Simon Hill is known to many around the world as the voice of Australian football. For years he has brought us many special moments in the A-League and for the Socceroos.
Despite not being in the A-League commentary box this season, Hill still kept an eye on the league. He spoke exclusively to The Inner Sanctum regarding how the league coped with the COVID pandemic and the challenges it presented.
“I think it did pretty well, to be honest,” Hill said.
“There was obviously a lot of issues to deal with, and in regards to moving players around, they were maybe a little bit behind the eight ball.
“Whether that is to do with the other sports having closer ties with the governments I don’t know. But overall, they dealt with it very well.
“Overall, I think they did a really good job. It is not easy to get a whole season played when you are dealing with lockdowns, restrictions, and airports being closed. It must have been a logistical nightmare.
“So, to get the season done is probably an achievement in itself, to be honest.”
After getting close to becoming A-League champions throughout the last few years, Melbourne City finally got its breakthrough title this year. Hill believes that following the club’s triumph, it could be poised to dominate for years to come.
“Yeah I think it’s entirely possible, to be honest. They have certainly stepped up a gear this year,” Hill said.
“They have been close the last two to three seasons but this year they seemed to find that extra level. I think a lot of it is a mentality that has been building over the last couple of seasons.
“But they also have quality. You look at the fact that they have signed Mat Leckie for next season. That gives them Leckie, Maclaren, and Nabbout.
“That is three first-choice starting strikers for Australia over the last three to four years and that is before they figure out where [Marco] Tilio and [Stefan] Colakovski are even going to play.
“So, it’s pretty scary strength in depth that they are building. But that’s good, you want to strive towards that excellence.
“It’s up to the other teams to go with them. Sydney won’t stand still and you can be sure Melbourne Victory under Tony Popovic will be an awfully lot better. The Wanderers at some point have to click so I think it’s great.
“I have enjoyed watching them this season [Melbourne City], I think they are a very good side and Patty Kisnorbo has done a terrific job in his first season.”
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After Melbourne City announced the signing of Socceroos forward Mathew Leckie, the club now boasts some serious talent. However, Simon Hill believes that with the current finals set up, the league will remain as competitive as ever with City the favourites.
“Well obviously, it depends a lot on what the other clubs do as well,” Simon Hill said.
“You can be assured that City have got in early with Leckie. He is a Melbourne boy, he probably wanted to come back.
“He has probably had to deal with the pandemic over in Germany and I know a few Australians overseas who are wanting to return because obviously, the situation is better here.
“But the other clubs will make signings as well and you only have to look at what Sydney did in the second half of this season.
“Repatriating Bobo and Adam le Fondre, that’s two quality strikers that they were able to bring in to address a need that they had, which was not scoring enough goals and it worked, albeit not in the Grand Final.
“The other clubs will make their moves as well. It will be competitive, it always is. But I think we are definitely starting to see the emergence of the big clubs winning the A-league on a regular basis and that is no different compared to the rest of the world either.
“Our top six system ensures the league remains competitive because there’s a chance to get into the final and to still win the championship from fifth or sixth place. So there’s that equalisation measure in place.
“I don’t think there is much doubt that they [Melbourne City] will be challenging again next season but they would have done that with too without Mathew Leckie, I think.”
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