Round 1 Preview

What a way to kick off the new season. Ange Postecoglou’s rebuilt Victory take on John Aloisi’s Heart in the former Socceroo’s first game in charge, the Melbourne derby.

Melbourne Victory v Melbourne Heart Etihad Stadium 7.30pm, Friday, 5 October

What a way to kick off the new season. Ange Postecoglou-s rebuilt Victory take on John Aloisi-s Heart in the former Socceroo-s first game in charge, the Melbourne derby.

Victory have remained something of a mystery during pre-season; results haven-t been great but expectations remain high for Postecoglou-s new-look side. Will he use Marcos Flores as a “false nine”, as has been suggested, leaving Victory without a tradition striker?

If so, how will Heart cope? Aloisi-s side have struggled for fluency in their pre-season fixtures, including a 5-0 hammering by Perth Glory. It might be a lot to ask for a new coach to have his side ready to go for the start of the season, but Aloisi will have to learn quickly. Bring it on!

Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC Westpac Stadium 7.30pm, Saturday, 6 October

This may be a home game for Wellington but all anyone will be talking about is the possibility of Alessandro Del Piero making his debut for Sydney FC.

The Italian-s arrival has lit up the Hyundai A-League as never before, and one would assume it would be hard for Ian Crook to resist the temptation of an introduction late in the game.

That said, what an introduction it could be. The Cake Tin-s well-earned reputation as a tough place to visit would certainly give ADP a good idea what the A-League is all about.

Wellington will be a tough to beat as always but neutral observers will be more interested in how Crook has the Sky Blues set up. They-ve talked up a change of style during the off-season, but can it take a wild night in Wellington?

Western Sydney Wanderers v Central Coast Mariners Parramatta Stadium 7.45pm, Saturday, 6 October

After a rushed conception, Western Sydney finally gets its very own A-League team. This should be a huge event in the region; the locals have already shown great support for the new club during pre-season, so it will be fascinating to see how they turn out on first night.

And the visit of the Premiers will be a massive test for Tony Popovic. Graham Arnold-s consistent and organised side have a huge leap on their hosts, and it will take a lot for Wanderers to score a debut victory. But, then again, football has a funny way of delivering on occasions like these.

Popovic has created a side with plenty of A-League experience, so they won-t be going in blind. What will matter is how successfully he-s been able to use his brief time to instruct his squad. The Mariners will be out for an early win and push them as hard as any team in the competition.

Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar Patersons Stadium 2pm, Sunday, 7 October

Boom! Grand final rematch, here we come. This mouth-watering fixture has so many story strands attached to it, it-s hard to know where to look. Rado Vidosic-s first game in charge, revenge for Glory, who look to be in sparkling form in pre-season, and all in front of a packed and fanatical Western Australian crowd.

Ferguson has his side well-drilled and ready to start to the season in a high gear, and what better motivation than against Brisbane?

Many will also be watching with interest to see how Roar perform under Vidosic, who has spoken of a more direct style than under Ange Postecoglou. Welcome back, A-League!

Newcastle Jets v Adelaide United Hunter Stadium 3pm, Sunday, 7 October With no direct rivalry between the two clubs this fixture might have dwindled a bit on the opening weekend - until, that is, the Jets topped up their squad with former England forward Emile Heskey.

His arrival was an unexpected Easter egg ahead of the new season The big striker was reported to be almost match-fit, so we will hopefully see him make his home debut for Gary van Egmond-s youthful Jets side, of which there is also much expectation this season.

But Adelaide could throw a spanner in the works. John Kosmina-s side were certainly impressive in their AFC Asian Champions League games, and as a result, have a head start in conditioning.

Either way it should be a packed house at Hunter Stadium and the locals get excited by the arrival of a player who could make their season.