South Melbourne coach Chris Taylor has acknowledged the timing of the FFA Cup semi-final once again disadvantaged the member federation club after his side’s 5-1 loss to Sydney FC.

Despite Wednesday night’s match-up being an National Premier League club pitted against the reigning A-League champions, Taylor thought the heavy final margin of the game could’ve been much less had South Melbourne come in under prime condition.

Taylor said the change must be made to align the NPL with the A-League in order to fix this and give football in Australia one true season which would provide better opportunities for NPL players, clubs and those competing in the Cup.

“I think the two should run concurrently and then the A-League would benefit because you’ve got players playing competitive fixtures at the same time and can get called as adequate injury-replacements,” Taylor said.

“I think that’s the ideal thing. That way you’ve got an automatic feed to the A-League. That’s probably one of the reasons it doesn’t happen so much at the moment.”

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South Melbourne came into Wednesday’s tie with just one game played in the last seven weeks and Taylor – sporting a healthy bronze hue after holidaying in Bali – reckons his side deserved a more flattering margin.

“We just would’ve liked the scoreline to be more respectable. 5-1 looks like an absolute drubbing but I thought there were passages of the game where we competed quite well considering they’re the best team in Australia,” Taylor said.

From its inception the FFA Cup was designed so there’ll always be an NPL club in the competition’s semi-final but the timing of the Cup in accordance with the NPL season means the lower league teams play the penultimate phase nearly a month into their league off-season.

Changes to align both seasons could also benefit A-League youth players playing in the NPL to then making the jump up to the A-League as Taylor outlined, which could also spell the end of the National Youth League.

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“If the A-League is played from October through to May, I think the NPL should be the same,” Taylor said. “There’s probably not much as much need for the (National) Youth League which has probably not been that successful if we look at the way our national teams are going at youth level.”

Despite the skewed nature of South Melbourne’s season, Taylor still thought his side put on a good enough display against superior opposition.

“What I was pleased about was we created chances right through the game. We had a couple of shouts for penalties, we got on the end of things, we had a couple of good crosses we probably could’ve done better with.

“All in all, I don’t think the gap is massive,” Taylor said.

“We’re part-timers, we train three nights a week with no competitive games; that makes it very, very hard against a team who’s top class.”

There was also an unfortunate blow for South Melbourne with star playmaker Marcus Schroen taken off the field after 16 minutes; Taylor said he expects the injury to be the 24-year-old’s third anterior cruciate ligament tear.

“He said it felt exactly the same as when he’s done it before. Without proper diagnosis we can’t say too much at the moment but it doesn’t look good.”

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Football and Aussie rules commentator, writer and radio host/producer from Melbourne.