The Wellington Phoenix have an opportunity to entrench themselves in the mid-table mix if they can beat Western Sydney at home on Sunday.
A win against Newcastle and a battling 1-1 draw away to Perth, courtesy of a Jeremy Brockie equaliser, would indicate the Phoenix has arrested the slump that threatened to derail their season.
Central Coast Mariners, buoyed by a first regular season home win over Brisbane Roar, entertain John Kosmina's Adelaide United on Saturday.
The South Australians will head to Bluetongue Stadium on the back of a 2-1 away win over Sydney FC and with a two-point lead over the Mariners. The top two teams after eight rounds have lost only once this season and will still hold the top two spots whatever the outcome.
The 2-1 win over long-time adversaries Brisbane was another boost for the Central Coast side who have scored more goals than any team in the A-League.
In scoring from an 81st minute Michael McGlinchey header, 19-year-old sensation Tomas Rogic took the Mariners' season tally to 15 - a goal more than Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets who, tellingly, have both conceded 16 compared to the Mariners' seven.
It was the first time Central Coast have beaten the defending champions Brisbane Roar in Gosford.
The Coasters and Adelaide go into round nine on the back of five-match unbeaten runs. Victory for the visitors would take them a handy five points clear at the top of the table.
Adelaide needed a late Dario Vidosic strike to silence the 13,317 fans at Allianz Stadium and hand Sydney FC their fourth straight loss.
Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond was again bemoaning his team's defensive lapses as they conceded three goals in being held 3-3 on their trip to play Melbourne Heart.
Richard Garcia gave the Heart the lead after just 33 seconds. Josip Tadic converted a penalty four minutes later to give the hosts a 2-0 lead but in the end the Jets scrambled a point with an 86th minute Ryan Griffith penalty.
Melbourne Victory overcame the odds to claim a 2-0 win away to Western Sydney Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium.
Reduced to 10 men when Sam Gallagher was controversially sent off in the 16th minute, the Victory got home with an own goal late in the first half and a second from Archie Thompson on the hour.By Terry Maddaford Email Terry