Invited journalists had an opportunity to chat with the two national coaches, Graham Arnold and Alen Stajcic, yesterday at the unveiling of the somewhat underwhelming new logo for the Socceroos and Matildas (pictured). 

2019 Asian Cup 

Arnold told Ray Gatt that there are still six spots 'open' “from almost every department” in the Asian Cup squad which he will be announcing in approximately two weeks. He specifically singled out Craig Goodwin and Chris Ikonomidis as two A-League players who are doing well, and also did not rule out some “left field selections”.

Arnold said he is “ready for a late burst of form” from players who are pressing for selection. He also named Adam Taggart as another local player to watch. 

Josh Risdon and Rhyan Grant are also named in this report, with Arnold adding that he will not be influenced by the impact of selections on clubs that are playing through the Asian Cup. Hibernian FC and Melbourne Victory could have up to three players each missing from their squads. 

2019 Women's World Cup

Stajcic told Gatt he is waiting to see which countries are drawn with Australia before finalising preparations for next year. Australia is expected to be in the top six when final seedings are announced on Friday ahead of the draw. 

Stajcic leaves for the World Cup Draw today, and says most of the arrangements are in place for the program to June 2019, pending who Australia is drawn with. He said even if the Matildas are in the seeded group, the next 'pot' also has difficult competitors including the Netherlands, Japan, Norway and Sweden.

Stajcic adds, in relation to Sam Kerr 'missing out' on the Ballon d'Or, that Kerr plays for team awards, not individual awards, and he believes it will motivate her further at the World Cup. 

A-League expansion

Also chatting at the logo unveiling was FFA CEO, David Gallop, who told Gatt that A-League expansion isn't just about financial dividends. This was in response to reports that some bidders had offered up to $20 million for a license. However, Gallop did say that the expansion decision would not necessarily be made next week and could be delayed until January; and, if not made in January, expansion would have to wait until 2020-21. 

While noting that Gallop said there are other factors besides money, Tom Smithies also reports that “... Gallop warned the bidders that the size of their licence fee would be a crucial factor in deciding which teams could be awarded a place in next year’s competition.” Confused? 

In the same article Smithies also quotes Sutherland Mayor, Carmelo Pesce, who makes it clear that he wants Southern Expansion in the A-League. With apparently “more than 25,000 registered players” in the Sutherland Shire, Councillor Pesce says the Council has “been behind Southern Expansion from Day 1”. Pesce also said that “The thousands and thousands of local football fans who haven’t been engaged by existing clubs in the A-League want their own club who will play games here in Cronulla. We’re a grassroots football giant and the giant is rumbling - it’s time to give us our own club.” That will probably see Sydney FC choke on their Weeties this morning. 

Dominic Bossi notes that Gallop said the license fee on offer is influential but they are “not the primary consideration for the new Board”.

Brisbane Roar

A-League head, Greg O'Rourke, is playing peacemaker between Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United, with Roar managing director, David Pourre, sending a four-page letter to FFA detailing grievances with the manner the Brisbane players, coaches, officials and sponsors were treated at Coopers Stadium last Friday night. O'Rourke said he is “going through the issues” with Pourre and Adelaide United CEO, Nathan Kosmina. 

Melbourne City

Bruno Fornaroli's choices are limited to a 'kiss and make-up' with Melbourne City or an overseas sale, with the club making it clear that he would not be released to another A-League club in the January transfer window. Luke Brattan, who was also dropped by Warren Joyce this season, says it's a matter of how a player reacts when dropped, and he hopes to see Fornaroli working hard and back in the team. 

Brattan, who is a good friend of Fornaroli's, says fighting your way back into the team when dropped is what football is all about. Brattan says Fornaroli is one of the best marquees the A-League has had, and he hopes to see him back.  

Western Sydney Wanderers

The Western Sydney Wanderers can't take a trick! Now it seems the opening round of next season's A-League (18 & 19 October) will see the NRL use the new Parramatta Stadium for their NRL9's competition. 

Canberra United

Canberra United's Natasha Prior has been cleared of a serious injury after being stretchered-off with a clash of heads in the W-League match v Sydney FC last Sunday. A date for her return is not yet known. 

Ange Postecoglou

Ange Postecoglou has signed-on for another 12 months with Yokohama Marinos in the J.League. Although the team finished 12th (from 18), they scored the second highest number of goals (56) with a zero goal difference as they also had 56 goals scored against them. 'Goals for' was the second highest in the J.League behind the winners, Kawsaki Frontale; 'goals against' was third highest behind Nagoya and V-Varen Nagasaki (both with 59). 

2019 asian cup, 2019 world cup, graham arnold, alen stajcic, ange postecoglou, a-league, w-league, melbourne city, western sydney wanderers, brisbane roar, a-league expansion

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