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Australian Football: The dark horses to win the premiership

The new A-League season gets underway next month and it is time to take a look at who could upset the form book in the 2022/23 campaign.

It is fair to say that Melbourne City will once again be the team to beat in the season ahead. They were not as dominant in 2021/22 but still managed to take out the minor premiership before losing to Western United in the grand final.

Patrick Kisnorbo’s side will be strong once again as will Melbourne Victory, who will be looking to take the title this season after getting themselves right back in the mix last year.

Western United will also be out to prove they are no one-season wonders by going back-to-back under the leadership of John Aloisi.

But as Western proved last season a team can come from nowhere to win the grand final and there will be one or two teams who will fancy of their chances of doing the same this season.

So let’s take a closer look at the teams that may fly under the radar and win the premiership in the campaign ahead.


Macarthur FC

Macarthur are set to embark on their third A-League campaign and this year will be under the leadership of former Manchester United star Dwight Yorke.

Yorke steps in as coach following the decision by Ante Milicic to step aside at the end of last season  after they failed to make finals.

It remains to be seen if Yorke can do any better. It is his first managerial role and it could go one of two ways.

But he will have a strong squad after making a number of new signings in the close season and if he can bring the best out of them then Macarthur could be in the mix to challenge.


Western Sydney Wanderers

Each season expectations are high at Western Sydney but they have struggled to deliver since the Tony Popovic era and have not played finals since 2016/17.

Coach Carl Robinson was axed early last season to be replaced by Mark Rudan. Although the Wanderers still missed out on the top six there were some glimpses of hope.

Rudan has now had more time to make changes to his squad in his first off-season and again expectations will be high to at least make the top six.
The likes of Milos Ninkovic have been brought in from Sydney FC along with Brazilian Marcelo and if everything clicks then there is a chance the Wanderers could challenge.


Central Coast Mariners

The Mariners continue to be written off and continue to prove the doubters wrong after making finals in each of the last two seasons.

Could this be the year they go one step further and win the title? It would of course be a huge boilover but they cannot be dismissed.

Striker Jason Cummings was a revelation in the second half of the season after arriving from Scotland and will be on board again for the new season.

The Mariners also boast teen sensation Garang Kuoul in their ranks and both players have just been called up to the Socceroos squad.

They have a fine young coach in Nick Montgomery who also steered them to the FFA Cup finals last season.

Adelaide United

Adelaide had a strong 2021/22 campaign and look in good shape to go well again in the forthcoming season.

They made it to the semi-finals last season and ran Melbourne City very close before eventually bowing out. However they can take plenty of heart from that.

Carl Veart is an excellent coach and they have a squad packed with quality including the experienced Craig Goodwin.

They appear to have made some shrewd signings with Harry Van Der Saag and Ben Warland arriving from Sydney FC,  while Zach Clough has signed an extended deal.

The Reds have finals experience and could be the side to upset the top three this season.


Newcastle Jets

Arthur Papas made a huge impact at the Jets after arriving as their new coach ahead of the 2021/22 season.

He turned them from a side at the wrong end of the table to one pushing for finals. They played an exciting brand of football and scored goals for fun.

If he can sort the defence out this season there is no reason they cannot make the top six or go even higher.

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