Ange's work in progress
Ange Postecoglou stands out from the pack because the Melbourne Victory boss is a lateral thinker and a risk-taker, prepared to ask why and, just as importantly, why not?
The beauty and cruelty of Football was in full bloom during 12 minutes of exhilaration and desolation in Sydney last Saturday night.
For the two coaches, Sydney FC's Ian Crook and Melbourne Victory's Ange Postecoglou, their contrasting reactions encapsulated perfectly the emotional topography that the game offers. From dizzying highs, confounding anxiety, anger (at this point it's wise to hide the garden furniture) to joy and relief.
Who'd be a coach?
Ian Crook, a decent and considered chap, rightly looked at that menu of madness and decided not him.
His team had shipped 10 goals in seven days; it's balance of payments so out of whack it was a football economy on the verge of collapse.
In contrast, Postecoglou's Victory side had enjoyed their most satisfying week in the better part of two seasons.
Melbourne-s first 60 minutes in the 3-2 win over Wellington Phoenix was amongst the best football played so far this season. Victory looked defensively assured, playing at a high tempo with rhythm and precision.
Finally fans could see what Postecoglou was building. His midfield artists Gui Finkler and Marcos Flores have been trying to find a canvas on which to collaborate. It seems now they've found that understanding, and their intricate and daring passing patterns are very pleasing on the eye.
Just as exciting for Victory fans, the understanding that has developed between Archie Thompson and Marco Rojas is producing goals for the men in navy blue and huge headaches for the opposition defences.
And here's where Postecoglou stands out from the pack. The Victory boss is a lateral thinker and a risk-taker, prepared to ask why and, just as importantly, why not?
And so we have Andrew Nabbout, plucked from obscurity to dazzle under the Saturday night lights in Sydney.
Ange saw something in the nuggety 19-year-old where plenty of others didn't and backed his instinct.
Postecoglou is adamant that modern football is a moving feast where traditional notions of positional play are a road block to innovation and success.
So, Victory play without a traditional striker and his attacking triumvirate is fluid and dynamic, switching wings, popping up in the middle, working back hard to assist their full backs.
The Postecoglou doctrine for his players seems to be to live every minute of the game.
And it's starting to work wonders on a number of players whose careers seemed to have stalled in recent times.
Rojas had a miserable first campaign in Melbourne. The disruption and upheaval that accompanied his arrival in Melbourne seemed to rob him of his exuberance.
The talented Kiwi seems to have found his mojo again under Postecoglou's tutelage where he's been given the license to express himself. Rojas, having just turned 21, will get stronger and smarter which is a terrifying thought for defenders everywhere.
Similarly, Captain Adrian Leijer is a new man under Postecoglou's reign.
Leijer started his career as a fine ball-playing centre back, one that seemed destined for Socceroos duty. Fulham came calling and the English Premier League beckoned but the dream stalled due to injury and lack of opportunity.
On his return to Melbourne, Leijer seem to accept that his fate was to be blue-collar defender. It was a pragmatism that saw his footballing ability sacrificed. He looked a shell of the player he should have been.
But can tough, uncompromising defenders be fine footballers too? Why not?
It seems Adrian Leijer has asked that question of himself and the answer has liberated him.
And if Victory are going to become the team Postecoglou envisages, daring to ask that question will be the key to their success.