The reigning premiers are getting players back from injury and looking good going into 2014, while a dismissal may have saved the red and whites' beleaguered coach1. Newcastle love playing in Brisbane (Dan Colasimone @ Suncorp Stadium)
The Jets maintained their excellent record at Suncorp Stadium, notching their eighth win at the venue to prevent the Roar from breaking away further at the top of the table. On the run of play, it was a deserved 2-0 victory for Gary van Egmond's side, who effectively stifled Brisbane's passing game by flooding the midfield and remaining disciplined in defence; it's a formula that other teams will likely try to replicate now that the Jets have shown how it's done.
2. Kisnorbo red buys Aloisi time (Dejan Kalinic @ AAMI Park)
A red card to Patrick Kisnorbo cost Melbourne Heart any chance of getting something out of the derby, and perhaps bought coach John Aloisi at least another game in charge. Aloisi's side were arguably the better in the opening 20 minutes, but a defender as experienced as Kisnorbo should know better than to go sliding in so recklessly with Ben Williams, the league's most card-happy referee, in charge of the contest. The Heart must win against Wellington. For the Victory, their first half was as sloppy as they have been this season. If not gifted the opener by Andrew Redmayne, anything may have happened but Kevin Muscat will just be glad to have collected another three points.
3. Glory stumble on after Edwards debacle (Michael Washbourne @ nib Stadium)
Perth Glory will be happy to see the end of a tumultuous week that began with Alistair Edwards sacked as coach and concluded with an uninspiring scoreless draw with Adelaide United. Former long-time assistant Kenny Lowe is now at the helm, but very little (if anything) changed and it's hard to see Glory's fortunes improving in the immediate future. A second clean sheet in as many weeks has lifted the spirit of the Reds, who could be bolstered by the return of Fabio Ferreira and Daniel Bowles for Sunday's home clash with Newcastle Jets. The form of Argentine playmaker Marcelo Carrusca is also encouraging as the halfway point of the season approaches.
4. Wanderers in ominous form (Adam Lucius @ Pirtek Stadium)
Tony Popovic admitted he didn't think his team would be sitting so pretty at this stage of the campaign. All the pre-season work was aimed at a peak sometime in the next month or so, but here we are with the Wanderers second heading into the Christmas-New Year period.
Don't be fooled by the scoreline, the Wanderers probably should have beaten a fatigued Mariners side by more than 2-0. The visitors had their chances but the red and blacks looked in control most of the night in front of a typically boisterous crowd at Parramatta Stadium. Ono and Hersi terrorised the Mariners and Juric was outstanding in his return from injury, scoring a goal which will figure prominently in the season's highlight reels. If Poppa is right, we can't wait to see the Wanderers when they hit optimum level.
Central Coast were backing up just four days after playing Wellington on rock hard North Sydney Oval and were chasing the game from the get-go.
The Wanderers looked faster in transition and had the Mariners defence all at sea at various stages of a pulsating encounter. But coach Phil Moss was right in saying his team had chances to counter punch and score. Marcos Flores had his goal-bound shot saved on the line by Matthew Spiranovic and several other opportunities were squandered or denied by desperate defence. It's a difficult period for Central Coast, with plenty of movement off the pitch to contend with.