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Heart's Kewell a no-show at A-League launch

The common cold prevented the star from attending Football Federation Australia's carefully choreographed event to mark the start of the 2013-14 campaign

He's one of Australian football's most recognisable names, Melbourne Heart's captain and one of the faces of the A-League's marketing campaign, but Harry Kewell was nowhere to be seen at Tuesday's launch for the new season.

Instead Patrick Kisnorbo and Iain Ramsay were left to fill the void for Heart heading into Friday's first match of the season between Sydney and Newcastle.

Following the launch, Heart coach John Aloisi insisted Kewell's absence was down to nothing more than a 'head cold' and that the 35-year-old former Liverpool and Leeds star would even be right to train on Tuesday afternoon.

Kewell's failure to attend was brought into perspective by the fact injured Newcastle marquee man Emile Heskey managed to make the launch in Sydney, having driven down the M3 to attend despite still recovering from knee surgery.

When asked about Kewell's absence, FFA chief executive David Gallop, allegedly furious about the no-show, declined to go on record.

Aloisi meanwhile insisted there was no serious issue with Kewell.

"He's just woken up with a little bit of a cold," Aloisi said.

"But hopefully he'll be right for training this afternoon.

"I have to look after my boys and make sure they're fit and healthy come Saturday and that's the main thing.

"It would have been nice to have him here for the league but he's done a lot of work already for Fox and for the A-League for promoting it."

"But his main focus this year and that's something that I sat down and spoke to him about, is playing football and that's what he's here to do.

"That's what he wants to do and you know we have to make sure that he's ready to play good football for us."

Despite having an individual meeting with Kewell to address outside distractions, Aloisi maintained he wasn't being overly concerned about Kewell's life off the pitch.

"No, look he acknowledged when I met with him quite a few months ago that he turned up late to Melbourne Victory pre-season and that was hard for him because he had to play a lot of catch-up and wasn't able to perform at his best," said Aloisi.

"So when I sat down with him, it was making sure he had a good pre-season.

"He's always going to work hard, that's the type of character he is, and give himself the best opportunity to perform on the pitch because ultimately that's where he's judged.

"And that's where we're judged so that's what we want from Harry this season."

Aloisi also said he didn't think the illness would prevent Kewell playing in Saturday's blockbuster local derby clash with the midfielder's former side Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium.

"At the moment, no chance that he's in doubt," Aloisi said.

"But you know in three days something can happen to any player.

"But at the moment, he's the first one on the team sheet and he can't wait for the first game and neither can any of the other players."

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