The prodigies of the A-League illustrate local promise – but will the public respond?


The kids are alright, as many have believed all along.

For 73 minutes this week, even the everlasting navel-gazers of Australian soccer had cause to think beyond the box, as Calem Nieuwenhof converted his A-League debut into such an incisive finish that Stefan Marinovic was on the field in a way that any seasoned international around the world should have experienced by the New Zealand goalkeeper. The long-range strike – topped by the subsequent goal of Luke Brattan – was undoubtedly a great moment for fans of Sydney FC who had not followed the AFC Champions League campaign of their team, which saw the 19-year-old midfielder play every minute against the best of Asia in his first foray into professional soccer. What a way to mark your first #ALeague goal: @Foxtel, @kayosports, @abcsport, @skysportnz: My Foo:
A strong indication of untapped talent at state level was the debut of Macarthur winger Lachlan Rose, a 21-year-old former junior player plucked from NPL2.

Indeed, the first game of the Bulls – a 1-0 victory over a promising-looking Western Sydney, known for its academy items – was an ode to the abilities of a team vying for the title and featuring Alex Susnjar, Denis Genreau and Milislav Popovic, Australian youth internationals. The results of Alou Kuol, Jordan Smylie and Josh Nisbet, whose wins over Newcastle and Macarthur have been their first in a season for more than three years, can also be delighted with the Central Coast – perfect promotion for the league, except that all of them are not as well advertised: Wellington Phoenix 1-2 Sydney FC – how it happenedContinueThere is nothing wrong with the consistency of this competition.

The fans of Rusted-in know this for a fact.

Those who have never tuned in, or not since the early days, are happily shocked, anecdotally. Familiar faces like Mark Milligan from Macarthur support, as does the return of favorites like Bobo, the top Brazilian scorer from Sydney. The truth, however, is that for the casual viewer who follows the English Premier League and other major European clubs, big names remain a big draw, but ultimately little else. Al Hassan Toures could fall out of the sky by the thousands without the appeal of a major player, and only a tiny percentage of sports fans will even know how to look and therefore be fascinated and then return for more. 19,000 watched Sydney’s victory over Wellington (2-1) on host network Fox Sports on Saturday, according to Media Week estimates, and a further 46,000 on free-to-air affiliate ABC.

Overall, 65,000 people watched the Nieuwenhof World Cup live. Of course, no one saw an equalizer from Mirza Muratovic, as the broadcast was immediately interrupted after the 20-year-old scored. If anyone has footage of Muratovic’s goal from the game, please contact [email protected] for a friend…#WELvSYD | 1-1 – Wellington Phoenix (@WgtnPhoenixFC) January 2, 2021
At that time, I heard we had two goals….honest.- Wellington Phoenix (@WgtnPhoenixFC) January 2, 2021
Dylan Wenzel-Halls’ late goal seal Brisbane Roar’s victory over Melbourne Victory was watched by around 26,000 Fox viewers.

319,000 viewers watched the first round and 227,000 watched the second round of the Sydney Thunder’s game against the Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League, also on Fox the same night. Also worth noting are less tangible similarities to other major Australian men’s sports. Last season, in the NRL, Penrith Panthers debutant Charlie Staines burst a pub in Forbes when the Post Office Hotel gave each guest a free beer for each of the four tries of the 19-year-old against the Cronulla Sharks. Izak Rankine, 20, became a breakout star in the AFL, Gold Coast. These young stars are certainly talented, but not more than their A-League counterparts. There is an opportunity to find a carrot dangling at just the right height to lure the public with the formal unbundling of the A-League from Football Australia at the turn of the year. The argument about the marquee is a familiar one, never more so than now when money is tighter than ever and Covid-19’s age restricts the experience of the matchday.

It’s also not the only way to break through. There’s also a reason why the conversation won’t end. Of instance, admittedly,


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