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  1. Soccer

Australian Football: The big four premiership contenders

The release of any fixture schedule always brings the new season that little bit closer and it is no different in the A-League as the fixture list has just been announced.

The 18th season of the A-League will get underway on the 7th October 2022 and will run through until 27th May 2023.

There will also be a mid-season break in this campaign due to the 2022 FIFA World Cup which gets underway in Qatar in November.

Therefore the A-League will take a break from 18th November to 8th December. To compensate the season does start a little earlier.

Last season Melbourne City won the minor premiership, but it was Western United who where the surprise package when winning the grand final, defeating City.

There have been some big signings arriving down under during the close season including the arrival of Charlie Austin and Nani.

It is building up to be an exciting season so let’s take a closer look at some of the sides that are expected to go well in 2022/23.

Western United

8/1

Western United were without doubt the surprise package of last season as John Aloisi guided them to grand final glory in his first season in charge.

Western have only been in the A-League for three seasons and now their biggest test will be trying to live up to the rise in expectations following last season’s success.

They built their success on a solid defence and now rival clubs will know what they are all about.  However coach Aloisi will be prepared for that and they have retained the services of star striker Aleksandar Prijovic.

They have also added experienced midfielder James Troisi to their ranks with the promise of more to come.

Western United will kick-off the new season with a trip to take on Melbourne City in a repeat of last season’s grand final.

Melbourne City

5/2

Patrick Kisnorbo’s side will be desperate to make up for the disappointment of losing last season’s grand final against Western United.
They will get an immediate chance to lay the ghost to rest when the two sides clash again at AAMI Park in the curtain raiser to the new season on 7th October.

City won the minor premiership last season, but only just. They let a healthy lead slip and their form heading into finals was a little patchy.

Lessons will have been learnt and City will no doubt be the team to beat once again in the new season.

City will again have a side packed with quality with the likes of Socceroos Jamie McLaren and Mathew Leckie in the side while they have also added Dutch midfielder Richard van der Venne to their ranks.
 

Melbourne Victory

3/1

Victory had a great 2021/22 A-League campaign when winning the FFA Cup and finishing third on the ladder and they could kick on again this season under the leadership of Tony Popovic.

Popovic took them from the bottom of ladder to pushing for the championship in his first season and expectations will be high going into the new season.

They have strengthened further and the addition of former Manchester United and Portugal international Nani is one to excite the supporters.

Noah Smith is another exciting capture from the Central Coast Mariners, as is George Timotheou who arrives from Adelaide United.

The experienced striker Tomi Juric has also signed from Macarthur so Victory look to have the squad to mount another title challenge.

Victory begin the new season away at Sydney FC.
 

Sydney FC

6/1

The Sky Blues who have been so dominant in recent seasons had a campaign to forget in 2021/22 and surprisingly did not even make the top six to play finals.

That was partly down to the fact that recruitment was poor heading into the season and they struggled to find the consistency that has been the hallmark of their game recently.

They have kept faith with coach Steve Corica who has vowed to turn things around and he has already cleared the decks with a number of players moving on ahead of a rebuild.

It has been relatively quiet regards incoming transfer activity but expect that to change before the season gets underway.

There has been one big signing though with Spanish left-back Diego Caballo arriving to take one of the overseas Visa slots.

Sydney get the season underway with a huge game which is known as the ‘Big Blue’ when they take on arch rivals Melbourne Victory on 8th October.

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