Melbourne Heart’s inaugural season is drawing to a close and in many respects it has been a great triumph.
Melbourne Heart-s inaugural season is drawing to a close and in many respects it has been a great triumph.
The policy of promoting local youth has given us strong performances from Aziz Behich and Adrian Zahra, and the pre-season promise of technical attacking football has blossomed into some moments of fantastic interplay on the pitch.
Oh, and we claimed the first derby with a barnstorming performance to boot.
But with six games left and the clock ticking, one more thing would see this season rate as an unqualified success in the eyes of Australia- an appearance in the A-League finals at the first attempt.
The run in for Heart is not straightforward. We sit in sixth place at the foot of the finals positions with only a one point advantage over Wellington. Newcastle are one point behind them but with two games in hand which makes them a tricky customer.
Before we give up hope, consider two things that may conspire to help the Stripes- cause:
1- Key personnel changes at Newcastle
With Francis Jeffers ending his short stay one game early and club captain Ljubo Milicevic stepping down, the Jets have crashed to three consecutive defeats in the last month. Their form may just be shaky enough to see them struggle to collect points over the next few weeks, and this would give the Heart room to breathe.
2- Last weekend-s 4-1 thrashing of Victory by Adelaide
This result will have dented Victory-s morale and leaves them only two points above us with both teams having played 24 games. The Blues- pasting means our crosstown rivals have now lost two in a row, and with the difficult derby still to come as well as a game against Gold Coast and another against Adelaide, there is every chance a slip-up or two will see them slide out of finals contention.
So, Heartsters, keep the faith. There will be twists and turns to come over the next six weeks, but if we keep winning and fate lends us a helping hand there is every chance we will be out there come March, fighting in the finals.