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A-League Winners and Losers: Joyce justified as Riera's frustrations mount

02:27 GMT 03/12/2018
Warren Joyce
A dramatic weekend of A-League action

After starting with a bang in Adelaide, Round 6 of the A-League had pretty much everything - from red cards and VAR drama to a handicapped streaker.

Both Melbourne sides stepped up with Warren Joyce's decision to leave Bruno Fornaroli out of his City squad justified to some extent as Kevin Muscat witnessed Victory tear apart Western Sydney Wanderers. 

It wasn't such a good weekend for misfiring Spanish striker Oriol Riera nor Adelaide United defender Taylor Regan, who was played like a fiddle by Stefan Mauk.

Check out all our winners and losers for Round 6...

  • Warren Joyce Melbourne City

    Winner: Warren Joyce

    His decision to leave Bruno Fornaroli out of his squad to face Newcastle Jets raised plenty of eyebrows and angered his own fans, but Joyce was justified with a stunning Melbourne City performance on Sunday.

    While no stranger to getting players offside, every City player stepped up against the Jets and they were worthy of their 3-0 win. 

    Luke Brattan, who was dropped by Joyce earlier in the season, produced a brilliant performance and delivered for his coach with a stunning long-range strike.

    Though without a recognised striker in the absence of Fornaroli, City showed they can survive without him and could cash in on their star in January without their league form suffering too badly.

    Young guns Lachlan Wales and Riley McGree appear to be thriving under Joyce with the English coach's hard-line approach ensuring they both reach another level this season. 

    So while Joyce might not be rubbing every player the right way, he is showing he can get the best out of others with City reaping the rewards of that on Sunday. 

  • Oriol Riera Western Sydney Wanderers

    Loser: Oriol Riera

    He's been linked to a move to Spain and after his performance on Saturday, Oriol Riera's days in the A-League could be numbered.

    The Spanish striker struggled against Melbourne Victory as his wayward form in front of goal continued. 

    Aside from lacking a finishing touch, Riera was subject to some serious physical treatment from Kevin Muscat's side - fouled three times in quick succession in the first-half before copping an accidental punch from Lawrence Thomas in the second 45 minutes. 

    With The Covert Agent reporting a second-division side in Spain are keen to lure Riera home for considerable money, the time might be right for the player and club to go their separate ways - especially if Babbel can find a suitable replace.

  • Brandon O'Neill Sydney FC

    Winner: Brandon O'Neill

    Another man in demand according to reports and Brandon O'Neill did his value no harm on the weekend. 

    With Sydney FC far from their best against a spirited Mariners outfit, O'Neill was the Sky Blues' best and secured all three points with a thumping long-range effort.

    Aside from his decisive goal, the midfielder ran the show with the most interceptions, second most passes and second most tackles against the Mariners.

    O'Neill has been Sydney's most consistent performer so far this season and deserves some reward - whether that be a transfer to Europe or international call-up sooner rather than later. 

  • Ryan Lowry

    Loser: Centre-backs

    It was a tough weekend for a number of central defenders with Taylor Regan and Ryan Lowry both sent off. 

    In Adelaide, Stefan Mauk managed to get Regan to snap in the second-half with the Reds defender guilty of a shocking attempt at an eye gouge. 

    Lowry's red was far from straight forward with the VAR ensuring he was sent off just minutes after coming on against Perth Glory. 

    While avoiding his marching orders, Tarek Elrich also had a night to forget at centre-back for the Wanderers giving away a penalty as he struggled against a red-hot Victory attack.

  • Keisuke Honda Melbourne Victory

    Winner: Melbourne Victory

    It will go down as one of their best ever regular season performances and Melbourne Victory showed exactly why they are title contenders this season against the Wanderers on Saturday.

    After a slow start to their campaign, Kevin Muscat's men have quickly shaken off the cobwebs with their star players proving to be worth every penny.

    Keisuke Honda is quickly becoming the most consistent marquee player the A-League has seen with his four goals and three assists from six games a stunning early return.

    The Japanese star has rubbed off on his teammates as well with Terry Antonis and James Troisi also impressing. 

    Ola Toivonen hasn't taken long to settle in a Victory shirt after overcoming injury with a goal and two assists to his name after three appearances.  

    In defence, Thomas Deng stepped up in the absence of Georg Niedermeier, while Storm Roux has settled in well at right-back.

    While Perth Glory are still top of the A-League, Victory are the form team right now and will take some stopping based on Saturday's performance. 

  • Mark Rudan Wellington Phoenix

    Loser: Mark Rudan

    He deserved to walk away a winner on Sunday, but Mark Rudan had to settle for a point after a controversial red card cost his side dearly against Perth.

    The Nix dominated in patches against Glory and should have scored more than once as Rudan's search for a second win experienced more frustration. 

    Though the intervention of VAR for the red card was very questionable, the Wellington coach's comments post-game went too far as he singled out the referee. 

    "If (referee Adam Kersey) can sleep well at night, good on him," Rudan said.

    "But you know, he's cost us, he certainly has.

    "It couldn't have been more one-sided. I've never seen anything like it.

    "It got to the point where I had to laugh. I turned around to my coaching staff and it was hilarious. It was a joke, an absolute joke."

    Justified or not, Rudan can't be lashing out like that with his reaction pointing to the serious pressure he's facing as he tries to turn the Nix around.