There was plenty of A-Leagues action to digest on Sunday, January 23, with three fixtures taking place through the afternoon and into the evening.
There were emphatic results for finals contenders amongst the swirling transfer rumours hinting two Isuzu UTE A-League stars were near the exit door at their respective clubs – whilst an overseas import was all-but confirmed as a newly signed Central Coast player by the Mariners head coach.
Read on as KEEPUP brings you all the biggest talking points from three A-Leagues games on Sunday.
SUNDAY RECAP: Watch de la Harpe stunner seal Perth win
- Central Coast Mariners 1-0 Melbourne City
Isuzu UTE A-League, Central Coast Stadium – FULL TIME
- Perth Glory 1-0 Western Sydney Wanderers
Liberty A-League, Central Coast Stadium – FULL-TIME
- Brisbane Roar 1-3 Adelaide United
Isuzu UTE A-League, Moreton Daily Stadium – FULL TIME
Cummings’ Mariners move imminent as Monty plays down Birighitti rumours
It was a tough day at the office for Central Coast Mariners on Sunday, January 23 – but after losing 3-1 to Melbourne City head coach Nick Montgomery has given Mariners fans some positive news, announcing the imminent arrival of Scottish striker Jason Cummings from Dundee.
Cummings played his last game for the Scottish Premier League side in late 2021 after being sent home from Dundee training for “breaching club discipline”, attending a live show of the Scottish podcast Open Goal, without permission from his club, going on stage at the event dressed as the Joker from Batman.
It’s the type of behaviour which has made Cummings an infamous character in Scottish football, who has former Hibernian teammate and current Socceroo Martin Boyle to thank for his growing desire to represent Australia on the international stage.
Cummings is eligible to represent the green and gold thanks to his Australian mother, and has only represented Scotland in friendly fixtures.
Speaking after the Mariners’ 3-1 defeat to Melbourne City, Montgomery said the announcement of Cummings’ signing is imminent, with the renegade striker set to arrive at the club next week.
“Yes, it is the case,” Montgomery told the press when asked to confirm or deny the transfer rumour. “You’ll probably see it, maybe tonight.
“He’s a quality player, I’ve spoken to him, I’ve tracked him for a while, he’s got an Australian passport, there’s a lot of clubs wanting his signature. I kept in contact with him, and he’ll be here next week.
“With Matty Simon out all season up to now we’re not going to rush him back, and I’ve seen the effort Moresche and Marcos put in tonight, obviously Nicolai Muller had a hamstring injury, but everybody’s going to need a strong squad – and you saw tonight the effects (of a thin squad); we had five boys come down with COVID, so (I’m) delighted he’ll be coming in and joining the squad next week.
“He’s a top, top player, his record speaks for itself. He can come here and reinvent himself, and hopefully he’ll be a massive asset for us moving forward.”
MATCH REPORT: MARINERS 1-3 CITY
Montgomery gave a clear cut answer to the speculation over Cummings’ arrival, but gave a more cryptic response to a question regarding a possible transfer out of the club by star keeper Mark Birighitti.
The 30-year-old shot-stopper is reportedly catching the eye of a number of overseas clubs – and Montgomery says despite the Mariners being a “selling club”, he was not aware of any interest in his key gloveman.
“Players are linked with clubs all the time,” he said. “In England it’s fish and chip paper, if it happens it happens if it doesn’t someone will be eating their fish and chips out of it.
“We’ve got quality players with Kye Rowles getting in the Socceroos squad and Birighitti who made some key saves tonight, he’s been one of the most consistent keepers in the A-League over the last couple of years, so it’s normal players get linked with moves overseas.
“We’re a selling club, everybody knows that. We saw with the transfers overseas last year, so for us we get used to it, but we also know players want to come here because they can get developed and have the opportunity to go overseas as well.
“Again, until anything happens it’s just rumours, but I’ve not heard anything about that.”
