The A-League Fixtures for the 2017-18 season was released this week amid mixed reactions from fans of all teams. There is some strange scheduling for the Western Sydney Wanderers in what will be our 6th season.
You can download the entire A-League fixture list as a pdf from the A-League website with its hilarious filename here: 2017-18 A-League Fixtures
WSW start off Round 1 at home hosting Perth Glory at 6pm on a Sunday. Crowds weren’t the greatest at Sydney Olympic Park last season with these later Sunday kickoffs so it will be interesting if the trend continues here.
The season continues with games at home against Central Coast, an away derby and then away to Newcastle in Round 4. This means WSW don’t leave NSW until Round 5. A good opportunity to get some points early on in the season.
Thankfully, the first Sydney Derby of the season is Round 3 and not the opening round. Many prefer it a couple weeks later so both teams can get a bit of a groove and the table shaping up a bit more before we meet, but Round 3 is better than Round 1.
Melbourne Victory have a tradition of hosting a game on the Monday the day before the Melbourne Cup and get good crowds for this fixture. Victoria have a public holiday on the Melbourne Cup Tuesday but for Wanderers fans, travelling to Melbourne for a Monday night game in Round 6 will not be easy for the majority. The FFA double it up with WSW travelling to Melbourne again on Sunday 12 November 2017 to face Melbourne City in Round 7. WSW have another Melbourne back to back trip in Rounds 24 an 25, the latter against Victory on Easter Saturday 31 March 2018. That may be a bit easier for those wanting to travel.
Our only home derby is on Saturday 9 December at ANZ in Round 10. So that’s two derbies in the opening 10 rounds. The third derby is all the way in Round 21 on Sunday 25 February 2018 at 7pm.
You read that right. A theory was that Foxsports wants exclusivity to all the derbies (there’s a Friday night Melbourne derby) and with Channel 10 set to show the Saturday night games, this means they don’t get to show two of the biggest games of the regular season. This was all but confirmed by Tony Pignata on Twitter:
Will sell out. It is Sunday because of TV deal that the third Derby in Melbourne n Sydney can't be on a Sat night as Fox want it exclusive. https://t.co/cm9g91HRGZ
— Tony Pignata (@tpignata9) June 28, 2017
WSW once again have their now traditional New Years Day match. This time hosting Melbourne City at ANZ at 7:50pm.
But this is where the scheduling starts making no sense at all.
The Round 13 New Years Day match is a Monday. WSW are then to travel to Brisbane on Friday 5 January, followed by a home match on Wednesday 10 January against Adelaide, then lastly travelling to Wellington for their Round 16 clash on Saturday 13 January 2018.
That’s 4 matches in 12 days without ACL commitments. Expect to see the infamous Popovic rotation policy during these 4 games.
Back home for Round 17 versus Melbourne Victory, then off to Perth for a Sunday afternoon game against the Glory.
There’s a twelve day gap between our 4 February Round 19 match against Central Coast and Round 20 against Newcastle on the 16 February. This split round is most likely due to ACL fixturing for those participating in the competition.
A similar thing occurs for WSW’s Round 22 match against Wellington on the 10 March 2018. The next game is strangely on Tuesday 20 March hosting Brisbane at an unknown venue. Then 4 days later we face Melbourne City away on 24 March 2018. Another weird and wonderful gesture from the FFA.
The aforementioned Melbourne Victory away on Easter Saturday 31 March is our second last game despite it being Round 25. For some reason we have a 2 week break before the final round of the season where we host Adelaide at ANZ at 5pm Sunday 15 April 2018.
The Finals follow with the Grand Final either Saturday 5 or Sunday 6 May 2018.
The FFA and A-League are pushing their Summer of Football again between 21 December and 14 January with 25 games in 25 days. Great for a spectator to have football on TV every night. They are also pushing “The Chase” where every team will play every other team once in the final 9 rounds…so basically like every other normal league and park football competition in the world.
Some of the away games against teams like Melbourne Victory and even up the coast to Gosford and Newcastle are a bit questionable and not too easy for travelling fans. One may think they are doing it on purpose to limit away support and avoid any “trouble”. Disappointing for those with families that love travelling up the M1 to our homes away from home.
There’s a few midweek games as well, not only for Wanderers but most other teams. Traditionally midweek games get poor crowds in the A-League so not sure why the FFA are trying again. A lot of these fixtures scream TV Ratings rather than fan attendance.
What do you think of the Wanderers’ fixtures for the upcoming season?