The following are previews with betting tips for Round 18 of the 2022/23 A-League Mens season.
Friday, February 24
Central Coast Mariners v Wellington Phoenix
7:45pm AEDT, Industree Group Stadium
It was cheers all round last weekend for both the Mariners and the Phoenix, as both sides claimed very encouraging results away from home. For Nick Mongomery’s Central Coast playing the Glory in Western Australia, they overcame a 2-0 deficit to force through a 2-2 stalemate, via Jason Cumming’s converted 74th and 81st-minute spot kicks, his 11th and 12th strikes of the campaign. Whilst for Ufuk Talay’s Wellington in Tasmania, they thrashed Western United 3-0. It was a commanding performance which saw them own 54% possession of the ball, shoot 7/16 on target and have a shot rattle off the woodwork. And with just three-points separating the two rivals in 2nd and 5th-place respectively (27 vs 24), this should be one cracking matchup.
Despite currently occupying 2nd-place on the ladder, the Mariners are being very closely followed at the moment. Adelaide who are in 3rd, are also placed on 27PTS, they just have a lesser GD. Whilst the Wanderers one spot behind are on 25. Then all of Wellington, Sydney and Newcastle are on 24. And just to compound matters the Central Coast’s form has unfortunately been very shaky as of late too. They have won just one of their last five games overall, a 2-1 win which came against the lowly Roar and in part due to a controversial penalty call favouring themselves. And over that same span they in fact went down 2-1 to the Phoenix at Sky Stadium in New Zealand. That day they allowed the ‘Nix’ to score with two of their three shots on target. However … if the Mariners latest fightback at the fortress that is Macedonia Park is anything to go by, then the Central Coast are on the mend. And being led by their best player in the form of Socceroos Attacker Jason Cummings certainly does them no harm either. Look for a fighting effort from both teams, in a closely contested affair.
Betting tips: Back over 2.5 collective goals to be scored at $1.57 (Bet365)
Also back Jason Cummings to score any time at $1.90 (Bet365)
Saturday, February 25
Newcastle Jets v Western United
5:00pm AEDT, McDonald Jones Stadium
Last round both the Jets and the ‘Green & Black’ endured some very interesting results, albeit for completely different reasons. Hot temperatures out and around Campbelltown Stadium on match day meant that Newcastle’s clash against Macarthur was moved back an hour and then due to extreme multiple weather delays, from the first time the ball was kicked in their matchup until the full-time whistle went, all up it lasted 239-minutes! However it wouldn’t have mattered one tiny bit to Arthur Papas’s battlers as they held the lead for the majority of the time thanks to Trent Buhagiar’s cooly converted right-footed strike on the eight-minute mark. Meanwhile for Western United their title defence went from bad to worse, as before a crowd of only 2690 people at UTAS Stadium, they suffered a bad 3-0 defeat against Wellington. With their efforts to grow the game in the region seemingly taking a hit! Despite John Aloisi’s Men peppering away 13 shots they couldn’t muster up much in the way of finishing them off, as seven were off target. Newcastle are trending upwards currently and Western United downwards, in what might prove to be a fairly one-sided affair.
It’s pretty hard to ignore the fact that Western United’s season appears to get continuously worse round-in, round-out. It’s also pretty hard to ignore that it appears that the only people who support them at the grounds each week are just their hardcore fans and their hardcore fans alone. But perhaps worst of all is the fact that they seem to have no real backbone at the moment, having tasted success just four times from their last 18 games overall. Oh and they’ve also been kept to just a single goal or less in eight of their last 11 matchups! So if the Jets don’t feast here you can colour me surprised! They are slowly but surely highlighting to us this campaign that they are a team on the mend and who when given the opportunity can produce brilliant Football. Three wins over their last four games is a real testament to that. It’ll be testy at times, but I’ll back a 2+ goal margin and a triumphant Newcastle victory in the Hunter Valley on this occasion.
Betting tips: Look for the Jets to win at $2.30 (BlueBet)
Also look for them to score first at $1.72 (Bet365)
Melbourne City v Sydney FC
5:00pm AEDT, AAMI Park
Despite Melbourne currently being in 1st-place and Sydney in a finals position, neither side will be all that happy with what went down last round, this as at AAMI Park City endured a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Victory in the Melbourne Derby, despite a special double from Matthew Leckie. Whilst the ‘Sky Blues’ were extremely off throughout the duration of their 1-1 stalemate against the Roar. Leckie’s goals were his 5th and 6th of the season as the Socceroos Attacker put in a decent shift at home. However it was ex-City star Bruno Fornaroli who haunted his former employers with a 46th-minute rebound effort that just lashed just past Thomas Glover into the top-left corner. And he displayed his ‘potential’ hatred in style as he was extremely pumped up after giving his side and City’s arch-rivals the lead. As for Sydney at Allianz Stadium, they conceded the opener to Nikola Mileusnic 34-minutes in, whilst Joe Lolley’s s*it penalty attempt was easily saved by Jordan Holmes in the second-half. And it took a scrappy goal from ex-Brisbane Forward turned-Sydney Attacker Alex Parsons, his first for the club in the 94th-minute, to salvage something from the encounter. Both sides will no doubt be seeking more positive results this time around!
