FPP-LB-020918

VARgate

After howls of (mostly) disapproval for most of the season about the application of the video assistant referee (VAR) system, FFA now concedes - after an absolute shocker of a mistake in the A-League grand final - that it will reconsider its use next season according to one report. However, another reprot suggests they will not review its use.

In any case, it's too late for all the wrongs this season. And too late for the World Cup, where they are introducing the VAR when hardly anyone has had any experience of it, including the men operating the VAR!

The #VARgate issue caused the most coverage and chatter on Sunday and continues today.

There have been suggestions the game should be replayed, but they have been dismissed by FFA and not supported by Melbourne Victory fans. FIFA set a precedent for replaying important games as far back as 2005 when Uzbekistan and Bahrain were told to replay a World Cup qualifier. 

As an aside, while the biggest loser out of the incident on Saturday night might seem to be Newcastle Jets, arguably it is also Melbourne City. As we noted in these pages last week, a Newcastle Jets win in the grand final would hand third-placed City the third Asian Champions League spot for 2019; a Melbourne Victory win would see City knocked out. Anyone who uses technology - as we all do, every day - knows it has failures and it can be unpredictable, and we accept that Hawkeye failed just at the split second when Melbourne Victory scored in the most important match of the season, but it's fun to consider the amazing coincidence and consequence of those events, especially in light of the fact that there's no love lost between FFA and Melbourne City's owner, City Football Group. Whatever it takes and all that .... 

Melbourne Victory

  • To the winners ... we're reminded that it was not so long ago that there was serious talk about Kevin Muscat's contract not being renewed, a nascent #MuscatOut movement, but a few wins later and he was re-signed by the Melbourne Victory Board. They must be congratulating themselves as he's now one of the most successful coaches in A-League history with two grand final wins and a whole lot of time on his side. 
  • For Muscat it's now a situation of 'master and commander' after his second grand final victory. 
  • He might have looked like a mummy, but Joe Marston Medal winner, Lawrence Thomas, is feeling no pain. 
  • Thomas also reveals that he and O'Donovan are good mates, having once house-hunted together when they both played at Coventry City. 
  • An exhausted Besart Berisha is thinking of quitting Melbourne Victory and possibly the A-League because, in his own words, "What is there to win in the A-League for me?" He's won four championship deciders and is the competition's leading goalscorer. 
  • A similar report here on Berisha's exhaustion and future
  • Writing for his Melbourne audience, Lynch says that Melbourne Victory is "simply the best" and has no peers. 
  • When the going gets tough, the tough get going; and when Melbourne Victory needs to win, they do

Newcastle Jets

  • It was painful to lose, but Ernie Merrick believes the Newcastle Jets have set a new course and this season's heroics has set the course for a bright and promising future. 
  • Merrick also took a swipe at Muscat and the team saying he wouldn't want to coach a team to win in the way they did. ''Once they got the goal up, they weren't going to let us play in the second half. It was very stop-start from then on, they packed their defence, evey ball out was a long ball, we controlled the play."
  • Nigel Boogaard defends Roy O'Donovan's "ugly lunge" on Lawrence Thomas in the dying minutes of the game.

For the record, because we were unable to deliver our daily round-up of the latest football news yesterday, here's a match report of the big game. 

Socceroos

A big day today with Bert van Marwijk set to announce the long list of players from which the World Cup squad will be named.

Mark Schwarzer says Tim Cahill should be included, if van Marwijk wants to plan for all eventualities, even though he's had hardly any game time all season. David Davutovic also names 'definites' such as Aaron Mooy, Mat Ryan, Tom Rogic, Mat Leckie and Mile Jedinak and possible 'bolters' including Daniel Arzani. 

Bossi has been briefed, noting that the squad is likely to have 35 players - including Cahill and Arzani; it will be cut to 26 for the pre-World Cup camp in Turkey (also likely to include Arzani); and then to the final 23 for the World Cup on 4 June. 


var, a-league, #aleaguegf, socceroos