The Big Five Answers | Round 17

Joel Griffiths proved himself to be just what Sydney needed, while Perth and Newcastle flexed their muscles with differing results.

Melbourne Heart v Adelaide United: Can Heart bounce back?

Melbourne Heart got back up off the mat from last week and brought the pain to Adelaide. This was the Heart we all want to see on a more regular basis: hard-working, intense and direct. They were helped by an Adelaide United side that just didn-t really turn up - again.

This wasn-t the first time John Kosmina-s side have put in a listless and toothless performance this season. Perhaps they-ve got vertigo?

Every time the Reds come within site of the top of the ladder, they get a little dizzy and falter when they need to stamp their authority. All their attacking talent was for nothing and the defence was, to be frank, a shambles, giving away two cheap goals.

Heart came back strong to boost their finals credentials; Adelaide wilted when a win would have put them on top of the ladder.

Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix: Is Joel the saviour?

He-s not turning water into wine just yet though he did help turn Sydney FC into a goalscoring force, which begs the question is he a footballing saint?

Bereft of a decent attack for so long the Sky Blues were firing on all cylinders at the weekend and while Del Piero stole the headlines and news print in typical style, it was actually Griffiths who got the ball rolling. Let-s not forget this is the same man who took the Jets to a title thanks to his ability to find the net, he can play and his addition might just be what Sydney need to make a late finals play.

As we said Del Piero stole the headlines and with good reason, the Italian was in everything and turned that scowl into a smile with his four-goal heroics. There-s not much more to say about that other than it was enjoyable to watch.

As for Wellington, turns out they weren-t quite at their lowest ebb, we-d argue that is now, and if they don-t sure up that defence the Jets will be the next to give them a very public embarrassment.

Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets: Will the Jets keep up the pressure?

They hustled, they bustled and they almost pulled off a shock upset at the impregnable fortress otherwise known as Bluetongue Stadium.

We said the Jets had to get in the Mariners- faces to give themselves any chance and they did just that in atrocious conditions at Gosford, Ruben Zadkovich, Josh Mitchell and Josh Brillante were the chief bully-s using their size to great advantage for Gary van Egmond-s team and to be honest what they found was the Mariners didn-t like the treatment one bit.

Perhaps surprisingly the man who came unglued was the experienced Mile Sterjovski, who took a leaf out of good friend Jacob Burns-s book and remonstrated with Mitchell for what he deemed to be a challenge that was cynical at best and dangerous at worst.

The end result is the same though the Mariners did not pick up the three points and they haven-t done that at all recently against sides who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get down and dirty. Versus Sydney FC - loss, versus Melbourne Victory - draw, versus Newcastle Jets - draw, so how far will Adelaide try and push their luck?

Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory: Can the Glory get physical?

We called for Perth to put the ugly shorts on, get some tatts and be about as remorseless as UFC heavyweight Frank Mir when he put Antonio Nogueira in a kimura armbar and didn-t let go.

Well Perth got physical and not in the nice Olivia Newton John style we referred to. They were in Victory-s face all game and pushed the boundaries at times with Jacob Burns leading the way in the middle of the park, the captain tried to inspire his team by playing hard winning the ball at every opportunity.

Try as he might though Burns couldn-t inspire goals and Liam Miller was again out of sorts alongside him in the midfield and Perth were out of luck.

Scotty Jamieson-s horror run continued as he went one better than a goal assist for the opposing team by turning a Marco Rojas cross into his own net to score the only goal of the game. Nothing went right from there for the Glory with Ryo Nagai-s late strike hitting the under-side of the crossbar and not dropping in and Josh Risdon receiving a second yellow to be sent off in what can only be described as a ridiculous decision over a 50-50 ball, the fact that Leigh Broxham of all people didn-t remonstrate should tell you something about how ‘fair- the challenge actually was.

Brisbane Roar v Wanderers FC: Will the Wanderers slam the lid shut?

Brisbane Roar, dominant champions 2010-2012. A once exciting team would disappear into the abyss. Rest in Peace.

If it wasn-t quite time last week it is now. The Roar are done. They can blame the referee all they want for the loss, they can complain Ono was offside and had an impact on the play for Youssuf Hersi-s match winner, but in truth they only have themselves to blame.

They had the Wanderers beat in the first 45 and played an attacking brand of football. Mitch Nichols, Thomas Broich and Ben Halloran were brilliant, then the whistle went and whatever happened in the sheds didn-t help them.

The Wanderers came at them and it all fell apart. Broich and Nichols were fighting with each other, Besart Berisha focussed his efforts on blowing a gasket at the referee and all Matt Smith could do was watch on from the sideline, the captain cutting a forlorn figure on the bench.

Meanwhile the Wanderers showed the grit they have become renowned for as they kept in touch with the battle for top spot on the ladder.