A-League Round 26 Preview and Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 26 of the 2016/17 A-League season.

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Melbourne City

Melbourne City v Adelaide United

7:50 PM AEST, AAMI Park

Adelaide United

Michael Jakobsen may finally make his return for Melbourne City. The Dane has been nursing a nagging calf strain for the past six weeks. Neil Kilkenny is also in line for a recall after missing last Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Sydney FC. Osama Malik is back from suspension.

Promising centre-back, Ruon Tongyik, has been ruled out with illness so Malik is expected to start alongside Manny Muscat.

The visitors are expected to welcome back Korean midfielder, Jaesung Kim, after recovering from a knock that kept him out for the 1-1 draw with Perth. Iacopo La Rocca also returns after spending almost two months on the injury list.


Melbourne City face a crucial match in a bid to secure a home final with Western Sydney flying up the ladder. City are on a two-match losing streak and sit just two points above the in-form Wanderers. Last week, City did well to nullify premiers Sydney FC for the best part of an hour, until the floodgates opened.

Adelaide United arrive in Melbourne in a buoyant mood despite their lowly position on the table (8th). Last week, the Reds were denied a third win on the bounce after getting a raw deal off referee, Daniel Elder. With Adelaide United well on top and pushing hard for the lead, striker Baba Diawara appeared to had been pulled back in the penalty area by Perth stopper, Dino Djulbic. No penalty! Adelaide could well have done with a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) which, incidentally, makes a long awaited debut this Friday.

Nick’s tip: Over 3 goals @1.67 (Pinnacle)


Wellington Phoenix

Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC

7:35 PM AEST, Westpac Stadium

Sydney FC


Wellington boss Des Buckingham is likely to reshuffle his backline with the right-back position a cause for concern. The magnificent 3-0 win at Melbourne Victory came at a cost with both Matthew Ridenton and Dylan Fox pulling up lame.

Adam Parkhouse may come into the side with Tom Doyle filling the problematic right-back position.

Sydney’s impressive January signing, Jordy Bujis, is in line for a return after missing the 3-0 win over Melbourne City. Bernie Ibini may also figure after recovering from a slight knock.

Midfield pair, Josh Brillante and Brandon O’Neill, will be saved for the battles ahead after both appeared to pick up intentional cautions. As a result, both will serve a one-match suspension for incurring their 8th caution of the campaign, respectively.


Few would of predicted after the 5-1 home defeat to Melbourne City, 6 weeks ago, that Wellington will be two wins away from a potential finals berth. Des Buckingham’s troops have shown great resilience in recent weeks to at least give themselves a chance, but their fate doesn’t totally lie in their hands. Even if Wellington do win their remaining games (against Sydney FC and Brisbane), they must hope that Perth don’t win any of theirs.

With the Premiership trophy already in their keeping, the Sky Blues face a tricky encounter across the Tasman. It’s a test of self-motivation, more than anything else, for Graham Arnold’s finely assembled team as they face a desperate host in a ‘win or bust’ situation.

Nick’s tips:
Over 3.25 goals @1.99 (Pinnacle)
Sydney FC -0.5ah @1.88 (Pinnacle)


Western Sydney Wanderers

Western Sydney Wanderers v Melbourne Victory

7:50 PM AEST, ANZ Stadium

Melbourne Victory


Western Sydney can further justify claims that they are serious title contenders by knocking off Melbourne Victory. The hosts are back to full strength with deadly striker Brendon Santalab returning from suspension while Mitch Nichols has recovered from a minor knock.

A fortnight after doing themselves justice in the 1-0 defeat to Brisbane, Victory youngsters the like of George Howard and Stefan Nigro may get another chance to impress.

Nigro may slot in at right-back with Jason Geria suspended while Nick Ansell will come in for last week’s red-carded Spaniard, Alan Baro.


Momentum is a priceless commodity in sport and the Wanderers have it in spades. Another game, another win, and 3 goals scored has become routine for Western Sydney in recent times. Despite the absence of Nichols and Santalab, Western Sydney accounted for Newcastle to the tune of 3-0 with unlikely source, centre-back Robert Cornthwaite, bagging a brace. With Melbourne City in their sights and two games remaining, Wanderers must keep the wins coming if they want to secure a home final.

On the other side of the momentum spectrum lies Melbourne Victory. Having secured second spot a long while back, Victory’s form has since deserted them. They have lost 3 of their last 4. Their latest defeat, last Sunday, would of sent alarm bells throughout the franchise – outplayed and outfought on their own turf by Wellington Phoenix. Kevin Muscat has three weeks to turn the ship around before his side’s semi-final playoff.

Nick’s tip: Western Sydney 0ah @1.74 (Pinnacle)


Perth Glory

Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar

10:00 PM AEST, nib Stadium

Brisbane Roar


Perth has received a welcome boost heading into their two upcoming home games with the return of defensive lynchpins, Rhys Williams and Rostyn Griffiths.

After a disastrous debut as a No.6 against Sydney FC, Lucian Goian impressed in a more retreated role against Adelaide United, last week. Expect the Romanian to start alongside Dino Djulbic while Williams and Griffiths will offer a steely presence in the middle of the park.

Brisbane will take a youthful looking squad out West while resting some old and weary legs.

Avram Papadopoulos and Thomas Broich will not travel to Perth, as John Aloisi casts one eye on the midweek ACL tie against Kashima Antlers.


Not too long ago, Perth were sitting pretty in the Top 6 with a ticket to the finals all but assured. A lot has changed in the last month or so, namely Perth’s dip in form and the resent upsurge of Western Sydney, and most recently, Wellington Phoenix. Following a rather fortunate 1-1 draw in Adelaide, Perth now sit just 4 points above seventh-placed Wellington. The home side’s approach to this game could well depend on other results.

Brisbane need just one point from their remaining two games in order to secure a home final. The 5-1 mauling of Central Coast, that included a hat-trick for Jamie MacLaren, was a real shot in the arm for the visitors. Having said that, Central Coast were a lick of paint away from a 2-0 lead.

Nick’s tip: Perth 0ah @1.83 (Pinnacle)


Central Coast Mariners

Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets

5:00 PM AEST, Central Coast Stadium

Newcastle Jets


Nick Montgomery makes a timely return from suspension for the final F3-Derby of the season. The Mariners will need his leadership skills after a demorilising 5-1 defeat to Brisbane, last week.

Aleksandr Kokko returns for the Jets after he was dropped for last week’s clash against Western Sydney. Kokko will be aiming to repeat the dose of late February, when he scored in the reverse fixture at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Englishman, Wayne Brown, sits out due to a one match suspension.


The Mariners will get their last shot at avoiding the wooden spoon in this penultimate game of another disappointing season. Their final game is away to Melbourne Victory. In what was a microcosm of their campaign under Paul Okon, the 5-1 defeat to Brisbane contained sporadic spells of good football but ultimately, defensive lapses led to defeat.

Newcastle has been kept scoreless for the better part of six hours. The 3-0 defeat to Western Sydney marked a third consecutive game without troubling the scorers, all while conceding 12 down the other end. Mark Jones was beside himself in the post-match interview while assistant manager, Clayton Zane’s dressing down of Andrew Hoole, after the latter was substituted, showed that all is not well at the Jets.

Nick’s tip: Central Coast @2.67 (Pinnacle)


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