The Big Five Questions | Round 16

This week we take our cue from 80s musical duo Hall and Oates, because to be honest, Perth are out of touch and Sydney are out of time.

This week we take our cue from 80s musical duo Hall and Oates, because to be honest Perth are out of touch and Sydney are out of time.

Adelaide United v Perth Glory: is Shane Smeltz back?

Heading to Hindmarsh, all eyes are on one man, a deadly Kiwi with a golden mane - is Shane Smeltz back in business? His double against Sydney will have the Adelaide rear-guard on red alert. Perth haven-t had a bad season by any means; they just haven-t found the goals that could turn those 1-0 defeats into draws or the draws into wins.

Being so reliant on one man isn-t a sign of a champion team, which Perth still hold ambitions of - but then again, if that man is Shane Smeltz and he can get back to his best, Glory could yet have a big say in the second half of the season.

The problem is the Glory are out of touch in the final third, so often that final pass isn-t sticking and when you are losing games by the narrowest of margins and struggling to find the net, that problem becomes amplified.

As for the Reds you could ask will the real Adelaide rediscover themselves after an inconsistent holiday season?

The Reds, hold all the cards; home advantage, higher in the table and no need to go chasing the three points as Glory must. They were poor against Newcastle last week but a return to Hindmarsh could be enough to stifle the visitors.

Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners: Can the Mariners concentrate?

The last time these two sides met, Mariners fullback Josh Rose was given a torrid time by Marco Rojas. He wouldn-t be the first defender to have trouble coping with the in-form Kiwi but stopping Rojas would seem key to containing Melbourne Victory.

That-s not to say they don-t have other players more than capable of hurting you - but with Gui Finkler on the sidelines and Marcos Flores not as dominant as expected, it is Rojas who has turned creator and finisher for Ange Postecoglou-s side.

Of course, if any side have the consistency, discipline and understanding to not get dragged out of position by Melbourne, it-s the Mariners.

Graham Arnold-s side proved against the Wanderers that they are operating from a position of strength and can easily soak up the pressure and finish their opponents with clinical precision.

A big turnout in Launceston, with the game acting as a fundraiser for the bush fire victims, should make a fitting stage for a fascinating clash, but I do ask you this, which Mariners will be focussed? Rogic might be gone for good if his trial goes well and Bernie Ibini and Mat Ryan are set to jet off to Europe.

Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar: Are the Roar waking up?

Brisbane controlled much of the game against Melbourne Heart last week but failed to turn that dominance into any kind of result. Two late goals from Besart Berisha aside, Mike Mulvey must hope that result has shaken his side from the torpor.

We never thought we-d say this but Brisbane Roar haven-t been very enjoyable to watch of late; lots of the ball but unable to do anything with it.

Lax at the back and struggling to get back that fluid understanding in the final third - Roar are still a great team, boasting some gifted players - but if they don-t get their act together, they can kiss the finals goodbye.

We-re pulling the plug on the Jets right now, though. Gary van Egmond-s side look way off the pace and recent results have robbed them of their confidence. They failed to take advantage of a tired looking Adelaide last week, and their profligacy in front of goal should keep them out of the six.

Wellington Phoenix v Western Sydney Wanderers: What-s up with Wellington?

Ninth? Really? Ricki Herbert-s side are second bottom? When did that happen? Granted, the back end of the ladder changes from week to week right now but still - Wellington aren-t that bad - are they?

But leaking goals at the back and a heavy reliance on a weekly Jeremy Brockie screamer is no way to get into finals contention. Phoenix had the better of the opening exchanges against Victory last week but didn-t inflict any damage. Instead, they were prised open by Marco Rojas and never looked like getting back into the game.

Herbert needs to get his side on the attack if he still harbours hopes of making it back into the top six - not that he-ll get much change from Tony Popovic.

Despite losing to Central Coast, the Wanderers are still full of confidence, built on the foundations of a solid defence and an increasingly promising and varied attacking unit. Wellington will have to be very careful not to leave themselves open if they go chasing the points.

Sydney FC v Melbourne Heart: is this Sydney-s last chance?

Someone asked if Sydney FC had turned a corner - but if four points from your last four game signifies an improvement, things must be bad. We said Perth are out of touch, Sydney however are nearly out of time.

Granted, Sydney do look like they-re starting to come together. Their fighting spirit has come to the fore in recent weeks and the refusal to give against Perth will have been a great boost.

But even Frank Farina has noted his club-s next two games - both at home - are decisive. They must go for the jugular against Heart and not let go. Anything less than a win would surely take the finals from their grasp and leave many shaking their heads.

Heart are now within the top six but they have the entire bottom half of the ladder breathing down their neck. Truth be told, they don-t look like finals contenders. John Aloisi-s side are so hot and cold, it-s impossible to know what you-ll get from one week to the next.

Those in Sky Blue will be hoping the impossibly bad version of the Heart show up this week as Farina-s men seek a rare victory.