I tip my hat to VAR
THERE'S a popular thought among sports fans that technology and sport don't mix, but if round one of the Hyundai A-League is anything to go by then this year's competition has the balance right.
This time last year, football fans and commentators were up in arms, and rightfully so, about the use of VAR.
No one will forget the furor following the Wellington Phoenix and Newcastle Jets game where the Phoenix were awarded a crucial penalty four minutes after the indiscretion took place.
But after five games in the opening round of this season I have to tip my hat to the VAR and the way it was used across the weekend.
We saw six major decisions made by the VAR in the opening round, and all six were correct and each decision was made in under two minutes.
Let's hope we're continuing to praise the VAR this time next week!
There was plenty of interest in the A-League's newest club, Western United FC, when they took on Wellington Phoenix on Sunday, and the new kids in town didn't disappoint.
Besart Berisha was outstanding in his A-League return and again showed that there's no substitute for experience.
Speaking of experience, the Brisbane Roar looked to have drawn from the know-how of their new coach, Robbie Fowler, showing a new-found mental strength to start the season.
There are few more daunting tasks in the A-League than travelling to Perth to take on the Glory, but the Roar showed across the 90 minutes that they're a team to be reckoned with this season.
Roy O'Donovan's extra-time goal was just reward for a Roar side who refused to quit on any play.
Looking at round two of the competition there's some juicy match-ups to whet the appetite this weekend.
Melbourne Victory showed last week that they'll be one of the best defensive teams this season, but they'll need to find some fluency in attack when they take on Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday night.
The Victory have recruited Socceroos star Andrew Nabbout this season and it's crucial that they create opportunities on goal for him.
Sunday's clash between Melbourne City and Adelaide United is an intriguing encounter with the sides to go head-to-head in the FFA Cup final next week.
City were one of the most impressive sides in round one and they'll be looking to gain a mental edge over Adelaide.
And then you've got Sydney FC looking to get revenge over Wellington Phoenix, who beat them 3-1 in the corresponding game last season.
All eyes will be on goal-scoring machine Adam le Fondre, who started his 2019-20 campaign with a stellar double against Adelaide United.
Steve Corica's men look a formidable outfit this season and have a recruited really well with the additions of Kosta Barbarouses and Alexander Baumjohann.
Round one of the Hyundai A-League season was a great start to the season and now it's time to raise the bar in round two.
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