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Australian Football: Arch rivals clash in the Big Blue

Sydney FC versus Melbourne Victory is the stand-out fixture in the A-League on Saturday, while Brisbane Roar take on Macarthur and the Central Coast Mariners play Newcastle Jets.

The A-League campaign got underway on Friday night as Melbourne City defeated Western United 2-1 and now all eyes will turn to Saturday with three intriguing games on the agenda.

The highlight of which has to be the clash between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory, otherwise known as the ‘big blue’.

There is no love lost between the two sides who have been involved in some fierce battles down the years and Saturday is sure to be no different.

Brisbane face a stern test against a new-look Macarthur, while the Central Coast Mariners entertain the Newcastle Jets in what could be an open game with plenty of attacking football.

So let’s take a closer look at the action as kick-off fast approaches in all three games.

What: Brisbane Roar v Macarthur FC
Where: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
When: 16:00 (AEST), Saturday 7th October 2022
How to watch: Paramount +

Brisbane just avoided the wooden spoon last season but will be looking to push for finals in the season ahead following the arrival of former English Premier League striker Charlie Austin.

Austin should be able to get among the goals this season and that could be enough to help Roar back into the top six.

Roar are also boosted by the return to fitness of captain Tom Aldred and he is in no doubt that Austin will be a big hit in the season ahead.

“Hopefully he hits the ground running and scores goals.” Aldred said. “A club like Brisbane we should be aiming at getting in the six for sure; we want to be in the finals at the end of the season.”

Macarthur embark on a new era with Dwight Yorke the new coach of the club following the departure of Ante Milicic.

Yorke has already got off to a great start as the Bulls picked up their first ever piece of silverware when winning the Australian Cup. Captain Ulises Davila was the star of the show and will be a key figure again in the season opener.

What: Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets
Where: Central Coast Stadium, Sydney
When: 16:00 (AEST), Saturday 7th October 2022
How to watch: Paramount +

Pride and bragging rights are on the line when these two arch rivals clash at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday.

The Mariners have played finals in each of the last two seasons and with Jason Cummings and Garang Kuol among a talented squad you would not back against them doing it again this season.

The Jets missed out on finals last season but have strengthened well and could push for the top six this time.

Brandon O’Neill and Callum Timmins have arrived from Perth Glory and will start in midfield on Saturday, while they also boast a new-look attack with Trent Buhagiar, Reno Piscopo and Jaushua Sotirio all signing.

What: Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Where: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
When: 18:45 (AEST) Saturday 7th October 2022
How to watch: 10 Bold

Sydney had a 2021/22 season to forget as they failed to make the top six and play finals for the first time in years. They will be desperate to bounce back and face a tough early test against Victory.

Sky Blues coach Steve Corica vowed to shake things up during the close season in an effort to get them back on track, and he did just that.

A host of players including Milos Ninkovic have moved on and Corica has strengthened with some experienced talented players. One is winger Joe Lolley who arrives from Nottingham Forest and will start against Melbourne Victory.

Another is Jack Rodwell but unfortunately the former Sunderland and Manchester City star has picked up a groin injury and will sit out the opener.

Victory were back amongst the top teams last season following the arrival of new coach Tony Popovic and they will be out to go one step further in the campaign ahead.

They will be without right-back Jason Geria who has a hip injury, while Tomi Juric is also out but new marquee signing Nani is set to make his first A-League start.

“He's had a good pre-season, he's settled in very well on and off the park,” Popovic said of the former Manchester United star. "He probably hasn't played as many minutes as he would've liked in the pre-season but he's raring to go.”

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