The Big Five Answers | Round 12

We asked if the Wanderers could stand up to the big boys and whether Victory would overwhelm Heart. Guess what we learned...

Wanderers FC v Adelaide United: Can the Wanderers mix it with the big boys? The Wanderers are big boys. We knew Tony Popovic-s side were good - but no one thought they quite had this in them. Granted, Adelaide United didn-t turn up on the night but don-t let that distract from what was a fantastic performance from Western Sydney.

Adelaide just couldn-t get near them when they were on the attack, and hardly made a dent when up against the Wanderers- defence.

We questioned Western Sydney's ability to get points and goals against the top sides in the competition but the game proved they are one of the top sides.

Just how can a team that was put together in such a hurry be playing so well? It goes against everything the football scholars told us before the start of the season. And for those hoping the club would fail to see FFA in pain, they must be grimacing now.

The truth is the Wanderers have become a runaway success and everyone involved in the club should be extremely proud of what has been achieved in such a short space of time. They look the real deal for finals football.

And - just whisper it - perhaps even further?

As for Adelaide, John Kosmina said last week he would know after the next three games if his team were really title challengers - he-s right about that test. Do they have what it takes to bounce back?

Brisbane Roar v Perth Glory: Will change help the Roar? For the first half, it was hardly even possible to recognise the Roar - but Steven McGarry-s late first-half goal seemed to wake them out of their stupor. The Roar did everything but score in the second 45.

Mulvey said last weke that Brisbane were only one or two steps away from becoming winners again, and that-s how it worked out. They looked so much more like their old selves in the second half but were kept at bay by a gritty Perth Glory, who probably just about deserved the points.

It-s still too early to say what Mulvey will bring to the Roar - he started protégé Ben Halloran on the bench - but even at this stage there were signs of life for this team of champions.

Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners: Is it time for a youth revolution? While we may have been way off base about the Wanderers, we must have read Ricki Herbert's mind on this one.

Once again Herbert opted to start with Louis Fenton and Tyler Boyd in his side and both were influential, with the energy Boyd in particular provided being key to the Nix's effort.

A defensive lapse late in the first half cost the Nix and left Mark Paston irate in goal, and Herbert was forced to throw caution to the wind...

Enter Benjamin Totori, there has been no doubting his talent but he gave the Mariners fits, running at their defenders and often beating them, it was his cross that allowed Dani Sanchez to seal a brilliant game with a goal.

The message, the Phoenix academy is paying dividends.

Newcastle Jets v Sydney FC: Who can truly move forward? Surprisngly both teams, but much like their ladder position at the end of the day, the Jets actually moved forward better in the match as well.

They made much better use of the wide areas and that in turn gave Emile Heskey, James Virgili and Craig Goodwin the space to be effective.

Goodwin in particular was very good and a welcome return for the Jets, as for Sydney well they probably deserved a point, and Vedran Janjetovic would be furious with himself for letting Craig Goodwin score.

They did go forward mpore often, but their options were limited to the following combination, Del Piero to Yau, there wasn't a lot more on offer and it's one problem Frank Farina faces.

Melbourne Heart v Melbourne Victory: Will Victory overwhelm the Heart? They certainly didn't overwhelm them and truth be told, they might have been overshadow\wed in what was a pulsating game of football.

David Williams, Simon Colosimo, Patrick Gerhardt and Matt Thompson were immense for Melbourne Heart as they bossed the midfield and Williams was truly unlucky not to help Heart to yet another win.

Heart pushed and pressed the whole way and Colosimo was at his physical best, while Fred finally found some form.

As for the Victory; Ange's side showed they had plenty of Heart, never gave up and delivered their fans a very merry christmas with a victory to savour.

What might also be important is that they were willing to be patient enough in waiting for their chances to come and weathered the Heart's flooding of the middle of the park when they attacked.

The win was reward for believing in their structures and sticking to them no matter what.