Ten games. Eleven days. That was the equation and the fans loved it. Catch up on 10 reasons why our Summer of Football sizzled.
It’s the festive season and the players got into the spirit of giving, dishing up some thrilling matches with plenty of goals.
In all, 35 goals were scored across the 10 matches at an average of 3.5 per match.
We saw some stunning goals such as...
- Dimas’ peach of a free-kick for the Wanderers against Roar
- Andrew Nabbout’s slalom run and curling finish against the Nix
- Roar left-back Corey Brown’s powerful volley against the Wanderers
- Trent Buhagiar’s perfect for the Mariners against Victory
- Roy O'Donovan's cool finish just after Buhagiar's goal
- Bruno Fornaroli’s delicate strike into the top corner against Glory
- Jets import Ma Leilei’s crisp low drive against Victory
Where do you start with this one between Melbourne City and Perth Glory? Six goals, three penalties – with Glory keeper Liam Reddy saving two from Bruno Fornaroli – and two red cards all adds up to a Hyundai A-League classic as the two teams put on a show to remember.
Buhagiar brilliance lights up NYE
Could the last night of 2016 be the moment we saw the start of a flourishing career for the speedy teenager.
The young winger Trent Buhagiar backed up his first Hyundai A-League goal in round 12 with another against City on NYE, plus a brilliant assist as the Mariners almost pulled off a huge upset.
Cheeky Cahill ball boy goes viral
Speaking of young men with a dream, not many get the better of Tim Cahill on a football pitch but a quick-thinking ball boy in Gosford might have done just that with his cheeky prank of the Caltex Socceroo on New Year’s Eve.
The young Central Coast Mariners ball boy stole the show as he removed the corner flag as the Melbourne City superstar came over to celebrate the game's opening goal, the prank drawing worldwide attention.
Apparently it was all a part of a pre-planned scenario dreamed up with his mates.
And the lad got to meet the great man later. Result!
Berisha makes history in Geelong
He thought he’d done it a few days earlier against the Mariners – only for it to be given as an own goal – but brilliant Berisha finally got the Hyundai A-League goals record from Victory legend Archie Thompson. The Albanian’s penalty against the Newcastle Jets in Geelong on Monday night was his 91st in the A-League from just 142 appearances for Brisbane Roar and Victory - and will be a popular quiz question in years to come when fans of the future are asked: 'where did Besart Berisha break the goals record?'
Fans flock to matches
The holiday period has allowed fans to get out to matches in big numbers, which created party atmospheres at all Summer Football matches.
Brisbane Roar also set a club milestone in the clash with the Wanderers before Christmas, with more than 13,000 turning up to pass the two million mark for Hyundai A-League regular season home games at Suncorp Stadium.
And on NYE, over 11,000 fans in party mood dropped by Central Coast Stadium to enjoy an absolute cracker before the fireworks across the road. And Victory pulled another strong crowd of just over 14,000 on an overcast night in Geelong.
Sydney FC juggernaut rolls on
The Sky Blues continued to spread festive cheer for their fans with another couple of clinical, outstanding performances within five days after Christmas. A Boxing Day demolition of Adelaide United (4-0) was followed by a methodical disposal of the in-form Brisbane Roar (2-0) just four days later. Still unbeaten, still clear at the top and still Invincible!
The “Winter of Football” in Wellington
So much for Summer Football across the ditch. New Year’s Day threw up chilly conditions in windy Wellington for the clash between Phoenix and Adelaide United. In persistent rain and howling winds, the two sides produced a tense clash for the fans who braved the conditions but couldn’t be split on a day when summer was replaced by something completely different for a day.
Summer signings to spark Sydney Derby
There’s already been a few signings and transfers during the Summer of Football but a few involving the Sydney clubs will ensure an extra spice Derby at Allianz Stadium on January 14. Ex-Sydney FC stars Terry Antonis and Vedran Janjetovic will now wear the Red and Black of Western Sydney, while Wanderers keeper Andrew Redmayne has gone the other way.