They called football the sleeping giant of Australian sport. And boy has it awoken. (And don’t call it
soccer, or it will stomp your face like a giant would). Since the success of the Socceroos in the last
world cup, football has been steadily increasing in popularity and interest. Nationally, the A league
is enjoying its biggest season since its inception. Here are five reasons why you should be paying
attention to the A league right now.
The Western Sydney Wanderers:
After the failures on the gold coast and the Northern Territory, The FFA needed the next club to
stick, and they hit a home run with the Wanderers.
It’s incredible the amount of passion this club has been able to generate in a short period of time.
Parramatta Stadium, or “Wanderland” as their fans have dubbed it, is an atmosphere like no other.
The clubs most dedicated fans the RBB – Red and Black Block are already the most vocal in the
league. When they chant or jump in unison it adds another element to the game entirely.
The jerseys are selling like hot cakes and with good reason. The traditional Red and black stripes are
one of the best looking in the league at the moment.
One of the highlights of the season has to be the first Sydney derby at Allianz Arena. The atmosphere
was electric. The longstanding Sydney FC fans from The Cove at one end and the new kids on the
block, the RBB on the other, trading cheer for cheer, taunt for taunt. In the end, the Wanderers
exacted payback for the first 1-0 loss by a two goal victory. This will be a rivalry that will grow for
years to come.
The Wanderers are surging up the table at the moment. They are brimming with confidence, and
crowds growing every game. This is a new team done right.
The Galacticos of the A league.
Probably the most talked about aspect of the 2012/13 A league season is the arrival of European
superstars Alessandro Del Piero and Emile Hesky. The question is have they been worth the cost of
signing them? The short answer is yes. In a big way.
Over 35 000 people turned up to see players match up in round 2 at Allianz stadium, which was a
regular season record. Sydney FC has been struggling to find the best way to play Del Piero. But
when ADP is on the ball, you can see the class. Sure the pace may not be there anymore, but players
still struggle to get the ball off him. And in any dead ball scenario, watch out. The FFA couldn’t
have scripted his first goal better. A free kick on the edge of the area, which curled past keeper Ben
Kennedy sent the fans into raptures.
Hesky has been all class as well, netting a bunch of hard fought goals, with his trademark physical
presence throwing defenders off all over the league.
These signing have to be seen as a coup for the league. They are Marquee players in the truest
sense, and will open up the doors for similar signings in the future.
The Crowds are up and the goals are flowing.
Average crowd numbers are up about 35-40%. There have been some huge crowds this season. Even
smaller clubs like the central coast are pulling bigger numbers thanks to their success on the ladder.
Let’s be honest, no one likes nil all draws. One thing Australian football cannot be accused of is being
conservative. The football is free flowing and the goals are coming effortlessly. Some football purists
have called it undisciplined in the past. Forget them. This is entertaining!
Over 15000 witnessed the Mariners 7-2 drubbing of Sydney FC. The Annual Melbourne derby pulled
another solid 26 000 where Victory finally broke the hoodoo over little brothers Melbourne Heart in
an injury time thriller. The Wanderers saw out 2012 with a 6-1 victory over the powerhouse Adelaide
united. These are the type of games people want to see, and they are happening regularly.
The Competition is close.
There are no easy victories in the Hyundai A- League this season. Bottom of the table Sydney FC
took down the seemingly untouchable Central Coast Mariners 1-0 at home. After going 2 nil down,
Wellington put together a masterful 3-2 comeback against Melbourne heart late in the year. And
against all odds, Perth Glory took all three points with a 1-0 victory away to Brisbane Roar. With all
teams being so competitive, it’s easy to get behind your local team and hope they can make a run
for the finals. Anything is still possible this season, and every team has a realistic chance of making
The Rest of the world is taking notice as well, scouting out the young talent that is growing here.
Marco Rojas from Melbourne Victory and Tommy Rogic of Central Coast are two players reportedly
getting close looks in from several EPL clubs. This is almost unheard of for top flight Australian
It’s great for the family and will inspire kids to take up the sport.
Going to the game is a great family day. For starters, In comparison to other Australian sports
it’s affordable. Tickets rarely exceed $10 for children and $25 for adults. Keep on the lookout for
discounts, as over summer there are several multi game deals that are running to save even more.
As part of the Summer of football, kids under the age of 12 get into all Wanderers games free.
Anything to get the kids out of the house when the weather is great! Football has always been
a popular sport at a youth level. It’s safe, fun and builds character for kids growing up. Having
something tangible which is popular at a national level gives young athletes something to aspire to.
That has to be worth something.
So pick your colours, grab some mates and get out there!
Daniel Lavorato is a Social Community Manager at Harvey Norman. He is also an avid fan of all thing sports and likes to track his exercise/training achievements by the latest gadgets & accessories. A range of fitness accessories are available at http://www.harveynorman.com.au/fitness.