Time ticking away for Kewell

It is far too early to claim Harry Kewell has failed in a Melbourne Victory jersey.

It is far too early to claim Harry Kewell has failed in a Melbourne Victory jersey.

A handful of games into a three-year contract is not the time to judge the success or failure of the Hyundai A-League-s most high-profile signing.

But what is certain after Melbourne Victory-s 3-1 humbling at the hands of Brisbane Roar is that Mehmet Durakovic-s expensively assembled line-up hasn-t clicked and the Victory look just as disjointed as they did in Round 1.

Yet, it all started so differently for the visitors at Suncorp Stadium.

A defensive lapse from Roar skipper Matt Smith was all it took for the Victory-s marquee man to show us glimpses of the Kewell of old, skipping inside Sayed Adnan before lashing home a skidding strike to register his first goal from open play.

If visiting fans thought it was a harbinger of things to come, they were sadly mistaken as the Roar-s second-stringers showed us why a champion team will always beat a team of champions.

Mitch Nichols and Rocky Visconte aren-t in quite the same class as Thomas Broich and Henrique, but the pair revelled in Ange Postecoglou-s revamped formation to slot home vital goals.

Meanwhile, it was hard to pick Ivan Franjic-s best moment: his well-taken goal or that outrageous turn which left Victory fullback Fabio swiping at thin air as the Roar turned on the attacking style.

Fabio-s performance was indicative of the Victory-s season to date.

Recruited with little fanfare after last featuring in the Brazilian fourth division, the fullback has struggled defensively in an ever-changing Victory back four.

His impact has been so minimal it-s hard to see how he could possibly represent an improvement on local talent, yet the Brazilian was just one of Victory-s questionable off-season signings.

Jean Carlos Solorzano might as well give up his spot in the players- car-park so infrequently has he featured, while youngster Marco Rojas has been far from the wunderkind many predicted.

And then there-s Kewell - undoubtedly one of the most talented footballers Australia has ever produced.

After a successful spell with Turkish giants Galatasaray, many fans expected the Socceroos star to tear A-League defences apart.

He-s fashioned several chances to date but has struggled to conjure his once-mighty European form, suggesting the Hyundai A-League is a far tougher competition than many critics care to admit.

There-s still time for Kewell to rediscover his best form and influence the outcome of the season, but with Victory already 12 points behind league-leaders Central Coast, they can kiss the Premiership Plate goodbye, unless they beat the Mariners in their next match in Gosford.

It-s a far cry from the optimism swirling around Melbourne when Kewell put pen to paper, as coach Mehmet Durakovic struggles to mould his star-studded squad into an effective team unit.

So what-s the answer for the struggling giants?

Sack Durakovic seems to be the call from fans, but it-s surely only a band-aid solution with no obvious replacement immediately available.

Axe the likes of Fabio or a frustrated Carlos Hernandez from the starting side?

That might work, but Durakovic appears to lack the time and nerve required to blood young talent for the rest of the campaign.

Force the board to take responsibility and step aside?

It-s hard to see how more off-field instability would do anything but further damage the Victory-s faltering campaign.

What the two-time champions really need is for Kewell to spark at the same time his team-mates click into gear around him.

Too often the Victory have resembled a one-man team - be it Kewell or Archie Thompson or Hernandez - while clubs around them such as the Roar and Mariners and Melbourne Heart have diligently set about perfecting systems of play.

That-s something the Victory should have come to grips with months ago, yet the emphatic nature of Brisbane-s defeat suggests they still have a long way to go.

Victory fans will hope Kewell can help turn things around and quickly, because with the second half of the season looming, he-s fast running out of time to make his first Hyundai A-League campaign a success.