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A-League and Australian football news LIVE: Babbel asks Wanderers to embrace their 'dirty' side

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Rhyan Grant reveals his close brush with death only six months ago


The Socceroos right back is excelling at the Asian Cup in the UAE - but it nearly wasn't to be.

Read Grant's riveting story about the day he nearly died.

Syria supporters abuse Mexican referee after Asian Cup elimination


It appears some Eagles fans haven't reacted well to their team's 3-2 loss against Australia that saw them exit the tournament.

Referee Cesar Ramos was involved in several controversial decisions, including non-handball ruling, a tight goal-line call and also a incorrect penalty.

See the Syrian reaction and view the incidents that caused all the drama.

Aussie winger has contract terminated in Korea


Kwabena Appiah appears to be a free agent with reports his contract with Korean side Incheon United has been terminated.

The 26 year old moved to the K-League from the Mariners in February last year and went on to score once across 23 league appearances.

Appiah is no stranger to the A-League having previously also played for the Wanderers and the Phoenix and could now be a prime candidate to return to the competition this month.

Speaking to Goal last year, Appiah revealed the challenges of adapting to life in Korea and his pride to have won the ACL with Western Sydney in 2014.

Babbel: Wanderers players too nice


Western Sydney Wanderers coach Markus Babbel has asked his players to embrace their 'dirty' side as they look to turn their form around.

The red and black conceded three goals in seven minutes against Perth Glory as they lost 4-3 on Sunday - their fourth defeat in a row.

For Babbel, he believes his players must find a meaner streak when they're out on the pitch.

"Very nice guys, but on the pitch, let the nice guy stay in the changing room, and bring the dirty one on the pitch," Babbel said. 

"This is what they have to learn but this is a process.

"It’s not the first team to have these problems."

The Wanderers play host to Adelaide United on Friday with their top-six hopes already fading fast. 

Save Hakeem support reaches new heights


A petition to save former Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi has nearly reached its target just 24 hours after being set-up.

Al-Araibi has been detained in Thailand since December and faces deportation back to Bahrain for speaking out against the government in 2012.

Awarded refugee status in Australia in 2017, support for Al-Araibi is growing by the day as pressure mounts on Thai authorities to release him.

Read the full story here. 

Ikonomidis and Mabil have become Australia's deadly duo


With three goals and four assists between them, Chris Ikonomidis and Awer Mabil have breathed fresh air into the Socceroos attack at the Asian Cup.

While all eyes have been on finding a suitable striker to lead the line, the duo have shown just how damage two wingers in top form can dish out.

Socceroos regular Robbie Kruse has seemingly lost his spot to Ikonomidis, while Mathew Leckie could well find it hard to dislodge Mabil when he regains fitness.

Read more about the Socceroos duo breathing life into Australia's attack here. 

Three-goal hero Kosta wants more hat-tricks


Melbourne Victory star Kosta Barbarouses is relishing his new position as a striker and wants to get more hat-tricks after achieving the feat for the first time on Tuesday night.

Barbarouses struck three times and also reached 50 league goals in Victory's 5-0 win over Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.

The Kiwi revealed his pride at reaching the half-century mark and spoke of the enjoyment he gets from playing as a centre-forward

"It's pretty big milestone for myself - obviously I haven't always been a striker. Most of my career in the A-League I've been a winger," Barbarouses said.

"I think everyone can see that I'm very happy in the new position and that comes with more opportunities to score. I think I'm doing well to take them.

"After I got my second goal (vs. Roar) there was still a bit of time left and I thought it was a great chance to get a (hat-trick).

"Luckily a ball popped up to me on the penalty spot and I got my hat-trick. It feels good. I want to do it more often."

Arnold expecting Socceroos trio to return for knockout stages


With Australia's Asian Cup defence plagued by injuries early on, Graham Arnold is hopeful the Socceroos have turned a corner after navigating the group stages.

A 3-2 win over Syria sealed second spot in Group B for the green and gold, who will now face either Japan or Uzbekistan in the Round of 16.

Trent Sainsbury will return for the clash after suspension, while out of an injured trio of Josh Risdon, Mathew Leckie and Andrew Nabbout - two are expected to be fit in time. 

“We’ve got five days between now and the next game and I expect probably three of those players back out of the four,” Arnold said.

“I know (Japanese coach Hajime) Moriyasu very well. I played with him at Sanfrecce and I know he’s a winner.

“Japan obviously have got a tough game against Uzbekistan. We’ll watch the game and prepare ourselves for whoever we have to play.”

Koutroumbis signs contract extension after cancer scare


Back playing again as he recovers from thyroid cancer, Newcaste Jets defender Johnny Koutroumbis has had his resilience rewarded with a contract extension by the club.

