To Be Frank- So Far, So Good

Farina is not reinventing the wheel with his coaching methods at Sydney. Yet results and even recent performances would suggest there is no need to. For the most part players are positioned where they best fit, they’re urged to “put in a shift” for lack of a better phrase and deliver the goods.

From Blake Powell backwards, for the first time since the club last won The Golden Toilet Seat, Sydney FC look like a team again. Terry Antonis had his best ever game for the Sky Blues and it may have been a watershed moment for the young midfielder. He has always appeared to be technically gifted and agile with a reputation for being a hot prospect, but only now has he started to deliver on the promise. The goal capped off a terrific performance and long may it continue.

The midfield worked virtually as a flat four to provide a platform behind Del Piero and Powell. Adelaide were naïve enough to sit back without forcing any mistakes onto a team that have cracked under minimal pressure in previous encounters. Their 3-0 NYE demolition at Hindmarsh was proof of that.

The fact Terry McFlynn felt confident enough to bomb forward on goal numerous times is as much a reflection of the midfield dynamic collectively as the confidence Farina has instilled in the squad.

From my perspective in the Cove, watching Fabio’s display verged on terrific to terrifying. It was as though he was being controlled by a 15 year old with the smallest attention span possible. I don’t know if he is aware that you don’t have to rush in within 2 seconds of the opposition to win the ball, but it would be nice if it could be mentioned in passing. He is the ultimate modern fullback- always looking to attack with the ball, uncomfortable when having to mark someone on the other team.

Blake Powell will not displace Joel Griffiths on merit anytime soon, but his work rate off the ball is now becoming his greatest asset. I’m sure I was not the only one who wondered what Powell actually does as a striker. On Saturday however it was clear he is instructed to do the defensive work Del Piero cannot do and always provide an option on the shoulder of the last man. He is young enough to improve and given Chianese’s recent contract extension I’d be surprised if the same courtesy was not extended to Mr. Powell.

Lucas Neill’s inclusion certainly raised eyebrows around the country, particularly on Yarra Side. From Sydney’s view, it’s a welcome addition. If there is any opportunity to enhance the quality of your squad and the club act on said opportunity, you can’t ask much more.

With Pascal out until next season, Aaron Calver still 16 years old and Tiago only on a similar short-term deal, it provides options. The juggling act will be done in the mammoth 6-month offseason.

With a team on the end of 5 consecutive home wins, new faces, new contracts and most importantly, confidence brimming, it is not impossible for this team to do the impossible. Maybe Graham Arnold’s greatest fears could be realised.

Just imagine- the club in crisis he turned down, on multiple occasions, squeezes into the six after he finished top, takes out the seat. I’m guessing Graham won’t have his best sleep come April. There is every chance it won’t happen. It can’t happen. Surely not.


Blake Hampton supports Sydney FC. Hard to tell, I know, but he sticks by them through thick and thin. He really is Sydney till he dies. Check him out on Twitter