Why removing international breaks was the right move

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FFA’s Greg O’Rouke announced prior to the start of this year’s A-League season, it was in the best interest to maintain a regular playing schedule during international breaks.

The decision like any other sparked debate in the A-League community, but for what reason?

The 2019/20 season was already going to be one of complication with the inclusion of Western United, making it 11 competing teams.

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With two extra rounds and weekly byes, the fixture was unlike the year before, so it made sense not to make it more problematic with the addition of international breaks.

It was a recent game that caused quite the stir, particularly for Melbourne Victory fans.

The anticipated Big Blue was scheduled for a November 16 kick-off but due to the number of expected absences from both sides, the game was moved to November 17.

This allowed Sydney FC stars Rhyan Grant and Andrew Redmayne to return in time for the game but Victory were left without Storm Roux, Thomas Deng, Kenny Athiu and Elvis Kamsoba.

Kosta Barbarouses chose to not play with the New Zealand international team. Maybe it was because of the excitement to play his old side, but he still made that decision.

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Those Victory players who were called up for international duties could have also made the same decision.

Maybe playing your old side for the first time was a good enough reason to decline an offer, but I do not see why you would decline an offer for many other reasons.

An A-League side will be waiting for you upon your return, one game is not the end of the world when the opportunity to add international caps to your record is a consideration.

Of course, going into each round of the A-League the club’s priority is to put forward their best team to ensure a win.

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It must have been tough for Josh Hope and Brandon Lauton coming into the starting 11 knowing they were not the first choice, with the publicity on Victory’s weekly starting side not being available.

A club should have the confidence within each player on their list and believe if they are named to start, they will perform for the side and play for the win.

I will beat you to the comment – if Victory had its regular side, they may have had a chance of winning.

Let me remind you of Victory’s start to the season, 1-2-2 before the round six clash.

There were inconsistencies and concerns before the players became unavailable, so to blame the 2-1 loss on their absence seems slim.

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Players are aware football is both a national and international sport and if you are a part of the talented bunch, you will get the call-up.

Next season the A-League and FFA should consider the placement of big games, like the Big Blue, but they were right in not adding international breaks for the possibility of missing players.

You can not please everyone but FFA and the A-League tried.

Feature Image Credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Tricia Mifsud
Covering Melbourne Victory during the 2019/2020 season. Bachelor of Media and Communications (Sports Journalism) at Latrobe University. Dedicated to writing articles that sports fans want to read.

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