After a long off-season, Australia’s top-flight competition is back and with a new team thrown into the mix
The 15th season of the A-League looms as an interesting one for the competition as it looks to put a few years of stagnation behind it.
The introduction of new club Western United is set to throw a spanner in the works, while a new stadium for Western Sydney Wanderers could see them bounce back after a disappointing few years.
Perth Glory comfortably won the Premiers Plate last season, but Sydney FC ultimately pipped them to the Championship after downing Tony Popovic’s side on penalties in the grand final.
Ahead of the new season, Goal takes a look at the contenders and pretenders for silverware this A-League season.
Favourites to win the A-League
After only losing three times in the regular season across their 2018-19 campaign, Perth Glory are the slight favourites to defend the Premiers Plate this season.
While Glory have been forced to replace a number of key players over the off-season including Jason Davidson and Matthew Spiranovic, the Sky Blues squad has only strengthened.
The recruitment of Kosta Barbarouses, Alexander Baumjohann and Luke Brattan has made Steve Corica’s side arguably the strongest in the competition on paper.
Sydney’s Big Blue rivals Melbourne Victory are also in the mix to challenge for silverware at $6 but boast a much-changed squad and a new coach in the form of Marco Kurz.
Kurz’s old side Adelaide United are incidentally not far behind in the betting stakes ($8) and recently signed former Victory midfielder James Troisi.
The Reds face Melbourne City in the FFA Cup final later this month with Erick Mombaerts’ side’s pre-season form also seeing them move into contention for A-League success ($8.50).
New club Western United are a relatively unknown quantity heading into their first season but have been handed solid odds ($10) to start with a bang.
After seeing coach Mark Rudan work wonders with Wellington Phoenix last season, United will be hoping he can do the same in West Melbourne.
Their pre-season form has been patchy however, with Victory claiming a 6-1 win against them in September after they had beaten Melbourne City.
Having missed out on the top six for the past two seasons, the Wanderers meanwhile, will be desperate to find some form again.
Despite being back in Parramatta – playing at the new Bankwest Stadium – Markus Babbel’s side are seen as real outsiders this season ($13).
A major injury to Polish import Radoslaw Majewski hasn’t helped matters for the red and black, though they will be hoping new German striker Alexander Meier can hit the ground running.
Newcastle Jets have been given the same odds and were rocked by a serious injury to star recruit Wes Hoolahan in pre-season.
Despite making finals in their last campaign, Wellington Phoenix aren’t expected to challenge this season ($26) with the club forced to find a new coach and over a dozen new players over the off-season.
After picking up consecutive wooden spoons, Central Coast Mariners face another tough campaign and are also valued at $26 of lifting the Premiers Plate.