He scored at the Qatar World Cup, he’s won an Asian Cup with Australia, he’s featured for multiple Bundesliga teams and has two A-League trophies to his name! Ladies & Gentleman what hasn’t Matthew Leckie achieved as of yet? Well the answer is not a lot! The scorching-hot Attacker is in rich form this season having scored six goals, assisted three + 24 shot assists to his name. Whilst his passing is very precise, having completed 546 passes at an 81% accuracy rate. And in particular there has more recently been a lot of focus placed on him with Jamie Maclaren, his attacking partner in crime, displaying some wobbly form. Leckie as mentioned before bagged his two goals in the Derby, while away at Perth the week before he locked down one goal and one assist. And in a 6-1 rout of Macarthur at AAMI Park prior to that, he registered an assist. Honestly the list just goes on and on for him. His speed and ability to create something out of nothing may look to be utilised against an ageing ‘Sky Blues’ Defence. And if capitalised upon properly he’ll run riot against Steve Corcia’s Men. There’s no two guesses about that.
Betting tip: Look for both teams to score at $1.60 (BoomBet)
Western Sydney Wanderers v Macarthur FC
7:45pm AEDT, CommBank Stadium
Competing in Adelaide against the ‘Reds’ last round, Adelaide and themselves conjured up one of the most entertaining A-League matches ever, as they battled it out in what was a first-ever 4-4 draw in the competition. A 91st-minute red card to the Wanderers Adama Traore put a bit of a damper on the affair, but nothing could stop what ensued throughout the majority of the match. 32-Minutes in Hiroshi Ibusuki calmly converted his spot kick attempt, as he had Lawrence Thomas beaten. Then came the added time of the first-half and that’s where the fun really started. 45 + 1 in Brandon Borrello produced an absolute scorcher from outside of the box to make the score one goal a piece. However still within the allocated extra-minutes of the first-half Alexsander Popovic fought back with a neatly taken effort to regift Adelaide the lead. Yet only five-minutes into the second-half the scores were even again, thanks to Borrello’s second of the match and his sixth strike of the campaign overall. Then within the 63rd-67th-minutes the exciting affair saw two more scored, as Calem Niuwenhof scored his first goal for the ‘Red & Black’, while Ibusuki banged in his second goal of the affair for the ‘Reds’ as well. 11-Minutes from time Ryan Kitto thought he had secured the winner for the hosts, with his goal flying into the top-right corner. But Amor Layouni waltzed through multiple opposition Defenders 90+ 5 into the match, as his cutting strike secured the thrilling draw.
Meanwhile for Macarthur at Campbelltown Stadium they were just edged out by Newcastle in what was a 1-0 loss. In a hectic game that was played for over 239-minutes due to multiple weather delays, as well as the match itself having been pushed back an hour due to the heat, it was always going to be one of ‘those days’ that just never really go your way. Unfortunately for the hosts they leaked the only goal of the entire game just eight-minutes in and despite their best efforts to peg back the scoreline from there, 5/17 shots on target, it never really worked out too well for them. Provided there’s no hectic weather conditions to contend with, this should be a great game of Football.
It might not be the Sydney Derby, but this matchup comes pretty damn close! When they last met at CommBank Stadium there was still a healthy crowd of just under 11,000 spectators to witness the Wanderers demolition job. Running out 4-0 victors over the reigning Australia Cup winners, they procured strikes in the 16, 18, 70 and 88th-minutes of the game, shooting a commanding 8/17 on target. And it wasn’t exactly as one sided as the score might initially make it out to be, as the visiting ‘Bulls’ still had 13 chances at the oppositions goals too. Whilst prior to that in Campbelltown it was all late drama as Tomer Hemed’s supposed late winner in the 85th-minute was ruled out due to VAR. And when you chuck a few cow bells into the crowd + Marko Rudan’s constant defending of his side to the media + Macarthur’s desperation to make the finals, it all makes for a slightly strange albeit quality ‘Sydney Derby’. If you’re around to attend this game in person or alternatively watch it on tv then I would definitely recommend doing so.
