. Photo: AAP

-ABC

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Relief for Socceroos coach as striker Jamie Maclaren receives all-clear

Relief for Socceroos coach as striker Jamie Maclaren receives all-clear

02/10/2019, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29524202

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has received some good news with Jamie Maclaren given the all clear on a knee injury by Melbourne City medical staff.

Maclaren played most of City’s 5-1 FFA Cup semi-final win over Brisbane Strikers on Tuesday despite ongoing soreness following a knock earlier in the week.

Following the match in which Maclaren scored two goals and set up another, City coach Erick Mombaerts said he was unsure if the 26-year-old would be fit to be selected in Australia’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Nepal and Taiwan.

After assessing the injury upon the team’s return to Melbourne on Wednesday, Maclaren was given a clean bill of health.

“The knee injury was due to having it caught in a tackle early in the week with mild soreness in training but no damage to the knee,” City said in a statement.

“He had no issue at all during the game and will be fine going forward.”

Arnold will name his 23-man squad on Friday for the matches in Canberra on October 10 and Kaohsiung on October 15.

Maclaren is expected to be one of only a handful of A-League players named in the squad, along with Sydney FC pair Andrew Redmayne and Rhyan Grant.

Melbourne Victory’s Andrew Nabbout will be hoping for a recall after missing out on last month’s 3-0 win in Kuwait, which kickstarted Australia’s journey to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Fellow Victory recruit Robbie Kruse is doubtful, however, due to a hamstring complaint.

Celtic’s Tom Rogic will certainly be overlooked after being granted a leave pass for his impending marriage and to continue his recovery from off-season knee surgery.

Hull City defender Callum Elder was expected to get a call-up but a calf injury looks like it has scuppered his chances of a Socceroos debut.

Star European-based players such as goalkeeper Mathew Ryan and goalscorers from the Kuwait match Aaron Mooy and Mathew Leckie will be selected, but Mooy and Leckie may not start both games as Arnold looks to give his fringe players a chance to shine.

Nepal was thrashed 7-0 by Kuwait in their group opener but rebounded to post a 2-0 win over Taiwan, which is bottom of the group having lost its first two matches.

-AAP

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https://thenewdaily.com.au/sport/football/2019/10/02/socceroos-jamie-maclaren-all-clear/
Sydney FC raring to defend A-League title

Sydney FC raring to defend A-League title

02/10/2019, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29523613

Sydney FC defender Rhyan Grant says they are primed for a tough A-League season opener, after an off-season of change at the defending champions.

The Sky Blues have undergone a significant period of change, with Alex Brosque retiring, Alex Wilkinson taking over as club captain, Josh Brillante departing for Melbourne City and Siem de Jong returning to Europe.

Grant said the defending A-League champions were relishing the prospect of a trip to Adelaide to face the Reds first-up.

“It’s always a tough game for us going to Adelaide so we’re expecting another tough game. It’s kicking off the league – the first game for us and for the league so it’ll be exciting to be a part of that,” Grant said.

Sydney have recruited heavily this off-season, with the likes of Kosta Barbarouses, Ryan McGowan, Luke Brattan and Alexander Baumjohann joining the reigning champions.

“I think all the new players we have brought in have fitted in really well and really quickly,” Grant said.

“It was only a matter of days or a week and everyone felt like they were at home.”

Grant said McGowan, who is entering his first season in the A-League after a long career overseas, had proved a significant inclusion.

“He’s obviously a great player but a real good fella too and brings a lot of energy and a lot of laughter to training which is very important,” Grant said.

“So we’re stoked to have him at Sydney.”

Grant has enjoyed a meteoric rise – making his Socceroos debut in November 2018, then establishing himself as Australia’s starting right-back.

“I rarely take the time to really think about it – I just go along with it, because it’s life at the minute and it’s very enjoyable and I’m just trying to make the most of the opportunities I’m getting at the minute and trying to play as many games as I can and keep enjoying it,” Grant said.

“So for me, as good as it’s been, it’s just business as usual. I think that’s pretty cliche but it’s my way of approaching it and just trying to keep going as far as I can and improve and try and stick around that national team and continue to do well for Sydney.”

-AAP

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https://thenewdaily.com.au/sport/football/2019/10/02/sydney-fc-aleague/
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