Revealed: A-League fixture for 2019-20
A-LEAGUE expansion club Western United will play their first home game in Round 2, after a feisty opening round match across the Tasman at Wellington Phoenix.
Western Sydney Wanderers' return to a rocking Bankwest Stadium and a Marvel Stadium Melbourne derby headline Round 1, which kicks off on October 11 between Adelaide United and reigning champions Sydney FC.
A-League chief Greg O'Rourke revealed that there were 73 iterations of the draw as they juggled venue availability and lopsided fixtures with the addition of an 11th team.
Admitting it was a "transition year" as the A-League breaks away from Football Federation
Australia, chiefs have promised better matchday experience and more marketing focused on the players with an attempt to reconnect with active fans.
"The first thing we need to do is improve the product. The marketing will be 100 per cent focused on the product and the players,'' O'Rourke said.
In a replay of the Wanderers' first ever A-League game, they will host Central Coast in a "family friendly" late afternoon Saturday kick-off time, as negotiations continue about a potential Free-to-Air deal alongside the existing Fox Sports agreement.
Western United, who raided the Phoenix including coach Mark Rudan, host Perth Glory in their first ever home game at Geelong's GMHBA Stadium. They will also play four games at Ballarat's Mars Stadium, starting with the December 28 clash with Wellington.
Expanding to 29 rounds (13 home, 13 away plus three byes per club), the six-team finals series will remain with the grand final slated for the weekend of May 16-17.
"If you were going to play 26 rounds you had to have some methodology. There was a lot of conversation about how best to do that and benchmarking from other codes - locally and globally," O'Rourke said.
"We decided to split it between an opponent match up weightings, which we'll call marquee games, but made sure it wasn't lopsided."
The W-League will start mid-November, it was revealed, with the fixtures to be released at a later date.
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