The False Nine Awards – Week 7
Time, once again, for another installment of Ultimate A-League’s own “False Nine Awards”. How do they work? Well, as we have done and will do every week of the 2012/13 season once all five A-League games have come to an end, we’ll make up nine completely random award categories, pick some nominees and select some winners. Plus, you can check out all the video highlights from the weekend’s A-League action! For the week 7 awards, it’s all about brain fades, crowds, goalkeepers, heroes and misses:
1. “The ‘One against the world’ award”
Alessandro Del Piero’s performance on Friday night in the 4-2 loss to the Roar was the shining light for what was, for the third week in a row, a pretty poor and despondent Sydney FC team. Roar defender Jack Hingert is unlikely to ever give a player of Del Piero’s class that amount of space again, as the Sydney marquee man made him pay with a deadly strike into the bottom corner. Del Piero’s second goal, essentially strolling through the Roar defence to poke it past a helpless Michael Theo, was almost as classy as his first. If his team can lift around him, Sydney should be able to pick themselves up in the coming weeks.
2. “The ‘Brain fade of the week’ award”
We really love giving this award out each week, and there’s a few nominees for week 7. Honourable mentions to Central Coast’s Patrick Zwaanswijk, who found out the hard way that getting a cheap yellow card for time-wasting early in the game can come back to bite you, and the Victory’s Marcos Flores for getting himself sent off in injury time with a very sloppy studs-up tackle. But in the final game of the weekend, the Wanderers’ Youssouf Hersi lashed out at Perth’s Scott Jamieson after a poor tackle by the Glory defender – Jamieson was booked, but Hersi was given his marching orders. Luckily for Hersi, his team held on to win one-nil, but that aside, it was still the biggest brain fade this week.
3. “The ‘Can’t look away’ award”
Well, it definitely wasn’t the opening half of the Adelaide vs Melbourne Heart game. No, it was the first half of the Victory vs Central Coast match on Saturday night that had us unable to look away. Four goals, countless chances, fantastic passing play, great saves – the opening 45 minutes had it all! More of the same next time, please!
4. “The ‘Crowd Achievement’ award”
Give yourself a big pat on the back if you’ve taken yourself off to an A-League match this season. Why? Because through just 35 games, the A-League crowd tally has passed the 500,000 mark (501, 013 to be exact). Why is that significant? Well, because 35 games is the least amount of games in A-League history that it has taken to reach 500,000 spectators, beating the 37 game mark set a few seasons back. So this award goes to all 501,013 spectators that have witnessed an A-League match so far this season, and if you’re one or more of that total, then another pat on the back is in order.
5. “The ‘Excellence in Goalkeeping’ award”
When Youssouf Hersi got himself sent off in the first half of the game against the Glory on Sunday afternoon, you could be forgiven for thinking that Perth would get on top and overcome the one-nil deficit in the remaining 50 minutes of football. Well, if it weren’t for Western Sydney goalkeeper Ante Covic, you would’ve been precisely correct. Covic made countless brilliant saves in the second half, and along with the woodwork, kept the barrage of Perth forward thrusts from the likes of Ward, Jamieson, Mehmet, Miller and Dodd at bay. A very handy 3 points away from home as well as a result!
6. “The ‘Don’t stop conceding’ award”
A couple of nominees here. Newcastle Jets haven’t kept a clean sheet now in 10 games, and the Victory haven’t managed it in their last 8 games, so both those clubs could’ve easily won this award. But if you’ve conceded 14 goals in just 270 minutes of football, you need to have a long, hard look at your defence. Sydney FC are that club, and are in desperate need of a structural overhaul in their defensive lines. As a result of this poor form, Sydney now sit in last place with a goal difference of -9. It’s hard to believe the position they’re in, given all the pre-season hype and optimism among the Sky Blue ranks.
7. “The ‘We don’t need to see that’ award”
An honourable mention to some of the terrible moustaches on show to raise awareness for the Movember efforts. You know who you are, so pick up your game. But in the category of “we don’t need to see that”, it has to go to the Fox Sports coverage of the Newcastle-Wellington game. When Mark Birighitti was felled by Jeremy Brockie’s knee to his face in the 70th minute, seeing it once in slow motion was cringe-inducing enough. But eight times? Really? There was a pitch invader late in the game that you refused to show, but when a player is horrifically injured (and looks like being out of action for 6-8 weeks), you’re happy to air it over-and-over?
8. “The ‘Easier to score’ award”
Soooooo many nominations for awful misses this week. Besart Berisha missed from 3 metres out on the near post, Mark Bridge spooned a shot over the bar with the whole goal at his mercy, and Adrian Zahra somehow missed from 1 metre out late in the game against Western Sydney (although it was called back for offside anyway). But the worst miss this week goes to the Phoenix’s Solomon Islands striker Benjamin Totori. He broke from half way, held off his defender, rounded the goalkeeper and…put it into the side netting. The goal was open, he had Jeremy Brockie on the spot waiting to complete a hat-trick, but Totori somehow managed to completely balls it up. Check out this howler in all its glory from 3:23 in the video below…
9. “The ‘Unlikely leader’ award”
7 goals in 6 games has Central Coast’s Daniel McBreen out in front in the race for the A-League Golden Boot, two goals clear of marquees Alessandro Del Piero and Emile Heskey and just one goal short of McBreen’s single season goals record that he set in 2009/10. Sure, he may not score outrageous goals or have the physical presence of Heskey, but McBreen’s value comes in the fact that he gets the job done for his side. And that’s why Central Coast are in second, ahead of both Sydney and Newcastle on the A-League standings table.
Well, that wraps up week 7 of the “False Nine Awards”. Suggest your own categories and winners in the comments below, or send them to us on Twitter at @ultimatealeague.