Season 2019-20 has been described as a “transition season” with the clubs, who fought hard to take control of the competition, sharing management of the A-League with Football Federation Australia for one more year.
While there has been criticism about the lack of pre-season marketing, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to be excited about as the big kick-off looms next Friday when Adelaide hosts reigning champions Sydney FC.
It is an unprecedented situation in Melbourne with a new A-League club in Western United and three new coaches. Marco Kurz has replaced Kevin Muscat at Victory, Erick Mombaerts is in at City for Warren Joyce, while Mark Rudan has been lured from Wellington Phoenix to lead Western United.
Western Sydney Wanderers, one of the league’s best-supported teams, will look to rekindle the faith of their fans with a move to their purpose-built stadium in Parramatta.
There have not been any huge signings to rival those of previous years but several players have “come home” to where things started for them, particularly at Victory where Adama Traore, Robbie Kruse and Andrew Nabbout are back for second stints and in Adelaide, where Riley McGree has returned to his home state.
Much interest will focus on Western United, with nobody watching more closely than the executives involved with establishing Macarthur FC which is due to join in the 2020-21 season.
It’s hard not to look at the evidence of the past when looking ahead, asVictory and Sydney FC have both won four championships each: the other A-League clubs have only won six between them in the 14-year history of the competition.
It might not be, very original but, once again the two powerhouses, alongside Perth Glory, appear to be the teams to beat.
First round fixtures
Adelaide United – Sydney FC
Melbourne Victory –
Western Sydney Wanderers – Central Coast Mariners
Wellington Phoenix –
Perth Glory – Brisbane Roar