Match Preview - Melbourne Victory v North Queensland Fury
The Fury have performed extremely well so far this season, managing a draw against in form Perth and a win against defending champions Sydney. This has them second on the ladder, when most would have expected them to be propping things up early in the season.
Sunday August 22 Kick-off: 3:00pm AEST Venue: AAMI Park
Head-to-head Played 3: Melbourne Victory 2, North Queensland Fury 1
Previous Meeting Melbourne Victory 2, North Queensland Fury 0, Etihad Stadium, February 2010
Why we don-t like 'em The Fury spoiled the Victory players' holiday season with an upset 1-0 win in Townsville late last year. Not sure if that's enough to cause any dislike, but Melbourne certainly took it out on them in the final game of last season, thrashing them 2-0 thanks to a brace from Carlos Hernandez
Season so far: Melbourne Victory R2: Melbourne Victory 0, Perth Glory 2, AAMI Park R1: Sydney FC 3, Melbourne Victory 3, SFS
North Queensland Fury: R2: North Queensland Fury 2, Sydney FC 1 R1: Perth Glory 3, North Queensland 3, nib Stadium
Decisions for Ernie Robbie Kruse returns for his first game for the season after missing a couple with hamstring issues in a major boost up front. Carlos Hernandez should be right to play after picking up a knock on his knee last week. New signing Geoff Kellaway is included in and extended squad along with Matthew Foschini. The one player out is Billy Celeski, who sent a scare through the camp when his knee buckled at training on Tuesday. Thankfully, he'll only miss a couple.
Behind Enemy Lines Hard to know what is going on with the Fury with Franz Straka, who is becoming a bit of a cult figure in the A-League for his sidelines antics, including no less than five players in his squad an omitting none. In come new signing Brad McDonald as well as Panagiotis Nikas, Jack Hingert, Brett Studman and Jason Spagnuolo.
Our Hero Carlos Hernandez - Carlos tore the Fury apart the last time these teams met in February. While he had a quieter week last week, the Costa Rican, having shrugged off a knee injury, looks set to put on one of his famous performances in front of the AAMI Park crowd this week.
The Danger man David Williams - Williams has long been rated as a rising star in the Australian game, but only on a few occasions has he shown his level of talent in his time with Fury. However, with a lot of the club's big names moving on over the off-season, he and Chris Payne look set to form a strong combination. This could be his breakout season.
Why we will win The Fury have performed extremely well so far this season, managing a draw against in form Perth and a win against defending champions Sydney. This has them second on the ladder, when most would have expected them to be propping things up early in the season.
Franz Stracker has clearly injected his young side with plenty of enthusiasm, but will that be enough to bridge the class and experience gap between these two teams?
Given Melbourne's winless start to the season, you wouldn-t think so. There will be plenty of determination to spark things up in this match, with plenty of positive news around the club, including the signing of Brazilian Ricardinho, who will play in the next few weeks.
Kruse's return to the squad is a big one and he should provide them with the bite up front they lacked last week. Expect a much improved Melbourne and three points for the boys in blue.
TEAMS: Melbourne Victory Squad: 1.Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3.Mate DUGANDZIC, 5. Surat SUKHA, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Grant BREBNER, 11.Marvin ANGULO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 13.Diogo FERREIRA, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Matthew FOSCHINI, 19.Evan BERGER, 20.Sebastian MATTEI (gk), 21.Robbie KRUSE, 22.Nick WARD, 23.Adrian LEIJER, 27. Geoff KELLAWAY *three to be omitted*
In: Geoff KELLAWAY (new signing), Robbie KRUSE (returns from injury), Matthew FOSCHINI (promoted) Out: Billy CELESKI (knee - 2 weeks) Unavailable: Archie THOMPSON (knee - indefinite), Matthew KEMP (knee - indefinite)
North Queensland Fury squad: 1. Justin PASFIELD (gk), 2. Jack HINGERT, 3. Brad McDONALD, 4. Eric AKOTO, 5. Mark HUGHES, 6. Ufuk TALAY (c), 7. Gareth EDDS, 8. Adam CASEY, 9. Eugene SSEPPUYA, 10. Dyron DAAL, 11. David WILLIAMS, 12. Panagiotis NIKAS, 14. Chris GROSSMAN, 15. Chris PAYNE, 16. Simon STOREY, 17. Osama MALIK, 18. Brett STUDMAN, 19. Isaka CERNAK, 20. Matthew HAM (gk), 21. Jason SPAGNUOLO *five to be omitted*
In: Brad McDONALD (new signing), Panagiotis NIKAS (promoted), Jack HINGERT (promoted), Brett STUDMAN (promoted), Jason SPAGNUOLO (promoted) Out: Nil Unavailable: 13. Andre KILIAN (foot injury - 2-3 weeks)
PARKING INFORMATION The following Carparks will be open for Public Parking on Sunday 22 August subject to availability.
Melbourne Park - open from 6am, $15. Undercover Carpark - Entrance B, Batman Avenue. Northern Carpark - Entrance A, Batman Avenue or Entrance D, Olympic Blvd.
Yarra Park (MCG) - Gate 3 ONLYWellington Parade (opposite Hilton Hotel) from 1pm, $8
Additional parking is also available around the Botanical Gardens - Boathouse Drive, Alexandra Avenue and Anderson St are all walking distance from AAMI Park.
MOPT advise all patrons attending the event parking is extremely limited and the use of Public Transport is recommended.