Vince Rugari looks back at all the issues from another big weekend of Australian football, both home and away.
By Vince Rugari
Carney joins Uzbek club, has more passport stamps than Carmen Sandiego
David Carney is off to Bunyodkor. The fleet-footed fringe Socceroo has made another surprise move at the time of his career when he should be settled and playing regularly. The 28-year-old severed ties with Spanish second-tier side AD Alcorcon on Friday and jumped ship after a successful trial in Uzbekistan. On the surface it seems a puzzling move, given he could easily attract big money in the A-League if he decided to come home. There is not too many quality left-footed players in domestic Australian football, and the former Blackpool midfielder's nationality means he would come at a premium. At the very least, though, Carney has found a potential shop window for himself with 'the Swallows', as they are known. With their AFC Champions League campaign right around the corner - they are drawn in Group E with Gamba Osaka and potentially Adelaide - he may have engineered the move with an eye for other opportunities. If Carney can do well in that tournament and perhaps attract the interest of a Japanese or Korean club, then all might not be lost, but you have got to wonder if the bloke has any more room for stamps in his passport.
'Emergency surgery' needed, but no doctors at hand
Another week, another controversial red card. Trent Sainsbury's send-off in Central Coast's loss to Melbourne Victory had plenty questioning the decision of referee Peter Green - including Graham Arnold, who was beside himself that Adrian Leijer escaped caution despite committing a near-identical tackle in the first half. The expulsion is just one example of a slew debatable calls that have been made by the match officials in what has been a difficult season for them. Many have demanded instant improvement, but only last Thursday the FFA unveiled their three-year strategic plan to help the standard of officiating catch up to the rising level of football. They should be applauded for that. But with the finals series just around the corner, is there a need for emergency surgery? What are the options? Short of giving Mike Whitney a crash course in the laws of the game, we may have to grin and bear it. But if things continue as they are then the A-League runs the risk of seeing destinies decided by an erroneous whistle.Bleiberg's babes graduate from National Youth League
Statisticians, get to work - has any A-League side put out a younger starting XI than what Miron Bleiberg did on Sunday? The Gold Coast coach quipped after his side's 2-1 loss to Adelaide on Sunday that the makeshift team he took into the fixture would not have looked out of place in the National Youth League. He was not joking - it actually wouldn't. NYL sides are not allowed to have any more than four 'overage' players in their XI at any one time. At Skilled Park, United's senior squad only started with four over the age of 23 - Michael Thwaite (28), Kristian Rees (32), Maceo Rigters (28) and Chris O'Connor (26). The letter of the law confirms that Bleiberg could have named the exact same side in the youth competition, such was its inexperience. "We could play this team in the youth league today and they would be champions," he said. "In the A-League, we are at the bottom." That might be the case this season, but they showed enough to suggest that the club is pioneering youth development in the A-League along with Melbourne Heart. Funnily enough, those two sides do battle on Friday, and it is not going out on a limb to suggest there will be a few future Socceroos involved in that contest.Quote of the week
It would be rude not to hand inaugural quote of the week honours to Bleiberg, who is arguably the most media-savvy coach in the business. After Gold Coast's loss to the Reds, however, the charismatic tactician was getting emotional. Watching his youngsters fight it out for no reward got him in something of a musical mood.
"It reminds me of the good old song, I don't know if you're old enough to remember - it was a very famous song by the Rolling Stones. It goes, 'I sit and watch as tears go by, as the children play'," he said.
Actually, the lyric goes: 'It is the evening of the day/I sit and watch the children play/Smiling faces I can see, but not for me/I sit and watch as tears go by'... but it is nonetheless a classic song, so full points to Bleiberg for his pop music nous.
|"It reminds me of the good old song, I don't know if you're old enough to remember - it was a very famous song by the Rolling Stones. It goes, 'I sit and watch as tears go by, as the children play'."
- Miron Bleiberg
Player of the week
It is hard to go past Brett Emerton here. The Sydney FC marquee probably has not yet reached everyone's lofty expectations of him, but he certainly showed his class in his side's 2-1 win over Perth Glory. He had a hand in both goals - he scored the first one himself, and he laid on the second. Both were similar situations - Emerton received possession from the left, and then controlled what were both difficult balls with quality first touches, allowing him to either put away an easy goal or provide the assist for another. The former Blackburn Rovers stalwart has not been able to outshine the A-League with his superior skills on any sort of consistent basis, but on Sunday those were two little snapshots that serve as a reminder to his value.Youngster of the week
A week on from the dazzling debut performance of Melbourne Heart left full-back Craig Goodwin, another wide defensive talent has been uncovered. Gold Coast United prospect Daniel Bowles was excellent in his maiden start at right wing-back. The 20-year-old, who was originally on the books of regional rival Brisbane, stood out despite being part of a side effectively condemned to the wooden spoon after dropping all three points to Adelaide at home. Bowles is naturally fit, comfortable on the ball and has the engine to suggest he is a real box-to-box wide player - equally adept in defence and attack. Combined with Goodwin's oustanding start to life in the A-League, perhaps the next Olyroos side is sorted in the full-back department.Goal of the week
TOM ROGIC has played, what, a handful of A-League games now? No matter - he took his goal for Central Coast on Friday night like a seasoned pro. Baiting three Melbourne Victory defenders on the counter attack, he found just enough space to slide the ball between them all and past Ante Covic to give his side the lead. The Mariners might have lost the match, but they have uncovered a gem in Rogic - and it is decent timing, too, with usual playmaker Mustafa Amini off to begin life at Borussia Dortmund come the end of the season.