Five we learned in the A-League: Brisbane Roaring, Phoenix rises

Goal Australia's match reporters provide insight and analysis from each weekend's action in the 2013-14 A-League season

1. Ange's Victory make a statement [Steve Barrett @ Coopers Stadium]

In less than quarter of an hour of football, Victory underwent an inspiring metamorphosis, evolving from a frustrated outfit, staring at a winless and goalless opening fortnight to one brimming with the trademark confidence of old. Refereeing errors arguably cost Melbourne a deserved win but the manner in which they bossed Adelaide in the second half augurs well, with or without coach Ange Postecoglou, for this Friday's blockbuster with high-flying Brisbane Roar. Coming off a five-day break, United wilted considerably as the match wore on and were lucky to scrape a point. With eight days rest before tackling Central Coast on Saturday, there are no excuses this week.


2. Defensive Heart deadly on the break [Michael Huguenin @ AAMI Park]

If Melbourne Heart fans were hoping to see a more expansive style at times this season compared to their defensive performance in the Round One derby, indications are they will be disappointed. But in positive news for those of a red and white persuasion is that John Aloisi's defensive structure and counter-attacking focus could make Heart much more competitive this season. Heart again conceded over 60 percent possession in their 2-2 draw with Central Coast Mariners. But they showed lightning speed on the break with David Williams [two goals] brilliant in the hole and Golgol Mebrahtu warming to the role of lead striker. Again the match officials made the difference in Round Two, underlining why it is so important the FFA follows through with their plan for full-time referees, with the Mariners' first penalty very soft and handing the reigning A-League champions a lifeline they made the most of.


3. Mulvey's Roar genuine contenders [Dan Colasimone @ Suncorp Stadium]

Brisbane Roar demolished Sydney FC 4-0 at Suncorp Stadium to confirm they are one of the front-runners for this season's A-League crown. Following on from a gritty away win to Wellington Phoenix, Mike Mulvey's side turned on the style to dispatch a listless Sky Blues outfit. Frank Farina's men were set up to absorb pressure and hit on the counter attack, but a pair of set pieces within two first half minutes saw them undone at the back, and it was all Brisbane after that. It will be back to the drawing board for Sydney, who also lost Alessandro Del Piero to injury, while the Roar can expect opponents from here on in to try various ploys to shut down their slick-passing midfield.


4. Jets lack threat, Glory improving [Mark Hughes @ Hunter Stadium]

After an impressive build-up and a number of players representing national teams in the off-season the Newcastle Jets have failed to fire so far. They look quite competent in the middle of the park but they lack creativity up front and have yet to score a goal in two outings so far this campaign. They are missing the presence of former England international and marquee Emile Heskey, who is sidelined for at least another two weeks with a knee injury and will be relying on veteran Michael Bridges and young gun Nathan Burns forming a creative partnership up front. The Glory, led by the experience of skipper Jacob Burns, started to find their feet against the Jets and had the better of the second half. They will head back to NIB Stadium buoyed by getting their first point of the season and starting to play into some form.


5. Merrick's Phoenix no pushovers [Steve Orme @ Pirtek Stadium]

The Wanderers looked like world beaters in the opening 25 minutes but couldn't maintain the range for the full 90 minutes. Last year's premiers are in seventh spot on the A-League ladder after consecutive draws to start their campaign but coach Tony Popovic saw enough in his side's performance to feel good about their chances this season. The Phoenix showed they're not content to make up the numbers in 2013-14, dominating for extended periods after an early onslaught from the hosts to claim a well-deserved point on the road. Paul Ifill was superb in the second half and Carlos Hernandez showed glimpses of his best in a promising outing for Ernie Merrick's side.