Betting tip: Look for a ‘Red & Black’ win at $1.75 (BoomBet)
Sunday, February 26
Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United
3:00pm AEDT, AAMI Park
For the Victory last weekend they claimed a hugely needed result, as they posted a monumental 3-2 upset win over arch-rivals Melbourne City in the Melbourne Derby at AAMI Park. This was just their fifth win of the season from 16 matches, however as a result it has seen them rise up to 10th on the ladder. And the finals are still within their sights! da Silva scoring just seven-minutes in to bag his first Victory goal and open up the lead early on was a massive positive for the club, as was Josh Brillante’s 77th-minute winner, much to the delight of the home fans. However probably the most passionate moment of the entire match came when ex-City Star turned Victory-Attacker Bruno Fornaroli smashed his effort into the back of the net and in the process became the first player to score for both teams in the Derby. You could tell what it meant to him too, as he celebrated the moment fearlessly and with the supporters! He wasn’t about to let it pass him by and rightfully so!
Meanwhile competing at Hindmarsh Stadium against the Wanderers last round, both sides conjured up one of the most entertaining A-League matches ever, as they battled it out in what was a first-ever 4-4 draw in the competition. A 91st-minute red card to the Wanderers Adama Traore put a bit of a damper on the affair, but nothing could stop what ensued throughout the majority of the match. 32-Minutes in Hiroshi Ibusuki calmly converted his spot kick attempt, as he had Lawrence Thomas beaten. Then came the added time of the first-half and that’s where the fun really started. 45 + 1 in Brandon Borrello produced an absolute scorcher from outside of the box to make the score one goal a piece. However still within the allocated extra-minutes of the first-half Alexsander Popovic fought back with a neatly taken effort to regift Adelaide the lead. Yet only five-minutes into the second-half the scores were even again, thanks to Borrello’s second of the match. Then within the 63rd-67th-minutes the exciting affair saw two more scored, as Calem Niuwenhof scored his first goal for the ‘Red & Black’, while Ibusuki banged in his second goal of the affair for the ‘Reds’ as well + his fifth strike of the season. 11-Minutes from time Ryan Kitto thought he had secured the winner for the hosts, with his goal flying into the top-right corner. But Amor Layouni waltzed through multiple opposition Defenders 90+ 5 into the match, as his cutting strike secured the thrilling draw.
The A-League’s Original Derby, these heated affairs never disappoint! One way in which that is highlighted is that in 10 of their last 13 contested clashes, they have either been a draw or decided by just a single goal. Their last meeting being the utter most perfect example of that, as a 1-1 draw was played out in Adelaide thanks to strikes courtesy of Ben Halloran – 7th-minute and Nick D’Agostino – 49th-minute. With the ‘Reds’ owning 44% possession of the ball and taking 13 shots. Meanwhile the Victory owned 56% possession of the ball and peppered away 15 shots. And with Melbourne having won their last two games on the trot at AAMI Park, 3-2 and 3-1, they are hitting the necessary form needed for a high-profile match such as this one at the exact right time. The ‘Reds’ to their credit have only lost three of their last 11 games on the road, so they are guaranteed to bring the fight. This is another clash of Football that you simply don’t want to miss out on.
Brisbane Roar v Perth Glory
5:00pm AEDT, Moreton Daily Stadium
Warren Moon ‘gonski’ was the utltimate takeaway from Brisbane’s 1-1 draw with Sydney in Moore Park last Saturday afternoon. With the passionate, yet often embattled now ex-coach stood down with immediate effect. And despite the Roar’s obvious struggles of this season it seems like a strange result to announce it after. Because they conceded just the one goal despite Sydney owning 65% possession of the ball and firing away 20 shots at goal. While for the Glory at Macedonia Park they blew a 2-0 lead, to eventually share the spoils with the Mariners 2-2. Despite Sam Khelifi scoring in the 16th and 51st-minute of the game it regrettably wasn’t quite enough to get the job done. That as two late and quick-fire Jason Cummings converted penalties in the second-half meant that each team had to settle for a point at the end of the day. As how teams normally do when they fire a coach, Brisbane should come out all guns blazing, meanwhile I’d expect similar from Perth who are on the cusp of a finals berth.
Brisbane will no doubt start this affair with a lot of energy and a lot of attack, however I’ll also back the Glory to get the win done in this one. The Roar are in horrible form at the moment, having lost five of their last seven games and they’ve also won just one in eight. Their defence is also atrocious which is something that the free-scoring Glory should be able to break down with relative ease. As they have produced 2+ goals in all of their last seven straight matchups. Sam Khelifi is coming into this clash off the back of his double, whilst David Williams also has five on the season as well. They might’ve started off the season a bit slow, but the Glory’s attack is well and truly into the full swing of things now and I just find it very difficult to imagine the Roar producing much outside of an imaginative opening 15-20 minutes or so in this affair. Look for it to be a ‘glorious’ day for the Glory.
Betting tip: Look for a Glory win at $3.60 (BlueBet)
Best Bets of the Round – Central Coast Mariners vs Wellington Phoenix
Back over 2.5 collective goals to be scored at $1.57 (Bet365)
Also back Jason Cummings to score any time at $1.90 (Bet365)