After a mixed start to life in Japan with J-League side Yokohama F. Marinos, former Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has reflected on the A-League's inability to mature.
Having been in charge of both Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory, Postecoglou experienced the highs and the lows of the A-League but feels it's continuing to stall due to a hesitance to evolve.
Now coaching in Japan where promotion and relegation has added a whole new dimension to a blossoming football country, the South Melbourne product notes that ability to grow is what separates the two competitions.
"The J-League has matured I think, that's the difference," Postecoglou told Optus Sport.
"The A-league certainly started off really well and then sort of hit a bit of flat spot and then kind of had a bit of resurgence.
"But all of that was kind of little hits of something and you're waiting now for the A-League to mature as a league."
With two clubs set to be introduced in the 2019/20 season, the A-League is looking to grow but has a long way to go to catch up to the J-League.
Postecoglou noting the positive impact having such depth in Japanese football has on the nation's youth products.
"I think football here is beginning to mature in that there's a top division, second division, a third division," he said.
"We played some second and third division sides in pre-season. They're well funded, well structured and they've got ambitions to get to the top league.
"It's not just the volume of players, but the experiences they're giving their players and then when I sort of correlate that to what happens in Australia...That's a gap that's just going to get bigger and bigger. "
Marinos have won four of their first 11 games under Postecoglou in all competitions and currently sit 16th in the J-League.