The Big Five Answers | round 21

Tony Popovic proved the force was strong with Western Sydney. His words to his troops? "Do or do not. There is no try."

Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Heart: Have Heart got the mental strength? Is it really mental strength that ruined Heart-s away from this season? One win - the opening Melbourne derby - and 10 losses on the road is woeful. What does Aloisi have to do to get his team holding onto points away from Victoria?

They didn-t really turn up against the Jets, who did, admittedly, but in one of their best performances of recent weeks.

Gary van Egmond-s wheelchair double-bill of Michael Bridges and Emile Heskey upfront seemed to do the trick in terms of linking the midfield and attack.

Bridges-s ability to hold up the ball and bring his teammates into the game, allowed the midfield to get up in support and created more space for Heskey, who wound back the clock with a well struck goal. Don-t think he-s scored one like that in five years.

We said a strong home performance would catapult the Jets into a finals berth, and now they-ve got a two-point buffer in sixth place, just ahead of Brisbane. Should make the Roar-s visit to Hunter Stadium this Friday even more interesting.

Sydney FC v Adelaide United: Is Sydney-s upward trajectory strong enough? On this evidence, Sydney could yet enjoy an exciting end to the season. They-ve got no chance of winning the thing but a crack at the finals for a team brimming with big-name talent could just shake things up a bit.

This was a determined display against Adelaide, a real Frank Farina performance. No nonsense and no room for taking your foot off the gas, and the Sky Blues reaped the rewards for the sheer effort.

What was perhaps most pleasing was the way everyone put in their shift, leaving Del Piero to add the gravy. Even Terry McFlynn had a good game. It-s a sign of the apocalypse!

Michael Valkanis will no doubt be disappointed that his side didn-t show the same commitment but they did do to Sydney with the apparent aim of playing on the counter-attack and then forgot to actually attack.

It would take a collapse of titanic proportions for Sydney to overtake the Reds on the ladder but this result shows the two are much closer than the eight-point gap seems to illustrate.

Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers: Who is the force strongest with? We called it. Well, sort of. Tony Popovic waved his lightsaber and dismissed the threat of Ange's stormtroopers, as the Wanderers proved again that they are serious title contenders. As Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Western Sydney were as organised and structured as ever, but went into their hosts with power and energy, closing down space and cutting out the cute little interplays that are Postecoglou-s trademark.

This is perhaps the first time any coach has ever matched the movement off the ball of one of Postecoglou-s teams and the Wanderers, as always, went about their business knowing exactly what their roles were.

Victory were a little light upfront without Archie Thompson and those defensive frailties that rattled the men in blue at the start of the season came back to haunt them.

Make no mistake, this was a big result for both teams, with Western Sydney now just one point behind the Mariners in second spot and five points clear of Victory, who are only one point ahead of Adelaide. The Wanderers host Perth this weekend, while Victory go to Gosford. It-s on.

Perth Glory v Central Coast Mariners: Will Glory respond to an old-fashioned whip-crackin-? On this basis, Alistair Edwards should keep a whip on his belt like Indiana Jones. As we suspected they might, Glory made the most of the new-coach bounce and put some real pain on a below par Mariners side. We said Arnie wouldn-t want to face the Glory.

Technically speaking, Perth are still in with a chance - but we don-t do maths here, so we say they-re out of it. But they can still have a big say in what does happen at the other end of the ladder.

The return of Shane Smeltz certainly made the Glory a more dangerous unit but they also seem to have shaken off some of that lethargy that had dragged them down in recent weeks.

But with Victory coming his way on Saturday night, it seems Arnie might have to borrow Edwards-s whip and give his own boys a couple of snaps.

Brisbane Roar v Wellington Phoenix: Do the Roar like plane food? Let-s get a few things straight: the Roar weren-t great but Wellington were awful. This wasn-t a comeback from Brisbane but it was a step in the right direction with flashes of that old magic.

Good points for Mike Mulvey? Michael Theo was steady again, Jade North was calm at the back, Luke Brattan looked excellent screening the back four and Thomas Broich had one of his better games in recent memory.

The bad? Still too much of that sideways and backwards passing that drains the life out of the game. We don-t want them to become Brisbane snore.

As for Wellington... no question, it-s been Ricki Herbert-s worst season. For a team whose strength was based on their spirit and togetherness, the Phoenix have looked like they-ve forgotten who they are this season. Will that aborted attempt at change cost Herbert dearly?