New Season for A-League Same Old VAR

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The breaking new in the A-League is that Usain Bolt has been offered a contract by the Central Coast Mariners.

That news was especially newsworthy to manager Mike Mulvey, who told reporters after the Mariners’ first game, “It’s news to me. “We’ve got Connor Pain, Tommy Oar, Michael McGlinchey, we’ve got Matt Simon and Ross McCormack – we’ve got a very good front third, so I don’t know anything about that.”

Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp may have been getting an itchy trigger finger and some qualms that Bolt would accept an offer tabled by a club from Malta.

The Mariners went up against the Brisbane Roar in the first round of the 2018 – 2019 A League fixture and the result was a 1 – 1 draw. Central Coast took the lead in the fourth minute on a Connor Pain goal and guarded it until the 65th minute, when Adam Taggart equalised for Brisbane.

Bolt did not get on, although Central Coast could have used an injection of something. They took only seven shots to Brisbane’s 20 and managed possession only at the 39 percent level, so to come away from Suncorp Stadium with a draw was the sort of result that would have led to collective sighs of relief all around the Mariners’ dressing stalls.

Brisbane, on the other hand, must be experiencing the frustration that football routinely supplies, where they were completely dominant and a brief lapse in the early going caused them to work hard to earn a draw, despite dominating the statistics.

The other big news of the first round did not catch Mulvey, or anyone else, but surprise.

The VAR system used to adjudicate goals, offsides and penalties was sledged just as it was last season, leading some observers to wonder at what the officials are looking when they stop the game to review some controversial happening.