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Early kick-off disadvantages Newcastle

This weekend will see the last matches of the A-League regular season being played and we still have four teams vying for the remaining three positions in the finals. The fact that the four matches are being played at different times makes it unfair especially for Newcastle Jets who are going to play first on Friday night.

After Newcastle's dramatic draw in Perth last weekend they now need to win to guarantee a place in the finals or draw and then depend on a result in the match between Queensland Roar and Sydney FC to be played on Saturday.

If Newcastle were to draw with Melbourne then Queensland and Sydney can just play out for a draw which will guarantee both teams a place in the finals. Why would either team attack and risk a counter attack and end up losing and out of the finals?

I wouldn't have expected all the four matches in this round to have been played at the same time because New Zealand Knights and Perth Glory are both out of contention and they should have played at their own time but the other three matches I think should have been played at the same time to make it fair to all four teams vying for the three finals places.

Whilst the team having the biggest disadvantage is Newcastle, the team having the biggest advantage is Adelaide. Adelaide play on Sunday and by then they will be knowing exactly what they need to do to get what position on the final ladder. In the event of a draw in the earlier matches then they will get second place automatically and therefore in that case they can afford to field a weakened side because a result wouldn't be that important anymore and keep their key stars fresh for the finals.

I hope that in future seasons the A-League organisers will make sure that the final fixtures are played concurrently. Hard as it may be due to the differing time zones, its the only fair way to finish off a season.

Good point, but the sticking point here could be television. For Foxtel to show all the matches live, the matches cannot all be played at the same time.

Roy, yes television plays a part in that I think Foxtel's agreement is to show all four matches live every round and they have done that very well this season. But for this last round they could just show one match live and update us with the scores from the other three matches.

Newcastle have won 4 nil tonight and are therefore in the finals and so the draw never happened which could have made things interesting in the Queensland/Sydney match. However, it means that after tomorrow's match one of Sydney or Queensland will be out of the finals.

Wes, given the way Melbourne has played in the last few weeks, it seems to me like they are the weakest link going into the finals. Getting the minor premiership so early may not have helped them that much, what do you think?

Thanks for the comment Tim. In a way you are right. I think its a bit difficult to get the balance right - keep the players fresh for the finals and win the remaining matches but having said that I think the side hasn't been playing well lately and hence you think they are the 'weakest link' into finals.

I still think Victory will still be able to challenge in the finals because the players that took us on a great seven match unbeaten run are still there and apart from last night the away record is second to none and should be an asset for the away matches in the finals.

Winning the minor premiership was good because it took the tension away but unfortunately out also went the focus.

I think this is something the FFA will look at reviewing next season. In Thursday's Age newspaper Kevin Muscat also raised this issue of a staggered last round.

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