Today was a special double header with the Roar legends v NPL select charity match being played before the main game. It was amazing to see some of the Roar legends take the field again, some who weren’t long out of the game and some who looked like it was the first time they’d kicked a ball in 10 years (maybe true).
Sitting in the Den, we brought out some old chants, some for players who I had never actually watched play. It felt like this game brought back the old atmosphere and culture of the Den, something we’ve been lacking lately.
The match was full of highlights including championship winning Goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos (who still wore his Theo jersey much to my disappointment) scored his first ever goal for the Roar, converting from a corner late in the first half. There was VAR controversy (or mockery), there were stumbles that looked like fakes, there was Tyler Wright the surfer playing in a Shane Steffanutto jersey, sadly no red cards for Danny Tiatto and Henrique playing like it was the 2011 grand final. Henrique and Matt McKay also scored levelling the game to 3-3 after the young guns like Jez Lofthouse playing in the NPL select side quickly got a 3-2 lead early in the match. What a great match for a great cause.
It seemed the Roar legends match might not be over when Scott McDonald subbed on and looked like he belonged in the other squad initially. It seems our penchant for signing retirement age strikers isn’t quite over yet. Although once on the pitch, he seemed to gel well with the other players, making some good runs and passing well.
One player I was glad to see make the return was Corey Brown, with so many young defenders in the squad having someone a little more experienced back on the pitch was a good feeling. Brown fit into the squad straight away, almost like he never left. I think we actually had more Australians in the side than brits for the first time this season with Aldred out suspended and ROD left out of the squad. Perhaps that was why the National anthem played before kick-off, unless they’re embracing nix as an international fixture?
Why do we keep signing more strikers and defenders when midfield is our main problem? We have no one to supply the many strikers we have and our 6 at the back tactic doesn’t do well for attacking play. It looks like we just park the bus every week. You would think having an ex striker as a coach would mean we focus on effective attacking play, but I guess not. We can only hope he will offload ROD to free up space for an effective midfielder.
It seemed like the woodwork was going to be man of the match with the amount of shots that deflected off it this game from both sides. I’m not sure how nix had so many shots given the amount of defenders we had stacking the back line. Clearly a system that doesn’t work, too many chefs not enough waiters. Although we managed to keep our third clean sheet, maintaining our undefeated in 2020 record.
It took Dylan Wenzel-Halls 2 minutes to break the deadlock when he subbed on, although he still hit the woodwork but hitting it so hard it deflected the ball into the back of the net. Good to see him firing with rumours of transfer, hopefully Robbie realises this is his starting striker. With his jersey going for the most at $1700 on last inspection, for the bushfire relief fundraiser, and ROD not starting perhaps it has started to click that he is a fan favourite who needs more game time. DWH also created our almost second goal with a sitter for Inman who missed his chance, sending his shot high and wide. With the rain bucketing down by this point I’ll be more understanding about missing that sitter.
We were able to hold out until the final whistle, getting just our fourth win of the season. With nix getting corner after corner in the wet conditions it was a dangerous last few minutes. Somehow this win put us in 7th, within an arms reach of finals football. I have absolutely no idea how, the state of the league this season must truly be woeful. Looking at all the coaches who have been sacked in the past week, that is a good indicator of the standard this season. Let’s all try and learn to enjoy Fowler football, looks like it will be here to stay for another week.
By Kianna Aquilina