20/04/2024

Can Daniel Sturridge bring his EPL best to the A-League Men's campaign? Picture: Perth Glory Twitter

Ahead of this year's A-League Men's season, The Inner Sanctum has detailed the changes to expect ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.

The 17th A-League Men campaign beckons, and there is a host of changes that fans should expect heading into season 2021/22. With some of the most significant changes announced in the competition’s history, football fans are eagerly counting down the days until the national tournament resumes on November 19. 

So ahead of the new A-League Men’s season what should fans expect in season 2021/22?

Arguably the most substantial revamp is the official naming rights, The Hyundai A-League as it has been known since its inauguration in 2004, will now be known as the Isuzu Ute A-League Men. The new sponsor, Isuzu Ute Australia, allows for a fresh name, marketing and sponsorship deals, taking the reins for the next three years. 

The once separate entities of the A-League and W-League have converged and will now be simply known as the A-Leagues, for both the men’s and women’s competitions. A new and common logo was recently unveiled, represented simply by an A, creatively crafted with a dot and crooked line, resembling a leg kicking a football.

The 2021/2022 season sees the broadcasting rights taken over by Network 10, Paramount Plus from Fox Sports. The deal begins at five years with the option of a three year extension and if the marketing campaigns are anything to go by, viewers are in for an exciting journey.

Already impressively endorsing international friendly games in popular newspaper publications and advertisements on free to air television, the notably fresh promotions have been welcomed by football fans across the country.

Many would argue that the reinvigorated approach is long overdue.

The commentary team for the Paramount Plus football show was recently announced with Tara Rushton making the move from Fox Sports as host and Simon Hill returning to commentary duties after a brief hiatus from the same previous broadcaster. A host of new faces join the extended team, though still strongly familiar and credible in Australian football folklore.

Notably absent from the A-League coverage will be International legends Mark Bosnich and Robbie Slater who became synonymous with reporting and commentary in recent years. While still associated with the world game, both have made the shift to Stan Sport, home of the UEFA Champions League. 

MORE FOOTBALL NEWS

2021/22 A-League Men Season Preview – Sydney FC: Back to business after last season’s heartbreak

City demolition derby comes with a scare

Who is Gianni Stensness? Learn all about the shock Socceroos inclusion

A-League Men’s Changes: What about the teams?

Macarthur Bulls appear to be the big spenders of the competition with some star signings including Ulises Davila from Wellington Phoenix, Tomi Juric making the move from Adelaide United and Craig Noone crossing the border from Melbourne City. Former Socceroos goalkeeper Adam Federici leaves a gaping hole in goals and as captain, although replaced between the sticks by credible shot stopper Filip Kurto. 

The biggest marquee signing in recent seasons sees ex-Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and England striker Daniel Sturridge on the roster for Perth Glory. The response by A-League fans across the nation has been overwhelmingly positive. 

Make no mistake, the big name internationals are tremendously embraced and draw record crowds in droves. Davila had a Mexican following in every city across the nation that he played in last season, similarly when Alessandro Del Piero headlined for Sydney FC in the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 seasons.

Sydney FC has made a host of new local additions to their squad, initially to the disappointment of a few fans, but warmed to after some successful pre-season friendly results. Known for the fact that they don’t shy away from contracting the big name players, supporters have become accustomed to the distinguished stars proudly associated with the club.

The Sky Blues playing roster still consists of some strong internationals with Bobo, Adam Le Fondre and Milos Ninkovic continuing to feature in the front formation, now with a mix of youth and local talent including Max Burgess and James Donachie supporting them. Former young gun striker Luke Ivanovic heads north to Brisbane Roar, looking to secure more game time in first grade. 

Along with Ivanovic, the Queensland side will also have the services of attacking midfielder Nikola Mileusnic who boasts some of the fastest footballing skills in the world. The speedster has previously clocked a pace in excess of 36km on the pitch. 

Adelaide United has a void to fill up front with the departure of forwards Juric and Al Hassan Toure. They have gained some creativity in the midfield with Isaias Sanchez, who returns after his original stint in the city of churches which began in 2013 and saw him score some stellar goals during that time.

Western Sydney Wanderers has acquired the talents of Spanish goalkeeper Tomas Mejias who has an impressive CV, including making a La Liga appearance for powerhouse Real Madrid under the reign of Jose Mourinho. That sees the western Sydney team spoilt for choice in goals with local talent Daniel Margush still on the playing roster. 

Melbourne Victory has contracted Tony Popovic as their new coach for the following three A-League seasons, looking to resurrect a forgettable previous season, finishing bottom of the table for the first time in the club’s proud history. The manager has made a host of new signings in the off season to help bolster the squad, including Josh Brillante from reigning A-League champions and neighbours, Melbourne City

The sky blue Melbourne team will be looking to defend their premiership and championship status by securing the services of Socceroo Mathew Leckie and retention of the majority of last year’s side including Golden Boot winner Jamie McLaren. They also feature a host of home grown and flourishing flair in Stefan Colokovski, Marco Tilio and Nathaniel Atkinson who were instrumental in last year’s accolades. 

Central Coast Mariners will be under new leadership in Nick Montgomery for the following two seasons. Whilst the departure of former Matildas’ coach Alen Stajcic was seen as detrimental by many, Montgomery is no stranger to success as a past player and triumph as Head Coach of the Mariners’ NPL and Y-League playing groups.

Newcastle Jets has signed experienced former Socceroos defender Matthew Jurman and originally Cameron Devlin but has since loaned the midfielder out to Scottish outfit, Heart of Midlothian F.C. Devlin is currently winning the hearts of many locals abroad through some stellar performances and goals.

Wellington Phoenix will continue to begin the season playing their home games in Wollongong Australia, in which fans and the league remain forever indebted to, with a possibility of returning to New Zealand for some home fixtures early next year. Whilst the loss of attacking midfielder Davila will be sorely missed, they will be led by coach Ufuk Talay for a third consecutive stint.

Western United, headed by newly appointed manager John Aloisi, has lost a big name striker in Besart Berisha, replaced with young excitement machine Dylan Wenzel-Halls, having previously scored some rocket goals for Brisbane Roar. He will be assisted by new team mate Neil Kilkenny making the move from Perth Glory hoping to allow the goals to flow freely for Victoria’s newest instated entity.

In one of the biggest shake ups of the A-League Men to date, kick off is fast approaching and fans are champing at the bit. With fresh changes aplenty and welcomed by football fans alike, the competition is promising to be an enthralling one. 

About Author

Leave a Reply