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A-League Winners and Losers: Jets take off as 'joke' penalty sinks Mariners

02:33 GMT+3 18/02/2019
A-League split
A weekend of highs and lows for the A-League

A club-record crowd for Wellington Phoenix, an impressive turnaround from Newcastle Jets and a 'joke' Sydney FC penalty underlined an intriguing round of A-League action.

Warren Joyce and Brisbane Roar will be left scratching their heads after two poor performances, while Roly Bonevacia stole the show for Western Sydney Wanderers. 

Check out all our winners and losers below...

  • Wellington Phoenix fans

    Winner: Eden Park

    It might have been 600 kilometres away from Wellington, but Auckland saw the Phoenix draw a regular-season record crowd on Friday night. 

    An impressive 23,648 fans turned up at Eden Park to watch the Nix draw 1-1 with Melbourne Victory.

    While average fan attendance is now 3,000 higher than last season, the temporary shift to Auckland proved particularly fruitful for the Nix.

    With Eden Park a much better football venue than Westpac Stadium, Wellington could benefit from finding a more suitable venue next season with fans clearly ready to embrace the club once again.  

  • Warren Joyce Melbourne City

    Loser: Warren Joyce

    Melbourne City may have added two attackers in January, but the club's final third struggles continued on Friday. 

    Against a depleted Newcastle Jets, Warren Joyce's side still couldn't effectively breakdown their opponents. 

    Despite bossing possession, completing double the passes and shots of Ernie Merrick's men, City never really looked all that threatening in the final third.

    Only getting seven of their 18 shots on target and creating one big chance to Newcastle's two, Joyce simply isn't getting the necessary spark out of this team. 

    Kearyn Baccus and Luke Brattan in the centre of the park aren't proving to be effective springboards for City leaving new signings Jamie Maclaren and Shayon Harrison left adrift up top. 

    With plenty of attacking assets at his disposal, Joyce needs to be getting more out of this side with their spot in the top six now far from secure.  

  • Newcastle Jets Joey Champness

    Winner: Newcastle Jets

    With Joyce left scratching his head, the Jets soared on Friday as they defied a short turnaround.

    Having been pushed to extra time on Tuesday night in an ACL qualifier by Persija Jakarta, Merrick rested a number of first-team players and nearly lived up to his promise to play the U16's.

    While he didn't go quite that far, the fringe he players he did draw upon stepped up with Jair netiing a fine opener having been left out of Newcastle's ACL squad entirely.

    Joey Champness then stole the show off the bench scoring and picking up an assist on his return from injury to give the Jets frontline a timely edge.

    Having laboured all season, Newcastle look like a busy schedule has finally seen them take flight with a huge clash against Kashima Antlers now awaiting them. 

  • Darren Davies

    Loser: Brisbane Roar

    Having picked up a dramatic win against Sydney FC last week, Brisbane were brought back down to earth against Perth Glory on Saturday.

    While backing up against the league leaders was never going to be easy, the nature of the defeat will leave a bad taste in fans' mouths.

    The 4-0 scoreline was almost flattering for Darren Davies' men with Glory registering 27 shots to Brisbane's eight - with only two of those on target.

    Having lost Adam Taggart mid-week, Roar will now end the season with a makeshift attack and defence that could well give the Mariners a chance of offloading the wooden spoon.

  • Roly Bonevacia

    Winner: Roly Bonevacia

    A second straight win for the Wanderers on Saturday night against Adelaide United was largely the result of an in-from Roly Bonevacia.

    With the game locked at 1-1 and the Reds probing to go ahead, Bonevacia tried his luck from distance and was rewarded with a fifth goal in seven games.

    He then wrapped up the contest dinking a delightful ball into the path of Abraham Majok, who finished with aplomb, to bag his second assist of the match. 

    Bonevacia has been the Wanderers standout player this season with six goals and four assists to his name.

    Perth Glory are reportedly keen to lure him west next season and he's quickly reminding fans why he was in demand a few years ago. 

  • Adam Le Fondre Sydney FC

    Loser: Sydney FC and a soft penalty

    After losing to Brisbane Roar last week, the Sky Blues scraped to a fortunate draw against the Mariners on Sunday. 

    Falling behind in the first-half, Sydney FC dominated play for much of the match but failed to create anything meaningful and relied on Alex Brosque going to ground in the box to draw level.

    While contact was made and a penalty by the laws of the game, Ned Zelic described the penalty as 'a bit of a joke' with the Sky Blues veteran clearly looking for the contact.

    The decision summed up the Mariners season, who were perhaps content with a point in the end.

    For Sydney FC, the result all but ends their hopes of defending the Premiers Plate with the performance itself asking serious questions of their credentials this season. 

    The arrival of Reza Ghoochannejhad looks to have only unsettled the Sky Blues attack with the Iranian and Adam Le Fondre failing to gel so far.