Welcome to season 2013/14
The draw for the new Hyundai A-League season is out, complete with rematches, derbies, free-to-air Friday night games, and a later-than-ever grand final. What's your opinion?
So the draw is out. You can pull out your phone or take your calendar off the wall - if you-re still one of those dinosaurs - and write down the dates in BIG RED LETTERS, so that everyone else knows that you-re busy that day, you-re booked out, , sorry, can-t make it, got something else on.
Hyundai A-League season 2013/14 kicks off on Friday, 11 October, with the Newcastle Jets travelling down to Allianz Stadium to take on Sydney FC, a game that will be broadcast on both Fox Sports and free-to-air on SBS.
After fasting through the dark football-less months, there-s nothing like a bit of intrastate rivalry to whet the appetite. A footballing amuse bouche, if you will.
Then, to get you really salivating, follow that up with a Saturday double-header of the grand final rematch - Mariners v Wanderers at Bluetongue - followed by the Melbourne derby at Etihad. Woof!
Then the opening weekend with wraps up with Phoenix v Roar and Glory v Adelaide.
So what other delights can we look for in the new season draw? The grand final will be played on Sunday, 4 May, as FFA looks to shorten the gap between the domestic league and Australia-s 2014 World Cup campaign - assuming the Socceroos qualify, that is.
This puts the A-League decider in-line with the major competitions around the world but it will still be competing for space in a very crowded sports market, with all the other codes in full swing. Put with a hop, skip and a jump to Brazil 2014, football fans look to come out on top.
Those free-to-air Friday night games on SBS will also be a huge boost to the competition and southern fans in particular, with Melbourne Heart, Victory and Adelaide United dominating the start-of-the-weekend slot.
Around the clubs, Mariners fans will, this year, get two home games against Sydney FC and Western Sydney, with the champions to face Perth Glory on their now traditional New Year-s Eve game.
The Wanderers can again make the most of the public holidays, including hosting Phoenix on New Year-s Day.
Sydney FC fans will enjoy the majority of their home games on Saturday nights, usually their best night for a big crowd - and they get a post-Christmas treat with a visit from the Roar on Boxing Day.
Now you-ve had a look at the draw, what do you think? Happy with your team-s schedule? Looking forward to those free-to-air Friday night games? And what-s your opinion on the late grand final date? Have your say below…