Tuesday 20 February 2018 / 10:48 PM


Several new signings fired, Newcastle shocked the comp and a blunder decided the Big Blue. All that plus much more from an action-packed opening weekend of the 2017/18 A-League season.

Kamau kicks City off in style

A pair of top-four favourites got things underway on Friday night, with Bruce Kamau ensuring it was a winning start for Melbourne City under new coach Warren Joyce.

The 2-0 victory for City featured some moments of brilliance, but across the 90 it was a dour encounter with both sides having their share of cobwebs to blow out. Through the opening half hour attacking opportunities were hard to come by, and Kamau’s opener couldn’t have come at a better time when he struck low to the right in the final minute of the half.

Marquee signing Massimo Maccarone had some promising touches and threatened to equalise for the Roar, but Brisbane’s execution was off more often than not at AAMI Park. Kamau grabbed his second, via a fortuitous deflection, with 15 to go, and that was enough to give his side the points on opening night.

Jets demolish Mariners in dream start

After collecting the wooden spoon last season, the Newcastle Jets lasted just five minutes before conceding their first goal of the new campaign. To say things were looking ominous for Ernie Merrick’s side would be an understatement, but what unfolded over the next 85 minutes suggested brighter days are ahead for the embattled club.

Five goals – including three from their big off-season recruit Roy O’Donovan against his former side – and an clean defensive effort for the rest of the match marked a rather incredible season-opening F3 Derby. After O’Donovan secured his hat-trick inside the first 40 minutes, the Jets added strikes to Joseph Champness nine minutes from time and Dimitri Petratos in the 90th, to record the biggest F3 Derby win in A-League history.

FC claim Big Blue GF re-match

A horror own goal was all that separated last year’s two best teams on Saturday night, as defending champions Sydney FC got home 1-0 to continue their reign of dominance over the Melbourne Victory.

Melbourne had stormed out of the gates, pressing high up the field to dominate the early chances, getting the ball into the box 10 times in the opening 20 minutes. But Sydney FC seemed to click into gear midway through the half, with Adrian Mierzejewski coming close to scoring on a couple of occasions. In the end Victory defender Thomas Deng did the job for them, banging the ball past his own keeper on 53 minutes.

Down three first-choice players, Melbourne battled on valiantly and had late chances fall for Besart Berisha and Rhys Williams, but the FC defence, led well by Alex Wilkinson, couldn’t be broken.

Nix and United can’t be split

It was a game that got off to a flyer in Wellington, with two goals in the first 10 minutes, but that proved to be all either side could muster in attack in an eventual 1-1 draw.

New signing Dario Vidosic scored on one of his first touches for the Phoenix, accurately nodding in a header past Paul Izzo on five minutes to give the hosts an early lead. But the joy was short lived, and five minutes later United were even following Johan Absalonsen’s powerful headed effort in between two defenders. Both sides had chances through the second – none better than George Blackwood’s hit from close range which required a brilliant save from 18-year-old Nix keeper Keegan Smith on A-League debut – but the draw a fair result in the end.

Wanderers survive late Glory raid

The Western Sydney Wanderers won 2-1 to taste victory in the opening round for the first time in their history, as the Perth Glory were made to pay for a nightmare period in the final three minutes of the first half.

After going toe-to-toe for the first 40 minutes, the Wanderers turned it on to punish Perth just before the break, scoring twice to grab control of the contest and establish what would turn out to be an unassailable lead. The first was a Spanish special, with Alvaro Cejudo putting Oriol Riera through on goal where he finished with class, before Jumpei Kusukami found the back of the net right on half-time.

Perth finished the stronger though and gave the hosts a late scare after Brendan Hamill scored an own goal, but Western Sydney held on to give new interim coach Hayden Foxe a winning start.

[YouTube – AUS Insider]

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Corey Rosser

One of CBS’s newest contributors, Te Aroha product Corey is the New Zealand correspondent for NRL.com, the editor for the excellent new site Kiwi League Central, and a guru of the local Auckland rugby league scene.

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