31/05/2024

Melbourne Victory players celebrating with fans after a 3-0 win over Brisbane Roar on Sunday. (Photo: KeepUp)

Week two of the Isuzu Ute A-League Men contained last-minute drama, VAR controversy, and one team firmly putting their foot forward as title contenders. 

Week two of the Isuzu Ute A-League Men contained last-minute drama, VAR controversy, and one team firmly putting their foot forward as title contenders. 

The Inner Sanctum dissects the five things we learnt from week two of the A-League Men season.

1. Melbourne Boys are back to number one

Melbourne Victory welcomed fans back to AAMI Park in their first home match of the season, and it could not have gone better. 

A very impressive 3-0 win over Brisbane Roar in front of over 13,000 people saw the Victory establish themselves as a real threat for the upcoming season. 

Jake Brimmer and Marco Rojas were standouts, whilst new goalkeeper Ivan Kelava was impressive between the sticks.

The Victory needed a big turnout from the fans – and they got exactly that. The atmosphere in the stadium was electric, and it felt like it was the return of a sleeping giant.

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2. We still can’t get VAR right

Whilst Western United v Perth Glory wasn’t the most entertaining game of the weekend by a long stretch, it did come with the most controversy, with VAR once again being the centre of attention.

Western United’s Connor Pain drove down the left-wing in the 78th minute, all the way to the byline before squaring it to teammate Dylan Wenzel-Halls for an easy tap-in. 

However, looking at the replay it was evident that the ball had crossed the line prior to the cross from Connor Pain, yet VAR Kris Griffiths-Jones decided not to intervene. 

Perth Glory went on to lose the game 1-0 and furious owner Tony Sage has called for a complete VAR review.

Whilst the rest of the world is ahead when it comes to VAR use and camera angles, it seems even though we were the first country to introduce the system, we may just be the furthest behind.

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3. ‘Outside of Nabbout’ City winger has a trademark strike

We’ve seen Melbourne City winger Andrew Nabbout score some outrageous goals throughout his career – but we are more frequently seeing some freakish goals with the outside of his boot.

And on Saturday night that outside of the boot shot became his trademark – as he once again scored an absolute stunner from outside the box against Adelaide United. 

However the celebrations were short-lived as Nabbout’s side ended up giving up a 2-0 lead late in the game to share the points with Adelaide. 

4. ‘Milligan the Matador’ assists Sydney FC… or did he?

24 hours prior to Sydney FC v Macarthur, Sydney posted a 60 second video of ex-Macarthur captain Mark Milligan explaining how they can beat the Bulls.

The video had mixed opinions on social media due to Milligan recently retiring from Football at Macarthur only five months ago with a pledge to join the coaching staff at the club. 

Fast-forward to present day, and the former Socceroo is a part of the broadcast team at Channel 10 Football, dissecting his ex-clubs style of play for a Sydney FC social media post.

However, it was Macarthur FC that ended up having the last laugh, as they ended up as 1-0 winners, courtesy of a first-half strike from Lachlan Rose. 

5. Jack Rodwell could be the signing of the season

Recently signed Englishman Jack Rodwell made another cameo off the bench for Western Sydney on Sunday in what was a highly entertaining match at CommBank Stadium – and he showed that the quality he possesses could be unrivalled to the rest of the league. 

He managed 31 minutes for the Wanderers, showing his slick dribbling, venomous shooting and beautifully weighted passes. He ended the match with an 88.2% pass accuracy, two-out-of-two successful dribbles and one key pass.

Rodwell oozed class all over the pitch, apart from a late challenge on the Jets’ Angus Thurgate, in which he was lucky not to see red for. 

If he stays fit, he could be one of the best players we have ever seen in the A-League Men.

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