Perth use border fiasco to ‘fuel’ gallant weekend of ALM/ALW wins
This week’s announcement by the WA state government or the postponement of domestic border openings has left both the club’s men’s and women’s teams stranded interstate – but despite feeling sheer “disappointment”, Glory’s Liberty A-League rising star Hana Lowry says the club’s two A-Leagues sides are used recent development to fuel gallant their respectively gallant displays this weekend.
After the men’s 2-1 Isuzu UTE A-League win over Sydney FC on Saturday night, it was the club’s Liberty A-League outfit showing out on Sunday evening, notching a 1-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers at Central Coast Stadium.
MATCH REPORT: GLORY 1-0 WANDERERS
Lowry says the two results show just how high the motivation levels are inside the club despite the testing situation at hand.
“It’s been a really tough week with the news of the borders, it just makes (the win) more special,” Lowry told Paramount+ after the 1-0 Wanderers win.
“I’m so proud of the girls, we really put in such a good performance, so much heart in it.
“It was really disappointing the news this week so we just use that to fuel us. I’m really proud.
“I think we had that end date and that’s not going ahead anymore, we’re not too sure what’s going to happen but I think it’s just important we stick together and regroup, and use it to fuel us and keep playing performances like that.
“I think even the boys game yesterday, they showed it, and that sort of motivated us even more.
“They put in such a good performance, (I) was just really proud.”
Veteran Glory star Lisa De Vanna added her frustrations to the conversation, venting her emotions post-match as she contemplated not being able to cap off her career in front of the home Glory fans.
“Look, me personally, I’m devastated… particularly when I really wanted to finish my career in front of my home crowd,” De Vanna said.
“But the resilience, and the determination of the girls to come out (and win), I think every sporting team from WA has won this weekend so it’s great that we’re showing we can (rise above) diversity.”
Paramount+ co-commentator Amy Chapman watched on as Perth impressed against the Wanderers and couldn’t help but notice the determination put on display by Alex Epakis’ side that both Lowry and De Vanna alluded to.
“This is their third win for the season, and you can see what it means to them,” Chapman said
“This was their best performance by a long shot I think. I really couldn’t fault them, their movement, their playing out from the back, the combinations up front, Lisa De Vanna’s best game, (Alex Epakis) has certainly got them firing.”
‘They will miss him’ – Mauk sets the benchmark as he awaits Adelaide exit
The jeers from the crowd, the standoff with Roar keeper Macklin Freke, the goal slotted calmly from the spot, the magic assist to Craig Goodwin’s sealer – Stefan Mauk was everywhere for Adelaide United in a 3-1 win over Brisbane on Sunday night, proving just how big of a void he will leave should an overseas move transpire in the current transfer window.
Mauk said post-match he’s “not 100% sure” whether his key role in his side’s Roar win would be his last contribution at the club. But watching on from the Paramount+ studio, former Socceroo Luke Wilkshire said if and when the transfer occurs, the Reds will be without a key cog in their squad – one he’s not sure they’ll be able to replace.
“I thought he was fantastic, Mauk,” Wilkshire said.
“He leads the line, and the energy he has, the way he presses from the front; we’re talking about being aggressive and pressing, he brings that for them.”
MATCH REPORT: ROAR 1-3 REDS
Wilkshire added: “They will miss him. We touched on it there, the energy he brings, the pressing from the front, he does it every single time. And that brings the team with you.
“That’s a leader in his actions, maybe not so much vocally but in his actions, and you can see that.”
Mauk combined to lethal effect with Craig Goodwin on the night, who bagged himself a brace against Brisbane before switching his focus to international mode. Goodwin will now prepare to join up with the 25-player Socceroos squad for two key world cup qualifiers on January 27 and February 2 (AEDT).
For Mauk, however, any departure from the club in the coming days is unlikely to be followed by a swift return.
“I’m not 100% sure, hopefully I’ve got maybe one more (game), I’m just taking it as it comes,” Mauk told Paramount+ post-game.
“But I’m happy to leave if this is my last as a winner, and if not I’m looking forward to next week against the Jets.”