I bet the FFA kinda wishes that Sydney hadn't won tonight. Now we know the top two will be Adelaide and Sydney, which means neither Central Coast or Newcastle have really anything to play for in their games this weekend; they aren't even playing each other which would have added a bit of spice. Still, we're playing the Coast, so the less enthused they are, the better.
And the FFA -- like me -- probably wishes that the final four hadn't been decided last week - the crowd at Suncorp for a dead-rubber will be interesting, so will the size of the fickle Newcastle crowd -- but at least it didn't affect tonight's record crowd of 25,557 in Sydney. And the best thing about the crowd, which still looked anaemic in the expanse of the stadium, was that they sounded like a football crowd. The atmosphere for the few minutes surrounding the handball, penalty and first goal was actually like it was a real football match...
And not only do we know that Sydney and Adelaide are the top two, we know that they will be playing each other again next week, and the week after, and then most probably two weeks after that. I don't know if I've written it down here or in the other place, but it seemed obvious from early in the season that there were two standout teams (guess which ones,) a bunch of average teams, with the Central Coast as the top of them, then some mediocre teams (of which we were threatening to be the only one for a while there,) and New Zealand.
So, the arrangement of the semis... Adelaide vs. Sydney and Newcastle vs. Central Coast over two legs. The winner of the first fixture (the major semi-final) gets a bye, the loser of the second fixture is out. The other two play each other. The loser is out and the winner goes on to play the winner of the major semi in the final.
My tips? Toss a coin for Sydney v Adelaide, but the stats listed below say Sydney has the edge. Central Coast over Newcastle, unless Newcastle can turn around from last week's drubbing. Then Adelaide over Central Coast and it's back to Sydney v Adelaide for the final which this time, I'll say, will be won by Adelaide.
>>>Ahh, New Zealand, poor suckers. I read an article a while ago about the problems lone Kiwi teams in Australian competitions have, most notably that every second weekend there was no game of that sport played in the entire country which made it hard to for supporters and sponsors to get behind it, but it's so long ago that it would take too much effort to find again*. But now I'm reading in the NZ Herald that there's speculation that they'd try to get Bleiberg if Qld hired Farina.
*why do people keep putting up money to back the teams? Greed. Dreams of the big pay-off in the Australian market.
>>>One thing I was saying last week was that Sydney vs. Adelaide would be interesting over a two-legged match. Tonight, I saw the scores for the previous matches this year and they were Sydney 2-1 at home and Adelaide 3-2 at home, which makes an aggregate of 4-4, but Sydney have one more away goal, so they would go through.
>>>And if anyone is interested in 'what my heart felt' (see last week), I was going for Adelaide tonight so that it would give one of the other teams a chance to make number two.