The Big Five Questions | round 23

This week we look at Brisbane Roar's pain. We were going to use an image of Mufasa from The Lion King - but it was too sad...

Adelaide United v Brisbane Roar: Can the Reds take the advantage? Take advantage of what you ask? Good question. We could be talking about grabbing a win and taking advantage of Melbourne Victory-s malaise by strengthening their grip on fifth spot - but what we-re really talking about is taking advantage of playing at home and taking on a Roar side who are low on confidence. A side whose championship defence is in tatters.

Make no mistake Adelaide are twice the side at home that they are away and put teams away with regularity. Their record? 8-1-2, 25 of their 36 points have come from playing at Hindmarsh Stadium but one of those losses was to the Roar, not that we expect the result to be replicated.

Right now the Roar have little flow to their play, Adelaide have plenty and will take advantage of a side desperate to keep their season alive, simply because they can.

Attacking weapons Dario Vidosic, Marcelo Carrusca, Jeronimo Neumann, Iain Ramsay and Evan Kostopoulos will make sure of it. After 90 minutes the Roar will be as dead as Mufasa in the Lion King after the animal stampede.

Central Coast Mariners v Western Sydney Wanderers: Who really are the big boys? This is it. It-s the battle for supremacy. The reigning champions versus the young upstarts, first versus second, the battle for the Premier-s Plate, the Clash of the Titans; and unlike the awful movie that nearly destroyed Sam Worthington-s Hollywood career before it really started this one will deliver.

For starters both coaches have been adamant throughout the week that they have the better side. Graham Arnold has been more aggressive in his claim, but that-s nothing unusual and to an extent he is right to be.

His side have been the benchmark for the past two seasons and though some may refer to his team as “Central Choke Mariners” due to their inability to win a grand final despite numerous chances, every man and his blind dog know Arnie and his boys most covet the Premier-s Plate. It-s what they see as the measuring stick in a league where they are the measuring stick.

The reason they are the measuring stick? Look no further than the Wanderers. Who are the only team they have not beaten this season? Central Coast.

The teams drew a blank in round one at Parramatta Stadium, then the Mariners bossed the new boys around in their second meeting, delivering a 2-0 beatdown. Add to that, that the Mariners have a record at home that reads 9-1-0; they are going to be tough to beat.

Bluetongue Stadium is a fortress, it-s the Mariners- domain and in their last two A-League encounters they have banged in 11 goals.

Make no mistake, the Mariners may not get the press the Wanderers get, but they are the acid test and the biggest challenge the Wanderers can face.

So who will come out of this one as the big dog? We reckon the Mariners because the Wanderers have to go to a new level for this one.

Perth Glory v Sydney FC: Can the Glory get some love? The tale of Perth-s season has been one where their luck has been out. Whether they walked under ladders, smashed mirrors or had several black cats cross their path at their Murdoch University training grounds, we-re not sure.

What we do know is one of the nastiest deflections you will see is what beat them last weekend at Wanderland, nothing more.

Now they take on Sydney at home and while ADP will likely be the talk of the town. Here-s the truth: if Perth don-t jag the three points they will be consigned to joining Wellington on this season-s scrapheap.

They have nothing to lose, it-s time for them to abandon any inhibitions and go for broke. How you ask? Let Chris Harold loose, use his pace to embarrass Lucas Neill and Adam Griffiths. It is that simple. We-re football geniuses!

Whether Perth can execute and get the three points remains the question though.

Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Heart: Can Heart avoid travel sickness? Have you ever had that friend who immediately hits the corner of Struggle Street and Battle Boulevard when they get in the back seat of a car, on a plane or on a boat? It-s not pretty and in terms of the Hyundai A-League that friend is Melbourne Heart. Simply put, they don-t travel well.

Yes, their home form is great, but they have not won a match outside of Victoria this season. There are words to describe that effort, but we can-t say them out loud without fear of offending an innocent bystander.

They may never get a better chance to win away from home than right now. Wellington are reeling, their finals hopes are gone, the Heart could and should capitalise on a demoralised side to show they are serious about playing finals football.

As for the Nix, the only question is which youngsters may be elevated to join Tyler Boyd and Louis Fenton, because in a season where those two have been bright lights, enough is enough and it-s time for a change.

Melbourne Victory v Newcastle Jets: Who will step up? Melbourne have been in a rut the last three weeks. Without Archie and Marcos, the rest have struggled. Thankfully for them, Thompson is back to wreak havoc on the Jets, but what do Victory have to fight for?

The Premier-s Plate is all but out of their reach, which means it-s third or fourth up for grabs, and the chance of a home final. They need someone to help them out of their current funk but with Rojas-s form tailing off at the end of the season there is a big question mark on who might provide the spark, especially after the spanking they copped at the hands of the Mariners.

As for the Jets, they-re resting both Emile Heskey and Michael Bridges. The latter of their English imports was very impressive against Wellington Phoenix and almost carried the team.

Gary van Egmond-s decision that the workload is too heavy at this time of the season is inexplicable. Surely, this is the time to throw everything you-ve got at every game, not rest your best strikers when it matters most?

With both of them gone and Ryan Griffiths having set sail for the far east a lot rests on the shoulders on the Jets- young strikers.

Can Adam Taggart, James Virgili and perhaps a recalled Marko Jesic continue Victory-s pain? If not, and Sydney and/or Heart can get a result, Newcastle might suddenly find themselves a step behind their closest rivals.