Preview: Gold Coast United v Wellington Phoenix

Stand United at Skilled Park! Two of last season's finalists go head-to-head in a fascinating opening day tussle. Be part of the thrilling action!

Gold Coast United v Wellington Phoenix Sunday 9th October, 4:00pm

Stand United at Skilled Park! Two of last season's finalists go head-to-head in a fascinating opening day tussle. Be part of the thrilling action!

Get along to Skilled Park this Sunday for the start of another exciting season as The Beach gears up for an assault on the Hyundai A-League.

Having just missed out on finishing in the top two in their previous campaigns, United will be hoping for another strong showing in their third season. But, as ever, they will need your support. So show your side that you are fully behind them by getting yourself along to this curtain-raising Sunday afternoon battle against Wellington Phoenix.

Bring your friends, bring your family, and let's have a really healthy turnout for this first match of what is set to be an exciting campaign.

With the departure of Jason Culina, Shane Smeltz, Bruce Djite and Dino Djulbic, the stage is set for Dylan MacAllister to pop up with some goals, and also for talented striker Ben Halloran to step up.

Indeed, this season seems to be all about blooding the youngsters for Miron Bleiberg, with the likes of Chris Harold, Chris Broadfoot and Zach Anderson all making the transition from youth teamers to full-squad members.

This could be a really exciting time for United fans, as their young guns get a big chance to prove themselves. We saw how well that worked for Central Coast Mariners last season, so why not at Skilled Park? With imports Paul Beekmans and Peter Jungschlager also joining the squad, United are sure to cause teams plenty of problems this season.

A defensively outstanding pre-season for Central Coast will breed confidence. Their fine Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season was built on a stingy back-line, and that looks set to continue, which isn't good news for this Sunday's opponents, who need all the help they can get when playing away from home.

Wellington Phoenix simply don't travel well so they might not fancy starting their season with a trip to the Gold Coast. Still, a new season means a new start, so perhaps they can break their away jinx on the very first day of the season.

Joining their talismanic leader Paul Ifill are new signings Nik Tsattalios, Jimmy Downey, Dani Sanchez, Tony Warner and Lucas Pantelis. With Perth Glory defender Brent Griffiths also recently arriving on a one-year deal, the squad is taking shape.

Despite their poor record on the road, Phoenix still made it to the finals last season, so if they can just start picking up points on the road, who knows what they can achieve?

This match-up is as even as they come. Of their six meetings in the Hyundai A-League, both sides have two wins each and there have been two draws. The good news for The Beach is that both of those two United wins came in the matches played on the Gold Coast last season, so they'll be confident of a similar outcome.

It's a brand new season and it gets under way at Skilled Park on Sunday, so make sure you are there as the drama unfolds. After a few months with no football to feast upon, it's time for The Beach to rediscover its voice and to help cheer Miron Bleiberg's troops on to three points that will get the season off to the perfect start.

The Hyundai A-League is what your weekends were made for, and it's back!