A-League winners and losers: The redeeming referee and the SCG's sorry fans

Another dramatic round of A-League action has seen the good and bad dealt out

Despite some quality football played on the pitch in Round 2, VAR has once again dominated discussion after a controversial call in the Sydney derby.

While that moment doesn't need any more highlighting, there were some other very good and very bad moments this weekend.

From a referee that stood out for all the right reasons, to a stadium that left fans adrift from the action, here's our winners and losers from Round 2 of the A-League. 

  1. Winner: Alex King

    Less than 24 hours after more VAR controversy, Alex King did his part to prove that A-League referees aren't all bad.

    In just his eighth A-League game in charge, the 26-year-old looked like a far more experienced man in the middle as he kept things in check in a tense match between Brisbane Roar and Wellington Phoenix. 

    Pulling up 31 fouls and dishing out six yellow cards, King allowed the match to flow without being a push over either. 

    Fox Sports commentator Brenton Speed was full of praise for King's refereeing performance - something that all too often goes unnoticed for those with arguably the hardest job in football.

  2. Loser: Sydney Cricket Ground

    It might be one of Australia's most historic stadiums, but there's a reason the SCG hasn't hosted a football match in a few decades.

    Playing host to the Sydney derby on Saturday, some 30,000 fans found themselves struggling to see the action on the pitch. 

    Though the venue allowed a few more fans to pile in, it's hard to justify the extra numbers when they don't get to enjoy the game as they should. 

    While the fan experience left a lot to be desired, the quick pitch did allow for some slick football to be played - it's just a shame those inside the stadium didn't get to see it. 

  3. Winner: Markus Babbel

    His side may have lost and he may have been shown a red card, but the German coach walked away from the Sydney derby a winner with his spirited reaction to more VAR controversy.

    The vision of him throwing down his jacket in anger after Roly Bonevacia's goal was disallowed summed up how most people feel about the VAR right now and showed just how much Babbel cares about carving out some success this season with the Wanderers. 

    While his abuse of the fourth official doesn't set a great example, he was able to make amends with an impressively composed post-match interview and made a point to apologise for his actions in his press conference.

    In an era of footballers and managers supposedly lacking emotion, Babbel's reaction was strangely refreshing with many fans praising the German, who earned a standing ovation from the red and black as he made the long walk off the SCG pitch.

  4. Loser: Melbourne Victory

    After winning the A-League and recruiting very strongly over the off-season, it's been a horror start to the season for Victory.

    Having thrown away a lead in the derby last week to lose 2-1, Kevin Muscat's men were dreadful in the first-half against Perth Glory and rightly trailled 2-0 at the break.

    Showing some signs of life, Victory found a way to equalise late in the game only for all their hard work to be undone by an injury-time strike from Chris Ikonomidis. 

    Back-to-back losses not the way Victory planned to start their title defence and there's plenty of reason for concern. 

    While Keisuke Honda looks every inch a superstar, Melbourne's backline looks particularly shaky after conceding five goals in two games.

    Up front, Kenny Athiu and Kosta Barbarouses have also struggled to make the most of their chances.

    The looming debut of Ola Toivonen should give Muscat's men a vital boost and currently sitting bottom of the table, it's something they desperately need.

  5. Winner: Wellington's defence

    16 games. That's how long it had been since the Nix last secured a clean sheet in the A-League and it was something they deserved on Sunday against Brisbane Roar.

    While the Roar got forward dangerously, particularly in the second-half, Wellington's defence held firm and showed some new-found resolution under Mark Rudan.

    Tom Doyle put in a career best performance at left-back, while Steven Taylor and Andrew Durante are quickly forming an intimidating centre-back pairing.

    Though Taylor should have scored in the first-half, the former Newcaslte United man didn't go hiding after the miss and continued to be at the heart of the Wellington side. 

    With the Nix back four standing tall, their Polish keeper Filip Kurto also stepped up when needed as he made a great injury-time save to deny Alex Lopez. 

  6. Loser: Oriol Riera

    Five Sydney derbies and now five losses for Spanish striker Oriol Riera.

    Having scored just minutes into his first derby, Riera would have struggled to imagine such a disastrous run against the Sky Blues.

    The Spaniard struggled on Saturday night with a combination of poor delivery and growing frustration seeing him get just one of his seven shots on target.

    After scoring in his A-League debut last season, Riera has now fired blanks in his first two games to start the season and will be desperate to make amends against the Nix next week.