There some intriguing storylines to look forward to now that the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season draw was revealed on Thursday.
It all kicks off on the opening weekend as former Wanderers boss Tony Popovic – and players Matthew Spiranovic, Brendon Santalab and Scott Neville – all going up against their old employers with new club Perth Glory.
There’s plenty of other key returns to look forward to, while the three Grand Final replays between the Jets and Victory will be huge clashes.
Take a look at all the key dates for some of the big grudge matches for the season below.
GRAND FINAL REPLAY
Nobody expected them to get there and yet the pain of a narrow Grand Final defeat to Melbourne Victory will not have left Newcastle Jets.
The visitors’ smash-and-grab 1-0 win at McDonald Jones Stadium gave them an unprecedented fourth championship and in the process squared the ledger between the teams at two wins apiece for the season.
Newcastle’s approach to the initial rematch in the Hunter could provide an insight as to whether they’ll be more than a one-season wonder.
POPOVIC AND CO. v WANDERERS
So closely associated with the Western Sydney Wanderers, Tony Popovic has pitched up at Perth Glory where his ability to build anew will be invaluable.
A first-up meeting with his former club will be full of intrigue, not least because former Wanderers favourites Brendon Santalab and Matthew Spiranovic are also now wearing purple.
Both teams missed the Finals Series last term, making a strong start all the more important.
- Round 1: Perth Glory v Western Sydney Wanderers - October 21, 2018
- Round 13: Perth Glory v Western Sydney Wanderers - January 13, 2019
- Round 20: Western Sydney Wanderers v Perth Glory - February 24, 2019
RUDAN RETURNS TO SYDNEY FC WITH PHOENIX
Mark Rudan clearly loves a challenge and there are few bigger in the Hyundai A-League right now than taking down Sydney FC.
Complicating this encounter is the new Wellington Phoenix boss’ intimate history with the Sky Blues, whose fans continue to idolise their ex-skipper.
Steve Corica is just as revered among the Sydney FC faithful and as the club’s new coach there’s nothing he would love more than getting one over his former team-mate.
- Round 7: Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix - December 8, 2018
- Round 15: Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC - January 23, 2019
- Round 20: Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC - February 23, 2019
TAGGART TAKES ON PERTH
Brisbane Roar’s acquisition of fringe Adam Taggart was tinged with consternation as Perth Glory felt aggrieved over the hotshot striker’s decision to depart.
No doubt, then, that the man who is following in Jamie Maclaren’s footsteps will face some scrutiny when Roar visit nib Stadium.
The Queensland club’s last trip west notably saw them extinguish Perth’s Finals Series hopes.
- Round 3: Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar - November 3, 2018
- Round 11: Brisbane Roar v Perth Glory - January 6, 2019
- Round 19: Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar - February 19, 2019
MULVEY GOES BACK TO BRISBANE
Mike Mulvey made his name in the Hyundai A-League at the helm of Brisbane Roar, guiding the club to the Premiership-Championship double in the 2013/14 Season.
But it all went pear-shaped for Mulvey the following season, departing the club mid-season as they failed to mount a serious title defence.
After a few years out of the Hyundai A-League scene, Mulvey is back and now tasked with trying to rebuild the Central Coast Mariners.
And he'll look forward to going up against his old side and pitting his wits against an excellent coach in John Aloisi.
- Round 1: Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners - October 21, 2018
- Round 14: Central Coast Mariners v Brisbane Roar - January 20, 2019
- Round 20: Central Coast Mariners v Brisbane Roar - February 22, 2019