The Big Five Answers | round 22

We called for a knockout blow in Gosford, we just didn't know the Mariners would do such damage. And as for our Sydney FC prediction...

Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar: is this Brisbane-s last chance? With Melbourne Heart-s defeat of Sydney, Brisbane now have two teams ahead of them in the race to the finals. Mike Mulvey-s team were half-decent against Newcastle - but nowhere near decent enough to justify a place in the top six.

Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the pressure on the game but despite both having decent chances, neither side really showed the desire or ability to make a series claim as finals contenders.

Heskey and Bridges proved again that they can create opportunities but a good performance from Michael Theo illustrated where the Jets have struggled to make an impact this season. They-ll be hoping for some presents from Melbourne Victory next week.

Roar did have a decent call for a legitimate goal but clutching at straws won-t get you very far at this end of the season. And with three teams ahead of them, fighting for two spots, Brisbane can say goodbye to their finals hopes.

Western Sydney Wanderers v Perth Glory: Can Perth upset the Wanderers- charge? The Wanderers keep charging - but only just. This certainly wasn-t the most dominant of their seven wins in a row but then, isn-t that the sign of a champion team? Getting three points even when short of their best?

Perth put up a decent fight and have certainly been reinvigorated by Alistair Edwards- appointment but it-s far too late.

There are signs of a positive future, should the interim coach get the gig long-term, with Glory trying to play a more patient, possession-based game but having a new coach trying to apply a new style with five rounds of the regular season left means they-re never going to quite pull it off.

The visitors were at least a physical match for the Wanderers, even if they gave the ball away far too often.

But Tony Popovic-s side were also somewhat fortunate to come away with the three points, as Aaron Mooy-s shot took a wicked deflection of a diving Michael Thwaite.

But none of that matters; when you-re in this sort of form, you make your own luck. Bring on the whopper at Bluetongue!

Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Victory: Can Victory handle the physical challenge? Well, we asked to see a knockout blow and the Mariners knocked Victory to the deck with a devastating display of the sweet science.

It was, perhaps, just a little cheap to suggest Melbourne couldn-t handle a physical game - the Mariners aren-t a side to resort to those tactics. Instead, they just played them off the park, with a little help from some terrible defending from Ange Postecoglou-s side.

We-ve known they were a little suspect at the back all season but at Bluetongue, Victory just threw it all out there.

With Hutchinson and Montgomery patrolling behind McGlinchey, McBreen and Ibini, the Mariners owned the midfield. And the more pressure they put Victory under, the further up the field the visitors- defence strayed to try and regain possession - and the Mariners were given chance after chance.

If the ball hadn-t rebounded in off Sainsbury and McBreen had put his penalty away, this could have been even more embarrassing for Melbourne Victory.

That-s three big losses in a row now, for Postecoglou-s side, something no one saw coming before Adelaide knocked them out of their stride. Now they-re behind the Reds on goal difference and struggling to regain their best form.

While the premiership is now a two-horse race between Central Coast and Western Sydney, and this was a huge statement from the Mariners - how will the Wanderers respond in Gosford next Saturday?

Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United: Can the Reds find launch control In the end, it was more like damage control. After looking like they could easily account for Wellington, Jon McKain-s red card opened up the game for the home side to take control.

Credit is due to Michael Valkanis-s side, though - they kept Phoenix at bay under some heavy pressure towards the end, and that lone point was enough to help them into third place on goal difference.

For Wellington, however, it was the same old problems. Too many holes at the back, nobody leading the midfield and not enough support for the attack. Corey Gameiro looks like a talented striker but it-s far too late for Phoenix.

Ricki Herbert, should he keep his job, has a lot of work to do after this season, perhaps the most rebuilding in his time with Wellington.

Melbourne Heart v Sydney FC: Can Sydney keep charging? Very rarely when you make predictions do you get to be smug about it. This isn-t one of those times. Where was the belief we said Sydney FC had been showing? Where was that desire for finals football? Only one side showed those qualities at AAMI Park - and Melbourne Heart had the game wrapped up within the hour.

The result carried Heart above both Sydney and Newcastle on goal difference and proved, yet again, that at home John Aloisi-s side are a team to be reckoned with. All good if they manage to get a home final, right, but...

As for Sydney, they were slow from the start. You-d expect a bit more fire in a fixture like this but even as the game worse in, the Sky Blues failed to create any real opportunities. Even Joel Griffiths-s classy snap shot was something out of nothing.

Playing away in Perth next week, Sydney better hope they come up with something - or their season could peter out to nothing.