The 20 year old has put pen to paper on a new deal with the Jets that will keep him in Newcastle until the end of the 2021/22 season. 

Having regularly caught the eye after first joining the club in 2016, coach Ernie Merrick is delighted to secure Koutroumbis to a long-term deal.

“It’s fantastic to have Johnny signed on for the next three seasons, we see him as a big part of our plans moving forward,” Merrick said.
“His reaction to the cancer diagnosis was a credit to him, showing a strength of character well beyond his years.
“Since his return he looks better than ever, and we’re keen to continue his development over the next few seasons – he’s a player with tremendous potential.”

Steven Taylor hits back at cheating claims


Wellington Phoenix defender Steven Taylor has questioned a number of women claiming the former Premier League player has cheated on them.

In a story straight out of the tabloids, Taylor has been accused of seeing three different women at the same time while in New Zealand.

While Taylor seemingly didn't deny his playboy ways, the 32-year-old stressed he has nothing to apologise for.

"I'm an amazing player and I'm just enjoying life,” Taylor told Daily Mail Australia

"It's going back two years. They've got no life, I just can't believe it. They're just trying to get some fame. 

"Why don't they go on Big Brother or something?

"If I was a married man I'd be holding my hands up - but I'm not."

Taylor has impressed on the pitch in New Zealand and has been a key player for the Nix as they turn a poor few seasons around. 

Mabil's inspirational goal celebration


Socceroos attacker Awer Mabil has revealed the powerful message behind his eye-catching goal celebration.

The 23 year old has been performing a two-handed gesture over his face each time he's struck for Australia and the choice has a special meaning behind it.

“A lot of people suffer from mental health, so that celebration is to bring peace to the mind and to let those people who are suffering from a mental (health issue) – depression or whatever it might be, to represent them and to let them know that it is okay and you just need to talk to someone," he told Fox Sports.

“So this is like a peace, bring to the mind - and then the mouth, covering the mouth is for that you need to talk, so you shouldn’t cover your mouth."

Read the full story here. 

Victory secure stunning Suncorp stat in Roar rout


After a 4-2 victory earlier in the season, Melbourne Victory's 5-0 win over Brisbane Roar on Tuesday means they've now scored more goals at Suncorp Stadium this season than the Roar.

Brisbane have struck just seven times on their own soil this campaign, while Victory's convincing win means they've now scored nine.

It's a sorry stat for the Roar, who also look set to be without their active support group, The Den, for the rest of the season. 

Check out the full match report here. 

Arnold: Australia lacks funding


Socceroos coach Graham Arnold believes Australia risks losing further ground in Asia should they fail to match the financial investment of other countries in the region. 

The likes of China, India and Qatar have poured lots of money into their international prospects with Arnold adamant Australia is well short in that department. 

"We are lacking funds, we lack money, we lack great training facilities," Arnold said.

"We've only got a 10-team league but the Asian teams are definitely catching up and making the gap smaller and smaller."

The 2015 Asian Cup winners face Syria in their final group game in the UAE with a win or a draw set to guarrantee them second spot. 

Roar run into trouble with active support


Brisbane Roar look set to join Melbourne City as another A-League side without active support after ongoing issues with The Den rose to the surface on Tuesday.

Tensions between the two appear to have reached boiling point during the club's last home game against Perth Glory with The Den informing the club that they'd be withdrawing their support until specific demands were met as a result. 

"The background to this is perhaps long and varied," a Roar statement read. 

"However, there was an incident at the recent home game against Perth Glory that has created friction between the club and The Den Steering Committee."

Read the full story here. 

Mulvey hints at Mariners signing spree


Without a win in over 300 days, Central Coast Mariners could welcome up to four new players this month as they search for a way to turn their horrible form around.

Coach Mike Mulvey revealed on Tuesday the club will welcome a number of new faces very soon ahead of Wednesday's clash against Melbourne City. 

"From the talks we’ve had in the past few days, it’ll be at least two [signings], maybe three or four," Mulvey said

"We’ve got the room in the squad and also we’ve got the capability to do it so the club is backing us 100 percent on that.

"I’m hoping we can make an announcement after the Melbourne City game.

"We’re looking at a couple visa spots and an Australian guy." 

Bosnich: Isaias a must for Socceroos


Graham Arnold must consider adding Isaias to his Socceroos squad after the Asian Cup, according to Mark Bosnich.

The Adelaide United captain secured his Australian citizenship last week and Bosnich is adamant his quality can't be overlooked by the green and gold.

“I think as soon as we come home from the Asian Cup, and we reassess things for the World Cup qualifiers, [Isaias] would be one of the first players that I’d put on my team sheet in terms of the Socceroos squad," Bosnich said on Fox Sports. 

Read the full story here.