Victory to open new season

Defending champions Melbourne Victory will host the first game of a new-look Hyundai A-League season against Central Coast on Thursday August 6, while Gold Coast will travel to Brisbane for its first-ever game against the Roar and North Queensland hosts Sydney FC in Round 1.

Defending champions Melbourne Victory will host the first game of a new-look Hyundai A-League season against Central Coast on Thursday August 6, while Gold Coast will travel to Brisbane for its first-ever game against the Roar and North Queensland hosts Sydney FC in Round 1.

With 27 rounds to fit into the new regular season, which will feature 135 games as compared to 81 previously, the Pre-Season Cup has been scrapped and the season will start two to three weeks earlier than it traditionally has in the past.

The Grand Final is scheduled for Saturday March 20, a month later than it has been in the past as the new competition features the two new franchises with each team to play each other three times during the season. It now means each club plays an additional six matches.

Gold Coast wanted a home match to kick of its A-League campaign, but will have to make the short trip up the M1 to take on Queensland at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday August 8. North Queensland's first match will be at 5:30pm on Saturday August 8 at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

There will be only six Wednesday games scheduled, with the five games usually spread over the weekends, but no two games scheduled concurrently.

A new look finals system will feature six teams but still go over four weeks with all games one-leg except for the clash between first and second placed teams to decide who will host the Grand Final.

The winner of 3 v 6 and 4 v 5 will meet in the second week to see who takes on the loser of the two-legged 1 v 2 tie.

FFA CEO Ben Buckley said that there would be 51 more games in the regular season in 2009/10 compared with the previous four seasons of the Hyundai A-League.

"There will be 10 teams this season playing 6 more rounds of football and resulting in 51 more games than previous seasons played in 13 cities," he said.

"This draw is good news for players, fans, clubs and the media," Buckley said.

"We have two new teams, 135 games and a total of 12,150 minutes of game time in the regular season alone."

"The 2009-10 season will start slightly earlier than previously (on 6 August) to allow for the additional rounds but this was the preferred solution of FFA and the Hyundai A-League clubs."