We’re hurtling into the business end of the Hyundai A-League with the Premiership trophy, spots in the top four and six as well as the battle for the wooden spoon still wide open.
It means we’re set for some huge clashes over the final eight rounds to determine just who finishes where. We take a look at the games in the run-in that loom to be the ultimate ‘six-pointers’ for the respective sides.
Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United – Round 20
It all kicks off this weekend as the fourth-placed Phoenix host the third-placed Reds, with only goal difference separating the two sides equal on 33 points.
Given how close things are at the top, wins at this time of the season are paramount and when they are against fellow sides that are fighting for the title it becomes even more important.
These two teams have already met twice this season – both in Adelaide – with one win apiece.
The fact both coaches have got their sides playing exciting, attacking football means this will be 90 minutes worth watching.
Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory - Round 20
A massive Saturday night ends with the competition’s top two facing off at AAMI Park. Glory hold a three point lead from Victory – who have a game in hand.
Kenny Lowe’s side haven’t won since beating Victory 2-1 in Geelong in January, a win-less streak stretching to six games.
While there is still likely to be a few twists and turns to come, you get the feeling a win for Victory in this one would put them in the driver’s seat for the Premiership trophy.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC v Newcastle Jets - Round 22
With finals football virtually out of the equation for these two, avoiding the dreaded timber utensil is the focus for the Wanderers and Jets over the final two months of the season.
The Jets currently hold a three-point buffer over the Asian champions at the foot of the ladder (though the red and black have games in hand) so you can bet this clash will almost certainly determine where the wooden spoon will end up.
Both clashes between the two clubs this season ended in draws. You can sure there will be plenty of desperation and tension as they go all out for a win.
Melbourne City FC v Brisbane Roar FC - Round 23
What a thrilling race we have for the final spot in the top six. City and Roar have swapped and changed in that position over recent weeks making their meeting at AAMI Park at the end of March a real six-pointer.
City currently hold a two-point advantage but Roar have the benefit of a game in hand. It’s that close.
If either of these sides wants to take a giant leap towards making the top six, they will want to emerge with all three points from this one.
Whatever you’re doing, make sure you’re watching what will be a finals-intensity match a month early.
Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Victory - Round 24
If their last meeting is anything to go by then this will be a barn-burner.
Phoenix got their first-ever win in Melbourne last weekend to breathe new life into their Premiership hopes and, providing the two can maintain their current form, they will both be close to the top when Victory cross the ditch early next month.
You’ve only got to look at the attacking options of both sides to know this will be a beauty. Think Burns, Krishna, McGlinchey and Bonevacia up against Berisha, Barbarouses, Finkler and Ben Khalfallah.
A six-pointer with goals written all over it.
Perth Glory v Sydney FC – Round 25
What chance a repeat of the drama we had when these two sides last met at nib Stadium?
On that occasion there were three red cards, two penalties and massive talking points as the Sky Blues escaped with a 3-1 win despite finishing with nine men.
One of a handful of season-defining games over the last few rounds, neither will want to give their rival a psychological boost ahead of the finals.
It’s all about momentum at the back-end of the year and this presents both teams an opportunity to get just that right in time for the play-offs.
Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC - Round 27
What a sensational way to close out the home and away season.
Of course there is plenty of water to flow under the bridge between now and the final round but there is a very real possibility this could be a straight shoot-out for the title, a spot in the top-two or at the very least a top four-berth.
This will be Sydney’s second trip to Wellington in the run to the finals and given their strong away form they will fancy their chances of success, even though they have struggled at ‘The Cake Tin’ in recent years.