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2008/9 A-League Season Preview

The 2008/9 A-League season kicks off this week in what looks the last time it will kick-off as an eight team league.

So once again it will be another 21 matches in order to win the minor premiership or reach the finals and being an even league as it is I think it's very hard to see exactly who might come up tops.

I will have a quick look at the season ahead and look at the teams and see what has changed since last season.

Its very hard at this point to even try to pinpoint which team might reach the finals because there have been a few changes over the off-season for all the teams.

Melbourne Victory won the pre-season cup but I don't think it will translate to much because when the season proper starts all teams will have a different approach.

But by winning the pre-season cup it shows that Victory are better than what they were at the start of last season where I think they finished bottom of that same cup and when the season started it was hard to get goals until the last third of the season.

This year's team on paper looks balanced and I watched the team play Whittlesea Zebras in a friendly and I was impressed by what they did especially in the second half.

I think the most important addition will be Michael Thwaite and I don't expect Jose Luis Lopez to click straight away. Upfront the addition of Ney Fabiano is welcome and I hope that coach Ernie Merrick will choose the forwards on form to make sure that there is competition.

Adelaide did well in the Asian Champions League but they have since lost Bruce Djite and Nathan Burns to European clubs. They have added Robert Younis, Fabian Barbiero and Cristiano and its very hard to tell what impact these players will have when the season starts.

Sydney FC's marquee player this time is John Aloisi. I think Simon Colosimo will be their most important acquisition he has so much experience in the A-League and was very influential at Perth Glory.

Newcastle Jets are the champions and I expect them to continue with their fast flowing football and getting results in difficult matches.

They now have Edmundo Zura as their marquee player and he can only be judged after playing a few matches for them. They also now have Kaz Patafta and I am keen to see whether he will be given more of chance by coach Gary Van Egmond than what he got at Victory.

The Central Coast Mariners will no longer have the services of John Aloisi but they have new talent in Dylan Macallister and Adrian Caceres.

Perth Glory lost Colosimo to Sydney FC but they have also brought in Amaral, Eugene Dadi and Adriano Pellegrino.

The Queensland Roar reached the finals last season and I am sure they will be keen of doing the same this season.

To help the Roar do that will be Sergio Van Dijk, Tim Smits, Isaka Cernak and Tommy Oar, David Dodd and Luke DeVere.

This will be the second season for the Wellington Phoenix and therefore naturally I expect them to do better than last season. Among the players they have added to their ranks are Manny Muscat, Leilei Gao and Adam Kwasnik.

By reaching the pre-season cup final I think it will not be surprising to see the Phoenix reach the finals as well but that will call for consistency especially in the away matches.

Once again I will be playing the A-League tipping competition on TipsChallenge and hope that me and Victory will do well this season.

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