As the A-League prepares to welcome the 10 millionth fan through the gates at Friday's opening match of round 10 between Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory at Hindmarsh Stadium, Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has found an ally in his call for breaks in the league for international matches.
Melbourne Heart coach, and former Socceroo, John Aloisi has called for the A-League to consider giving teams without their internationals a break saying it was not only a case of the player being absent but also they need to consider the condition they are in after playing four games in eight days as is the case in the current East Asian Cup.
Aloisi was without three regulars as the Heart played out a scoreless draw with Sydney FC, missing two players, in the last of the round nine games on Sunday.
As ever, it was another tight round with the other four matches won by the odd goal.
The Central Coast Mariners, well-led by man-of-the-match All Whites midfielder Michael McGlinchey, came from behind to beat Adelaide United 2-1 in the match of the round, at Bluetongue Stadium.
English import Nick Montgomery sealed it for the home side late in the game played in sweltering conditions.
One third of the way through the 27-match regular season, the Mariners have dropped points in just three games, all away from home, and lead Adelaide by a point.
The Phoenix, after being beaten three times in a row from round four to six before bouncing back in their last three with wins in Newcastle and Wellington and a draw in Perth, are now up to fifth and have three of their next four games at home.
They meet Sydney FC for the second time in Wellington on Sunday.
A 2-0 win over Sydney in their opening game kicked-started the Phoenix season and Herbert will be looking for more of the same this week especially as Sydney marquee player Alessandro del Piero is under an injury cloud after limping out of the game against the Heart with a dodgy hamstring.
The match of the round will be between Adelaide and the Victory with Adelaide coach John Kosmina keen to reverse the earlier result when the Victory, at home, won 2-1 in round three.
Central Coast will visit Newcastle intent on reversing their only loss this season.
The Wanderers, hurting from the loss in Wellington when they felt they had two decent penalty claims turned down, meet a Brisbane Roar side who sneaked home 1-0 against the Jets at Suncorp Stadium.By Terry Maddaford Email Terry