Talking points: Perth's Hyundai A-League rise 1339 days in the making
1339 days. That’s how long it’s been since Perth Glory were last atop the Hyundai A-League summit.
But after ruthlessly dispatching Adelaide United 2-0 on Sunday afternoon, the Western Australians now find themselves back on top of the table.
The last time Glory finished a Round in pole position was in Round 20 of the 2014/15 Season, when an Andy Keogh goal secured a 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory.
Over three years later, the Irish marksman has delivered the goods for Perth again, sending them outright top and underlining the club's title credentials.
Glory appear the real deal. A fortnight after defeating the reigning Hyundai A-League Champions in their own backyard, Perth have repeated the same feat against the undefeated FFA Cup 2018 winners.
A newfound steel on their travels underlines the edge Tony Popovic has imposed on his side, and leads a host of reasons why the Glory faithful will be optimistic of ending their silverware drought this season.
Another is the form of Keogh. The Irishman struck his fourth consecutive goal to send Glory on their way to victory in the City of Churches, and Keogh’s poaching ability and phenomenal work rate is setting the tone for Perth’s impressive performances.
Shane Lowry and Alex Grant should also be lauded for their colossal presence at the back, who have both have plugged one of the competition’s most leaky defences with expertise.
And the fact Glory are still undefeated without talisman Diego Castro and Matthew Spiranovic – two players every team in the competition would envy – should be a worrying sign for their title contenders.
Have Melbourne Victory regained their Championship-winning mojo?
Eyebrows were furled around the country when Melbourne Victory opened the new campaign with consecutive defeats.
But after a thumping 4-1 win over Central Coast Mariners on Sunday, Victory’s Championship defence is now truly up and running.
Kevin Muscat’s side blew the sorry Mariners away with an electric first half performance engendered by the creativity of Keisuke Honda and James Troisi, who both found the back of the net in the club’s 100th win on home soil.
And with Ola Toivonen now in the fold, Victory could be primed to surge back to the Hyundai A-League forefront in next to no time.
A turning point for Newcastle Jets?
Newcastle’s struggles in front of goal have been well documented in the season’s fledgling weeks.
But perhaps Nick Cowburn’s maiden Hyundai A-League goal is the tonic the Hunter Valley club need in order to regain the attacking swagger of last year.
Newcastle appeared destined for a potentially demoralising loss at home to Sydney FC until Cowburn saved the day and opened his Hyundai A-League account in the process.
Ernie Merrick’s side might now look toward Cowburn’s moment of inspiration as a galvanising force for their campaign.
Floodgates opened for Fornaroli?
After going 329 minutes without a Hyundai A-League goal, you could have been forgiven for thinking there was something not quite right with Bruno Fornaroli.
The Uruguayan dismissed any worries with a trademark curling finish past Filip Kurto in Melbourne City’s 2-0 win over Wellington Phoenix on Friday night.
Now Fornaroli is off the mark, and two strikes away from a half-century of Hyundai A-League goals, surely the floodgates are about to open.
Brilliant Roar rescue act masks worrying trend
If John Aloisi confessed his anger after a slow start cost his side the match in Round 3’s encounter with Perth Glory, the Roar boss must have been tearing his hair out after seventeen minutes of Saturday’s clash with Western Sydney Wanderers.
Oriol Riera and the Wanderers put Brisbane to the sword early on in Mudgee, who have now failed to open the scoring in all four of their matches this season.
But having pulled a draw from the clutches of a looming two-goal deficit, Roar will return to Queensland for a crucial home clash against Melbourne City with the belief they can get off the mark.