Walking the yellow card tightrope

As the Hyundai A-League enters Round 21 – Erase Racism Round, there are numerous players who will be treading a fine line in order to avoid a one match ban.

As the Hyundai A-League enters Round 21 - Erase Racism Round, there are numerous players who will be treading a fine line in order to avoid a one match ban and the ire of their coach.

This is due to the fact the weekend-s fixtures are the last in which players are susceptible to receiving an automatic one game suspension for accruing five cautions throughout the season.

After Round 21 players- disciplinary record will receive a little leniency with the ban only applicable to players who receive their eighth caution.

Across the ten clubs in the Hyundai A-League, there are 22 players in all who will have to be on their best behaviour if they are to ensure they are not watching from the stands next weekend.

Bar the Central Coast Mariners, who had three players miss last Friday night-s heavy home loss to the Wellington Phoenix because of five yellow cards, each of the other clubs have at least one player skating on thin ice.

Ironically the Mariners take on Sydney FC this weekend, with the Sky Blues having four players who only need one ill-disciplined act to be suspended for Round 22. Central defender Nikola Petkovic along with midfield trio Ali Abbas, Nick Carle and Terry McFlynn could miss the Sydney Derby with a yellow card on Saturday.

Saturday night-s Melbourne Derby promises to be an enticing encounter, though four players might have to rein in their natural instincts, with Mark Milligan, Leigh Broxham, James Troisi and Iain Ramsay having to be on their best behaviour.

If Broxham picks up another yellow he will face his second stint on the sidelines as he-s already been suspended this campaign and has gone into the referees- book a league-high seven times.

Players on the tightrope currently with four (or seven) yellow cards heading into Round 21: Adelaide United Isaias (19 appearances, 1685 minutes played) Fabio Ferreira (16 apps, 1144 min)

Brisbane Roar Jack Hingert (15 apps, 1139 min) Matt Smith (20 apps, 1800 min)

Central Coast Mariners n/a

Melbourne Heart Iain Ramsay (19 apps, 1389 min)

Melbourne Victory Leigh Broxham (19 apps, 1670 min) Mark Milligan (13 apps, 1099 min) James Troisi (20 apps, 1584 min)

Newcastle Jets Mark Birighitti (20 apps, 1800 min) Ruben Zadkovich (20 apps, 1746 min)

Perth Glory Jacob Burns (16 apps, 1303 mins) Steven McGarry (20 apps, 1634 mins) Matthew Davies (12 apps, 1056 mins)

Sydney FC Ali Abbas (20 apps, 1800 mins) Nick Carle (17 apps, 1326 mins Terry McFlynn (9 apps, 287 mins) Nikola Petkovic (20 apps, 1800 mins)

Wellington Phoenix Jeremy Brockie (18 apps, 1178 mins) Albert Riera (17 apps, 1182 mins)

Western Sydney Wanderers Aaron Mooy (17 apps, 1445 mins) Mateo Poljak (13 apps, 949 mins) Matthew Spiranovic (12 apps, 1080 mins)

Players who will miss this weekend because of yellow card accumulation include Aziz Behich (Melbourne Heart), Pablo Contreras (Melbourne Victory), Patrick Gerhardt (Melbourne Heart) Jon McKain (Adelaide United) and Michael Thwaite (Perth Glory).