The Big Five Answers | Round 15

We asked if the Jets were strong enough, if Victory could cope, and could Smeltz rediscover his mojo? Consider us told...

Newcastle Jets v Adelaide United: Are the Jets strong enough? To be blunt, no they weren-t - and it's a real issue for Gary van Egmond. The Jets had a number of opportunities to take control of the game against an Adelaide side who were hardly firing on all cylinders, but the home side failed to offer any real threat.

Again, the signs were there - James Virgilli teasing the opposition fullback, Craig Goodwin tearing up the wing, Heskey asking for the ball to feet - but they just couldn-t produce the end product.

The Jets have already dropped out of the top six and at the moment they don-t look strong enough to get themselves back in there.

It-s hard to judge Adelaide; it may be that they committed themselves too early in very draining conditions and then spent the final two thirds of the game just trying to make sure they didn-t concede.

But it-s also true that they were a shade of the side that ripped Sydney FC a new one last week, again illustrating the dangerous inconsistency for a side supposedly in the race for the Premiership. This was a chance for the Reds to go top, if even only for a night, and they failed to take it and now the Mariners could extend their lead.

Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix: Can Victory cope without Finkler? The loss of Finkler is a big one, make no mistake - but Victory showed enough against Wellington to suggest that Ange Postecoglou doesn-t have to rush into any rash decisions in the transfer window. Victory did struggle to prise Phoenix apart in the first half, and the visitors were the better side for much of the opening 45.

But once they found a way through - via that man Rojas yet again, supplying the cross for Marcos Flores - they took control and never looked back.

Flores-s goal will do him no harm at all as he battles to rediscover his best form. He went straight to the Victory supporters after scoring to show them that he doesn-t deserve their disdain, which was, quite frankly, hugely disappointing from the home fans. Hopefully this will get the Argentine back on the track to his devastating best; then Victory really will be asking, Finkler who?

As for Phoenix, their Melbourne woes continue. They failed to capitalise on their early dominance and paid the price as the game went on. Ricki Herbert-s side are playing better than ever but strength in depth remains a key issue if they-re to be considered genuine contenders.

Perth v Sydney FC: Where will the goals come from? The forgotten men, that-s who. What kind of an fool questions Shane Smeltz in front of goal? Oh... erm... Well, let-s brush that under the carpet and look at all the good points from a cracking game in Perth.

Wherever Smeltz had been hiding his mojo, he found it again tonight. The first a brilliantly placed, header, the second an excellent snap shot that was almost behind him.

Then there was Jason Culina-s goal - great cross from Brett Emerton, nice diving header from Culina - but where was the Glory defence? And how did they let Sydney back in the game twice? And just what was Seb Ryall doing there?

Certainly, two sides of the coin from the coaches- perspective as well. Ian Ferguson must be gutted his side couldn-t hold on to a lead, while Frank Farina would be swelling with pride at the way his makeshift side refused to lie down.

Melbourne Heart v Brisbane Roar: Which coach can achieve consistency? We said Heart had to tighten up. Well they did... kind of... um, sort of.

In a bizarre match that started and ended with the Roar dominating, the Heart weathered the first storm, but failed to handle the final surge, albeit with 10 men, so there was that excuse, and they had a right to be confused out there because the red card that was shown to David Williams still has us scratching our heads.

Brisbane for their part turned in a Jekyll and Hyde performance. So good for 25 minutes they were ordinary for the other hour and a bit. Mike Mulvey still has work to do but there are good signs for them, especially when you consider that if you take away Josip Tadic-s clearly offside goal, the score would have been 2-2.

There-s little doubt Aloisi wouldn-t have been fully happy, but his side are slowly turning a corner with more complete performances.

Wanderers FC v Central Coast Mariners: Who will break the deadlock? Perhaps it-s their experience in big games but on this night, the Mariners were unbreakable. Josh Rose, Zac Anderson, Trent Sainsbury and Pedj Bojic were heroic at the back for Graham Arnold-s men and the only time Mat Ryan was troubled, Bojic cleared off the line.

For most of the first half it was the Wanderers who had the better of the play and were the more threatening side and when Labinot Haliti and Tarek Elrich entered the fray late in the game, they too provided a new test, a test the Mariners passed with strong discipline.

It-s not fair to say the Wanderers were immature but their petulance at times didn-t help them and Jason Trifiro certainly deserved his marching orders.

Penalty or not, Mark Bridge-s address of the referee, running towards him probably wasn-t the discipline Tony Popovic was looking for either.

As for who would break the deadlock - was it ever in doubt that it would be Daniel McBreen? Just when you thought he might have lost his sparkle he used fast feet to dazzle defenders and leave Ante Covic stranded before striking a late buffer-giving goal.