Moss: “Strike while the iron is hot”


In what has been a tumultuous week for the Socceroos the shining light has been the launch of version nine of the Hyundai A-League.

In what has been a tumultuous week for the Socceroos the shining light has been the launch of version nine of the Hyundai A-League.

With national coach Holger Osieck relieved of his post last Saturday following a second consecutive 6-0 hiding at the hands of a top 30 ranked nation – this time France (25th) which was preceded by the Brazil (8th) clash – the troubles at international level proved how strong the A-League has become.

How and why?

Because the crowds flocked to all opening round games and the standard of the games didn-t let anyone down.

The two biggest games of the weekend – the Mariners-Western Sydney (17,134) and Melbourne Victory-Melbourne Heart (45,000) clashes – ended with the spoils shared by the crowds created an electric atmosphere at both venues.

Sydney FC got off to a flyer – a 2-0 victory over Newcastle – in front of 20,000 with superstar Alessandro Del Piero on the score sheet while new Adelaide coach Josep Gombau celebrated a winning debut with a 3-1 victory over Perth in the City of Churches in front of a promising 10,000-odd.

It-s not that long ago that the A-League needed the Socceroos for oxygen and while it is not the time to sit back and relax, it-s safe to say the domestic competition is now standing tall on it-s own two feet.

In fact now is the time to work twice as hard to reinforce and consolidate our standing in the mainstream Australian sporting psyche.

Players, coaches, referees, administrators and supporters must strike while the iron is hot and use the record opening round crowds and television viewership as a springboard into this season and beyond.

Of course the national team is a massive issue that needs sorting out and that will happen at coaching level sooner rather than later. It has been and always will be the flagship of our great game but the fact the national competition has developed a heartbeat of it-s own now is something to be extremely proud of.

The buzz around the Central Coast leading into last weekend-s clash with Western Sydney was amazing and the same can be said of the streets around Bluetongue Stadium and in the stands inside the ground before, during and after the 1-1 draw.

Let-s hope the Socceroos sort themselves out in time to five a strong showing at next year-s World Cup and, more importantly in a lot of ways, at the Asian Cup here in Australia in early 2015.

But the powers that be need not be reminded what happened last time all their efforts, resources and money went into the national team at the expense of the A-League!

On the field, the Mariners gave as good as we got against the Wanderers last Saturday night but a draw was ultimately a fair result.

It has given us a sold platform from which to build into the season and Graham Arnold was quietly happy with a lot of things that came out of the game.

Our defensive structure – the cornerstone of our success over recent years – was fantastic for the most part and new signings Storm Roux and Marcos Flores, in particular, shone on debut for the Club.

Justin Pasfield, too, did the shirt proud and epitomised the team-s determination to maintain Bluetongue-s Fortress-like reputation with a great double save in the first half from point-blank range.

The team heads to Melbourne to take on Heart tomorrow night buoyed by the return of Mikey McGlinchey from international duty with New Zealand and determined to return on Sunday with all three points. Kick-off tomorrow on Fox Sports is at 5:30pm.

Melbourne Heart vs. Central Coast Mariners – Hyundai A-League 2013/14 Round 2
Saturday 19 October, 2013
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 5:30pm
Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter! The official match hashtag is #MHTvCCM
Watch: Live on Fox Sports 1 & 1HD
Listen: Live on ABC Grandstand & Coast FM