The Big Five Questions | round 24

Will Dutchy's gamble pay off, can Phoenix make it a contest and can Mike Mulvey bring Brisbane's season back from the dead for a Thriller?

Newcastle Jets v Perth Glory: Will Gary-s gamble pay off? Last weekend Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond seemed to give up on the game against Melbourne Victory before it even started by resting Michael Bridges and Emile Heskey.

Given the Jets had just recently lost Ryan Griffiths to China, it was a big gamble and the 5-0 belting suggests Dutchy should stay away from the roulette tables.

How the Jets will bounce back from that is anyone-s guess, but if confidence can be shattered in a week it might just have been. While they will have Bridges back this week, a calf complaint means Heskey again as they take on a resurgent Perth side who are keen to push their finals ambitions further - and the Jets have looked toothless without their marquee man.

You can bet that, with Jacob Burns back in the fray, Glory won-t be letting the Jets players forget what happened to them last week, despite them trying to wipe it from their collective memory.

It appears as if Van Egmond has put his best poker face and marked this game out as the one his team must win to play finals - but with their confidence down and their marquee man out, let-s hope GVE hasn-t put his car keys on this one.

Sydney FC v Central Coast Mariners: Can the Mariners handle the pressure? Pressure. It makes or breaks sporting teams. And so often pressure in the big moments has broken Central Coast-s resolve in recent seasons.

Strangely though, when they have been challenged for the Premier-s Plate they have risen to the occasion and now, more than ever, they need to find that steely resolve and deliver the goods against a side desperate to stop a season that should have been a blockbuster going the same way as Blockbuster videos.

Yep, the stage is set for a cracker at Allianz Arena this weekend as the sounds of Psy and F.U.N pump out from Royal Randwick just down the road, but someone will be going home unhappy.

For the first time this season, the Mariners are chasing another team. They had their chances to put the Wanderers away last weekend but couldn-t get the job done.

This week they-ll be expecting a torrid time from a Sydney FC side who, despite having lost two on the trot, are proving increasingly difficult to beat at home. They haven-t lost a match at Allianz since back in Round 13 when they beat the Mariners 1-0 in a tense affair that saw Tom Rogic have a complete brain snap and receive a late red card.

Sydney FC won that game by taking a physical approach to the game and you can bet after the success the Wanderers had last week with a similar approach, physicality will be all the rage again.

With Lucas Neill out injured it means the Sky Blues will have yet another changed backline but at home and with their own season on the line they won-t go down without a fight.

Brisbane Roar v Melbourne Victory: Is Mike Mulvey the saviour of Brisbane Roar? Popularity be damned! Like Michael Jackon-s Thriller, Mike Mulvey is on the verge of bringing Brisbane-s season back from the dead - and the fans who called for his head will be singing his tune if he can keep them in the top six.

We-re not calling the Roar a team of zombies but we thought their chances of making the finals were dead and buried. Against all the odds, Mulvey has given his inherited team some of their funk back - that win against Adelaide last week was their best performance in recent memory and will do their confidence no end of good as we come into the make-or-break stage of the season.

But against a Melbourne Victory side who were red-hot last weekend they will face their true acid test.

Ange Postecoglou-s men looked back to their best, albeit against a depleted Newcastle Jets, and will aiming to finally inflict some hurt on Brisbane.

Roar haven-t done too badly against Postecoglou-s Victory this season - a 5-0 thumping and a 1-1 draw in Melbourne - and if they can tell them to Beat It again, Mulvey might have a hit on his hands.

Wanderers FC v Wellington Phoenix: Do Wellington have any chance in Parramatta? $8.75 that is what Wellington were paying to win this fixture at the time of writing. Is that even value? Probably, stranger things have happened, and with Jeremy Brockie in their team you know the Nix are always a chance of scoring a screamer - but that might be where their hope ends.

At times Wellington have been horrible on the road this season. Hammerings at the hands of Sydney FC and the Mariners are evidence of that and there is every chance a Wanderers side that have been taking all before them will be just as ruthless, especially at Wanderland.

Football can be a funny game though. The Wanderers may have almost twice as many points as the Nix have got thus far this season, but Wellington were actually quite good against Melbourne Heart last weekend.

Take what you want from that, though. All they did was beat a team who haven-t won a game out of Victoria all season, but they were the better side.

The Wanderers are riding the crest of a wave but are also in unchartered waters. For so long they have been chasing. Now they have the target squarely on their back. How they react to the pressure will be interesting to see, but even if they do respond poorly they should still have too much firepower for Wellington.

Melbourne Heart v Adelaide United: Can Heart win the must-win game? Melbourne Heart could be the most annoying team in the league. We know they-re good, we-ve seen them turn it on. But can they really be so fragile on the road? Last week they lost again, this time in Wellington, but now they back in their comfort zone their confidence might just come back.

Make no mistake, the Heart were simply awful when they went across the ditch. It was like Russell Crowe-s “accent” in Robin Hood - they travelled, they butchered it.

And yet the Heart usually turn it on at home, and they have to against an Adelaide side who are almost playing for nothing right now. They can-t win the premiership and are a virtual lock for fourth spot. They-re going through the motions until the finals come around, and it shows.

The Reds are ripe for the picking and Melbourne Heart must take advantage. They have to. Of all the sides chasing a finals berth they have the worst run home. Away games to the Mariners and Roar are basically write offs given their away form and a visit from the Wanderers won-t be a game anyone will expect them to grab points from.

With Josip Tadic coming back, now might just be the right time for the Heart to be starting something, or else their season is gone.

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