Byline Banter: First Edition

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Welcome to the first Byline Banter for the season. Casting a look back at all the weekend’s action and conveniently categorising it under words that start with B!



Brilliance
David Villa, what else could it be? A-League fans expected class from the man, and boy did they get it. There would have been much eye-rolling and groaning before the match by Melbourne City fans who were disappointed in the fact that Villa started from the bench.

No doubt that was forgotten when he got Seb all-Ryalled-up and coolly slotted the ball home to save the revamped Yarraside outfit. Sydney FC tried their best to limit his possession, but he frequently looked dangerous with the ball at his feet. So what’s the best way to stop him? Hacking, maybe?

But the brilliance isn’t simply limited to his silky on-field performance.  His goal created headlines around the world and brought focus to the A-League on an international stage, well at least a little bit. After all, that’s what he is here for right? Building the City brand?

Many football fans in Spain and the US would be hearing the words “Melbourne City” for the first time. The fact that A-League viewers get to see a world class striker is just a bonus. But it sure is one sweet perk.

Honourable mentions

  • Corey Gamerio’s goal
  • Bruce Djite laughing about what Matt McKay said to Ben Williams
  • Damien Duff’s performance against Sydney

Blunder
Newcastle Jets. Jets fans could be forgiven for already losing hope this season after the heartbreaking injury-time loss to the Central Coast Mariners. The Jets should have driven back up the F3 with at least some of the biscuits after having more than enough chances in the match.

The devastating loss overshadows the bright start shown by the Jets in their first match under new coach Phil Stubbins. On paper the midfield of Jacob Pepper, Taylor Regan and James Virgili was less exciting than finding out your grandma has Facebook but the trio provided better than expected service to the frontline of Jonny Steele, Joel Griffiths and Edson Montano and many would argue the Jets should have won the match.

It’s a tough life following the Jets, but you get used to disappointment. Mario Jardel and Edmundo Zura, do those names ring a bell with anyone? Realistically, since winning the A-League in 07/08 the Jets haven’t looked close to replicating it.

The Novocastrians have only appeared in the finals on one occasion since they claimed the trophy, reaching the second week of the finals after limping past Gold Coast United on penalties in 09/10. The Jets faithful will be praying this loss isn’t an omen for the season ahead.

Upbeat Jets fans will no doubt be saying that on any other day they would have come away with the win. But that’s a record that’s long been broken.

Honourable mentions

  • Taylor Regan’s efforts to win a foul
  • James Donachie’s own goal
  • Ben Williams attempting to referee

Beauty
Melbourne Victory’s performance. The word sublime comes to mind when describing their 4-1 drubbing of Western Sydney Wanderers. The RBB may not want to hear it but the match was over before the oranges came out. In fairness, the Victory performance made the Wanderers look worse than they were and you have to wonder what difference Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Matthew Spiranovic would have made.

Take nothing though away from the Victory who should now be considered outright favourites to take out the league this year. Much of the praise was thrown in the direction of Besart Berisha and deservedly so but his backup ensemble of Leigh Broxham, Carl Valeri, Gui Finkler and Matthieu Delpierre all played well.

Apart from Berisha, Kiwi international Kosta Barbarouses was possibly the standout of the night and looks to be one who has lifted his game on last season.

Honourable mentions

  • Mariners players who matched their boots to their shirts
  • Mitch Nichols’s glorious right leg
  • The Wellington Phoenix seductive red keepers kit

Beastly
Matt McKay. The Socceroo will be missing for two weeks following his outburst directed at referee Ben Williams. McKay should have settled down and taken the cheese on the chin as his subsequent ire shown at being booked for dissent earned him the red and an early shower.

Better should be expected from a seasoned domestic and international performer.

The match review committee has given McKay an additional week for the spray, adding to the automatic one week for the red card. Roar will not challenge the ruling and McKay now misses out on the away trip to Perth Glory next week and the Sydney visit the week after.

Honourable mentions

  • The sauce bottles at Bluetongue Stadium, they’re obnoxiously massive!
  • The relentless Adelaide attack on Craig Goodwin

Bemusement – Observation of the week
Why does Matt McKay leave his shirt tucked in, it makes him look angrier than what he is. Perhaps he was just complimenting Williams on how neatly his own shirt was tucked in. Do you think either of them has their shirt tucked into their underpants?

Get involved with the observation of the week by tweeting what catches your eye to @thefootballsack and using #bylinebanter

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