KEEPUP’s guide to the 2021-22 Isuzu UTE A-League

There is optimism. Hope. A buzz. The excitement for the first whistle of the Isuzu UTE A-League is palpable, writes David Weiner.

After another exciting day at A-Leagues HQ, I got home on Thursday, season kick-off eve, and my four-year-old had laid out the cones in the backyard to put me through my paces.

It is what it is all about. What this is all about.

And it is why I hold out so much anticipation, and hope, that this new era – yes, another new era – is the one that sets the A-Leagues on its path to fulfilling its potential, something we saw a glimpse of in the halcyon days, but which we pine again for, and then some.

Because there’s a generation out there ready to be swept away by the bright lights of the A-Leagues, home grown heroes and role models, with great stories, relatable to – aspirational – in their own backyard – close enough to home to get to a game, or be part of a genuine community. Now, there is a free to air platform to get the exposure the game needs – and deserves, and a digital home to make sure the sport connects with and is accessible to as many touch points of the football family as possible.

At KEEPUP, we cannot wait for the new era to begin, officially, tonight, on Paramount+ and for the journey ahead telling stories that will nourish football fans craving more content, but also inspire others to come into our world and get swept away – it might be by reading an article, sharing an amazing goal, being bewildered by a blinding save, inspired by a story, caught up by an epic anthem, heading to a game, checking out a stream, or putting on a pair of boots on for the first time – or putting them back on. Or simply by laying out the cones in the backyard and beginning that lifelong journey.

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This season provides every reason to be excited as well, that we will simply be entertained, even if Melbourne City, flush with their Socceroos laden front three, start as many peoples’ favourites. They begin the new era with their clash on Paramount+ against Brisbane Roar on Friday night. The competition’s first free-to-air match on 10 is none other than the Sydney Derby, with a familiar looking Sky Blues outfit taking on a Wanderers side desperate to return to where their fans want them to belong. And in a new addition for this season, there will be simultaneous kick-offs on Saturday night, creating a Goal Rush feel on 10, while allowing a second screen experience on Paramount+.

ROUND 1 PREVIEW: Game-by-game guide

Sign-up for KEEPUP today and score yourself an exclusive 30-day free trial for Paramount+!

Daniel Sturridge is the ultimate sprinkling of stardust with his arrival in Perth, but from the redemption of Jack Rodwell, to the continued class of Alessandro Diamanti and Milos Ninkovic, to the returning Socceroos pedigree of Mathew Leckie and Brad Jones and an intriguing collection of foreign imports, there are a few ways this season could twist and turn.

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Most excitingly, however, is the new wave of talent on display – both on the park, and in the dugout. Local coaches – and some of our most iconic former Socceroos – are handing opportunities to a batch of kids we all want to see get minutes, and take their games, and our game, to the next level.

That cohort is led by Olyroos Tokyo 2020 goalscorers Marco Tilio (Melbourne City) and Lachlan Wales (Western United), while Rhyan Grant, Andrew Redmayne (both Sydney FC), Chris Ikonomidis (Melbourne Victory), Curtis Good, Connor Metcalfe, Leckie, Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout (Melbourne City) are all instrumental in Australia’s prospects over the coming World Cup cycle.

THE NEXT ALOU KUOL: Who will be the next breakout star?

So, make sure you’re ahead of your mates with your knowledge for the season ahead and indulge in our pre-season reading, with a little bit of nostalgia thrown in to remember some of the moments that are part of our competition’s story as we build its exciting future.

Bring on 2021-22.

I WAS THERE, Part 1: Berisha v Bosschaart

I WAS THERE, Part 2: In the wall for Del Piero’s debut

I WAS THERE, Part 3: Moments before that scorpion

I WAS THERE, Part 4: The ref who split Kossie and Muscat


By Tom Smithies and Matt Comito

Adelaide United: Can Veart steer them into the decider?

Brisbane Roar: Will the local lads surprise again?

Central Coast Mariners: A renaissance or brief ray of sunshine?

Macarthur FC: Attack looks great, but who replaces the veterans?

Melbourne City: Can anyone stop the champions?

Melbourne Victory: Can Popa resurrect the fallen giant?

Newcastle Jets: Can Papas find success with another overhaul?

Perth Glory: Are box office Glory title contenders?

Sydney FC: A familiar feel in Sky Blue – do they have another gear?

Wellington Phoenix: Can the ‘Nix thrive early doors based in Wollongong?

Western Sydney Wanderers: Will Robinson rise to expectations?

Western United: Will more ‘Dia’ magic help United bounce back?