A CLUB-BY-CLUB REPORT CARD ON THE A-LEAGUE SEASON WITH 10 ROUNDS TO GO UNTIL THE FINALS
Sydney FC - A+ (1st, 40pts)
The Sky Blues have essentially wrapped up the premiers plate by amassing a record points haul to this stage of the season. Despite having played three matches less than second-placed Melbourne City, they are 10 points clear at the top. Close to perfect.
Melbourne City - B+ (2nd, 30pts)
Started the year strongly under new coach Erick Mombaerts. Despite some stumbles since then, City have been leading the chasing pack behind Sydney FC for most of the season. Socceroo Jamie Maclaren's goals have been vital and they'll need him to keep firing if they're to hold off a resurgent Perth team.
Perth Glory - B+ (3rd, 29pts)
After a sluggish start, last year's premiers have been coming home like a steam train with a nine-game unbeaten run lifting Tony Popovic's team close to second-place on the ladder. The added challenge of an Asian Champions League campaign could be taxing in the final weeks of the season while a serious knee injury to Socceroo Chris Ikonomidis is a blow.
Adelaide United - B+ (4th, 27pts)
Gertjan Verbeek's team has recovered from a four-game losing streak over Christmas/New Year to remain firmly in the hunt for a top-four finish. A big injury list hasn't helped but the form of Riley McGree and emergence of young talent such as 15-year-old Mohamed Toure has been a bonus for Reds fans. Getting some players back from the treatment room could make them a serious challenge come finals time.
Wellington Phoenix - A- (5th, 27pts)
First-year coach Ufuk Talay has done a magnificent job rebuilding a Phoenix squad shorn of key talents such as Sarpreet Singh, Roy Krishna, David Williams, Filip Kurto and Andrew Durante in the off-season. English forwards David Ball and Gary Hooper, Mexican midfielder Ulises Davila and youngsters Cam Devlin, Reno Piscopo and Liberato Cacace have been revelations. Pretty much already a lock for finals.
Brisbane Roar - B (6th, 25pts)
After an off-season clearout under new coach Robbie Fowler following their disastrous 2018-19 campaign, the season started slowly for the Roar. But a run of just one defeat from their past eight matches has put them four points clear of the chasing pack in the top six race, and a finals place beckons. Fowler's solid, if unspectacular style, is making the Roar tough to beat and a team that could bloody some noses in the finals.
Western United - B- (7th, 21pts)
Western's inaugural A-League campaign started strongly but is in danger of petering out after poor form in recent weeks. The newcomers have just one win from their past seven matches and reports of unrest between players and coach Mark Rudan is unlikely to be a help in reversing that slump.
Western Sydney Wanderers - D (8th, 18pts)
It seems a long time since the Wanderers kicked off their season with three consecutive victories including Sydney FC's sole defeat this campaign. Since then a run of just one win from 10 games led to German coach Markus Babbel getting the sack. His compatriot Alex Meier also left the club after a forgettable marquee stint in Western Sydney. Interim coach Jean-Paul de Marigny has picked up a win and a draw in his two matches in charge but a push for a top-six spot appears unlikely.
Melbourne Victory - E (9th, 16pts)
A miserable first campaign post Kevin Muscat for the A-League powerhouse. While rivals Sydney FC and Melbourne City lie at the competition's summit, Victory are staring down the barrel at missing finals for the first time since 2012. German coach Marco Kurz was never really a fit at the club and was sacked in January while key signings Andrew Nabbout and Robbie Kruse have struggled with injury throughout. A season to forget for Victory.
Newcastle Jets - F (10th, 14pts)
Losing Irish marquee Wes Hoolahan before the A-League had kicked off to a serious ankle injury was a blow and it hasn't really got any better from there for Jets fans. Veteran coach Ernie Merrick was the first boss sacked this season after a horror 4-0 loss to Melbourne Victory, less than two years after he'd led the club to a home grand final. Former Wales international Carl Robinson is the new man in charge and is aiming to transform the club's fortunes over his three-and-a-half year deal.
Central Coast Mariners - D- (11th, 13pts)
There's been progress of sorts for the Mariners in Alen Stajcic's first full season in charge. The club have already equalled their points tally from 2018-19 but a five-match losing run has put them last on the ladder and in danger of a third straight wooden spoon. There's still a lot of work to be done at Gosford to turn around a club that used to be a finals regular in the past, winning two premiers plates and the 2013 Grand Final.