FWF-LB-080119

Alen Stajcic

Tom Smithies weighs-in today writing that the “nuclear fallout” from Alen Stajcic's dismissal continues with the roles of senior staff within FFA also to be reviewed, and with “fresh questions are being asked about the process” that led to the sacking. He also reveals that recipients of the Our Watch survey were asked for their observations “at work, across our sport … and day to day”, with no specific mention of the Matildas, or even FFA or football! While Stajcic has kept quiet, sources have told Smithies that Stajcic's bonuses were “negotiated barely a month before he was sacked”. The PFA has said their initial 'Wellbeing Audit' was “solely designed as a high-performance tool to empower staff and players to enhance their environment leading into and beyond the World Cup” with results showing “there were challenges but also real opportunities”.

Gallop has said that the decision to axe Stajcic was also based on “other information” including interviews with players and staff. “Issues such as training loads and constant changing of training schedules were mentioned, alongside the claim that Stajcic had been in the role too long and stopped listening to staff.” However, Smithies notes:

“... FFA director Heather Reid set fire to all that with an incendiary interview in which she intimated there were dirty secrets involved. “It’s a pity that there aren’t more parents and players prepared to speak up about some of his behaviour,” said Reid, who has since stood down indefinitely ...”

Another new director, Joseph Carrozzi, said on Twitter that Stajcic's sacking “was not due to breach of contract … a major cultural reset was needed … don’t look for a smoking gun”.

A-League

Brisbane Roar, 2 v Sydney FC, 1 (picture)

Brisbane won just their second game of the season with a comeback win over Sydney FC last night, thanks to a dramatic 90th minute winner from Dylan Wenzel-Halls. It was also the first win for the club under interim manager, Darren Davies. Here's how the experts saw it.

Western Sydney Wanderers v Central Coast Mariners

In previewing this afternoon's bottom-of-the-table clash ($) between Western Sydney Wanderers and Central Coast Mariners, Ray Gatt notes that less than six years ago Central Coast had claimed their first A-League title by defeating new kids on the block, Western Sydney, in front of 42,000 at Sydney Football Stadium. Now? Evidently this match is now being called the 'Spoon Derby' with both teams desperate to avoid the wooden spoon last place and some possibly unwanted records along the way. “Whatever happens today, a win for either side will do little to brush away the disappointment of a season that the fans from both sides can’t wait to end,” writes Gatt.

Central Coast's Jonathan Aspropotamitis faces his old club for the first time, which he says will be an interesting experience considering his “old man still walks around everywhere there” (at Wanderers) and his family are part of the furniture. Aspropotamitis started as an 18-year-old with the youth team and was considered “one of the most promising centre-backs” in the country before rupturing his ACL last season. While Western Sydney offered him a contract renewal, despite the injury, he opted to move to Central Coast Mariners. 

Melbourne City

We feel as if we've written this almost every day this week, but in case you've missed it (as it appears again today): Jamie Maclaren is starting ($) for Melbourne City with Shaylon Harrison likely to be on the bench. 

David Davutovic writes that Warren Joyce's contract expires in May and any goodwill towards him, as a result of his two prized recruits in Maclaren and Harrison, will “quickly evaporate” if they lose tonight. Joyce's future will be decided over the remainder of the season with the target to finish in the top three and, hopefully, an Asian Champions League spot (although that has its own complications also). He is championed by City Football Group's football director, Brian Marwood, but Joyce's “rigid and pragmatic” style of play is not favoured by fans or some within management at Melbourne City. Davutovic writes that “persisting with a philosophy is crucial if City are to win a maiden A-League title in future years.”

Joyce says that he hopes both Maclaren and Harrison “can hit the ground running”. 

Adelaide United

Mirko Boland returned to help Adelaide United to a stunning 4-3 comeback win over Brisbane Roar last weekend, his first game back after an injured hamstring in November and the death of his father in Germany in January. He says he is playing to honour the memory of his late father who was ”one of the favourite people in my life.” 

Melbourne Victory

Keisuke Honda will not start against Perth Glory, with Kevin Muscat “adoping a safety-first approach” to his Japanese star, who is back after a nine-game break due to a hamstring injury. Honda says he hopes he isn't needed, and also doesn't think he could play 90 minutes rating himself as only 80 per cent fit, although his leg is 100 per cent.

If Honda had his way, he would have played even with injury “so keen is he to take part”, but the fact that he's been put before the media ahead of the top-of-the-table meeting makes it clear he will play tomorrow. 

Newcastle Jets

It seems Newcastle Jets' players are “totally exhausted” according to Ernie Merrick, who wonders how his squad will “get through a fortnight featuring up to four games.” They play their first Asian Champions League qualifier against Indonesian side Persija Jakarta at Newcastle on Tuesday night (12 February), after last Thursday's breathless 1-1 draw, a match against Melbourne City next Friday (15 Feburary) and, possibly another ACL play-off in Japan the following Tuesday (19 February). Keeping up? Merrick says it's tough for them and he doesn't know how they'll cope. 

Canberra United (W-League)

Canberra United manager, Heather Garriock, says she's after more goals from her team; that she was happy with the defence and midfield this season, but they couldn't “execute in the final third”. Canberra United has only one Matilda on the books (Ellie Carpenter), and Garriock is hoping to recruit more for next season. 

Weekend matches

Saturday

  • Western Sydney Wanderers v Central Coast Mariners, 5.35pm local & AEDT, Spotless Stadium
  • Melbourne City v Adelaide Untied, 7.50pm local & AEDT, AAMI Park

Sunday

  • Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory, 2pm local & AEDT, AAMI Park - semi-final
  • Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory, 5pm local & AEDT, AAMI Park
  • Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC, 6.15pm local, 7.15pm AEDT, Dolphin Stadium (Redcliffe) - semi-final

alen stajcic, a-league, w-league

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