Round one of the highly anticipated competition kicked off under lights at AAMI Park on Friday night as Melbourne City hosted Brisbane Roar. This was our first chance to see defending champions City who boasted the star attacking trio of Mathew Leckie, Andrew Nabbout and Jamie Maclaren, fresh from their exploits at the Socceroos’ recent FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
However, the first goal of the evening did not arrive from any of the star trio with defender Curtis Good arriving on the scene to break the deadlock on 40 minutes.
Momentum was clearly in the home side’s favour as they proceeded to add a second via Connor Metcalfe three minutes later.
It was not all bad news for Roar who eventually worked their way back into the encounter with a Luke Ivanovic goal in the 71st minute. However, there was late drama when Kai Trewin thought he had done enough to rescue a point only for the youngster to be adjudged offside.
Moving on to the headline event at CommBank Stadium as Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC did battle on Saturday night.
A derby in round one sure does bring in the crowds however it was a matter of getting rid of the cobwebs for both teams who had endured a lengthy preseason.
There may have been plenty of chances throughout the encounter but it was that finishing touch that proved elusive.
Wanderers’ new recruit Tomás Mejías kept Sydney’s potent attack at bay while at the other end, Andrew Redmayne made a stunning save to deny Western Sydney’s big name signing in Jack Rodwell late in the second half.
The other Saturday night fixture took us to GMHBA Stadium as Western United faced off against Melbourne Victory.
There were two new faces in the dugout with John Aloisi now tasked with revitalising United while Tony Popovic returned to the A-League for his third stint as a coach – this time with Victory.
Following a cagey start, it was Popovic’s men who took the match to their opposition and they were eventually rewarded with the deciding goal thanks to new signing Roderick Miranda. The Portuguese defender headed home Jack Brimmer’s corner at the near post with a quarter of an hour remaining.
The final match of Saturday’s triple header went west as Perth Glory fans flocked to a jampacked HBF Park to see their side meet Adelaide United.
There was also just the small added bonus of ex-Liverpool star Daniel Sturridge who was set to grace the A-League for the first time!
However, it did not all go to plan for Richard Garcia’s Glory who went behind from United's Kusini Yang.
The hosts were now on the lookout for that special piece of magic which did arrive… but not from Sturridge.
One of the A-League’s most prolific strikers Bruno Fornaroli smashed the ball past a helpless James Delianov after his lung bursting run from only metres into Adelaide’s half went unchecked.
Antonee Burke-Gilroy thought he had soon done enough to give Perth the lead however VAR found an offside call in the build up that saw the goal chalked off.
Heading into Sunday where it was a double header in Newcastle at McDonald Jones Stadium. First up was a hotly contested F3 derby between Newcastle Jets and Central Coast Mariners.
It proved to be the perfect outing for new Mariners boss Nick Montgomery whose side got 2-1 up against their fierce rivals.
Josh Nisbet was first to get on the scoresheet this season for the Central Coast just after the break before 19-year-old defender Jacob Farrell scored on his debut when he knocked in Cy Goddard’s in swinging corner.
Jets’ new coach Arthur Papas did have something to take away from the match as his side pulled one back through Valentino Yuel but it was the Mariners who stood firm as they held on for all three points.
The action wrapped up later that evening as Macarthur FC and Wellington Phoenix took centre stage in Newcastle.
A VAR intervention was responsible for the award of a penalty after 25 minutes in this clash. Pheonix’s Reno Piscopo was originally judged to have been fouled outside the box before the decision was made to change it to a spot kick.
The returning Gary Hooper made no mistake with the penalty to give his side the advantage.
The score remained in their favour until the hour mark when Lachlan Rose’s spectacular volley found the back of the net to ensure that the Bulls shared the spoils.