Buried deep in Australian cable television land lies a show dedicated to local football that features highlights from all the state leagues in the country.
It features Football Federation Victoria, Football NSW, Football QLD, Football Federation Tasmania and Football West.
The football show is buried between the 'Love Bunker' (the program guarantees to lift the lid on what twenty-somethings get up to behind closed doors) and 'Dark Carnival' (featuring the wonder of amateur short films).
The show in question is called 'The Australian Premier League Football Show' and it’s on the AURORA channel on Foxtel.
The times you can catch it are Friday nights at 7:30pm and repeated on Monday night’s at 10:30pm.
That’s right, potentially Australia’s new Harry Kewell or Tim Cahill is strutting his stuff for all to see in prime-time community cable TV.
The show is hosted by the charismatic Ross Alatsas; I wouldn’t say he has Nicholas Cage hair but he is getting close - think around the time of the Cohen brothers’ film, Raising Arizona.
Last season in the A-League there were many players who were recruited from the various Premier League competitions around Australia, such as: Shannon Cole (Sydney FC), Mark Pellegrino (Perth Glory), Pedj Bojic (Central Coast Mariners) and Many Muscat (Wellington Phoenix).
So why is this show so hidden? Even folks with cable have no idea this programme exists. Surely it deserves to be on a sports channel somewhere?
Here is an update of what is happening around the top state divisions across Australia...
There are 12 teams competing in the 2009 club championship and there have been eight rounds completed so far.
Former NSL (National Soccer League) representatives Sydney United lead the table on 20 points with six wins and two losses so far.
Not far behind with a gap of five points lay the Sutherland Sharks and Manly United on 15 points each.
Sydney Olympic have had a season of controversy after Aytec Genc quit his post as head coach and was replaced by ex-Newcastle Jets boss Nick Theodorakopoulos.
Last week the Blues beat the Bankstown Lions for their second win in a row under Theodorakopoulos; they climb into the top five with 12 points.
Top goalscorers so far are:
Mathew Mayora (Sydney Olympic), 7 goals.
Luka Glavas (Sydney United), 6 goals.
Football Federation Victoria (FFV)
With former NSL teams like South Melbourne and Melbourne Knights competing and players like Melbourne Victory’s Rodrigo Vargas and former Adelaide United standout Sasa Ognenovski joining the A-league after strong performances in that league, there is plenty of evidence to suggest it is the strongest state league in the country.
The 2009 season saw the Whittlesea Zebras retain their position in the competition, as the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) will no longer be competing in the Foxtel Cup.
The decision to leave the competition was due to the AIS offering scholarships to younger players, subsequently making it inappropriate for the AIS team to compete in a Premier League competition.
After eight rounds, Dandenong Thunder lead the table on 22 points while South Melbourne and Heidelberg United are equal second on 16 points.
Top goalscorers so far are:
Osagie Ederaro (Heidelberg Utd), 6 goals
Goran Zoric (South Melbourne), 6 goals
Queensland State League (QSL)
Well with names like the Capricorn Cougars and Whitsunday Mariners, and Robbie Fowler joining the North Queensland Fury, the sunshine state is more than a tropical escape route for fed up southerners; it is fast becoming a haven for footballers young and old.
The top two took on each other last week as Olympic FC met cross town rivals and ex-NSL side Brisbane Strikers on ANZAC Day.
Olympic won 3-2 in clash which featured a send off, a penalty and some ferocious tackling. They now top the table with 19 points, four clear of Strikers, who are on 15, and six clear of third-placed Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS).
Top goalscorers so far are:
Gareth Musson (Brisbane Strikers), 6 goals.
Joshua Searle (North Queensland Razorbacks), 6 goals.
Russell Woodruffe (Redlands City Devils), 6 goals.
Football West (WA League)
Three rounds have been played so far and the match of round three saw Floreat Athena beat the reigning premiers, Sorrento, 2-1.
The ladder sees two undefeated teams sharing the lead with Perth SC and Floreat Athena on nine points each.
Todd Howarth for Perth SC is the leading scorer so far with four goals.
Football Federation Tasmania (FFT)
With the A-League looking to expand and talk about the Tasmanian bid circling in the media recently, it’s particularly interesting to see the quality of football that is played in Tasmania.
The problem that the Apple Isle has in getting a team in the country's top tier is the north and south divide, as the state is segregated into two separate regional divisions.
The Tasmanian Northern League sees the Northern Rangers on top of the ladder with five games played and 13 points, followed in second by Somerset on nine points.
The top goalscorer for the Northern League is Paul Bremener of the Northern Rangers with eight goals.
The Tasmanian Southern League sees South Hobart and Tilford Zebras share the lead, with both teams on 16 points after seven games played.
The top goalscorers for the Southern League are Luke Cripps (Clarence Utd), Greg Freeman (Kingborough) and Dwayne Walsh (Tilford Zeberas), all on seven goals.
So with the A-League having a very long off-season, if you still want a hit of local football action, the various state leagues can provide you with a football fix during the cold wintry months, even if you have to search for it.
Con Stamocostas, Goal.com