A-League guide: Predictions, signings, verdict for 2018-19
THE wait is over.
Season 14 of the A-League will hit our screens in less than a week as Fox Sports brings you all the action from Australia's top tier.
Here's how every side is shaping up...
Coach: Marco Kurz
Last season: 5th, elimination finalists
Key signings: Ken Ilso, Mirko Boland, Ben Halloran, Craig Goodwin, Michael Jakobsen
We say: The Reds were promising in Kurz's first season in charge but whether they can build on it hinges largely on the quality of their new imports. If Ilso and Boland can pick up the slack left behind by Johan Absalonsen and Daniel Adlung, they should be in the finals mix once again. Goodwin and Halloran loom as terrific Aussie additions on either flank.
Predicted finish: 5th
Coach: John Aloisi
Last season: 6th, elimination finalists
Key signings: Stefan Mauk, Adam Taggart, Tobias Mikkelsen
We say: Coming off an average season last time around, the Roar have flown straight under the radar. Aloisi has done his best transfer work early in the winter and as a result his squad looks settled and improved in the right areas. Taggart looks like an ace addition in attack and has plenty to play for, most notably an Asian Cup berth for the Socceroos.
Predicted finish: 6th
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS
Coach: Mike Mulvey
Last season: 10th
Key signings: Tommy Oar, Ross McCormack, Aiden O'Neill, Kalifa Cisse, Michael McGlinchey, Matt Simon, Jordan Murray
We say: Mariners fans have every right to be excited and optimistic this season and it's got nothing to do with Usain Bolt. The recruitment of Oar and McCormack signals a change in thinking - and spending - from this once-frugal club. Mulvey has a squad that stands a real shot of ending their four-year finals drought.
Predicted finish: 7th
Coach: Warren Joyce Last season: 3rd, semi-finalists
Key signings: Ritchie De Laet, Florin Berenguer, Michael O'Halloran, Rostyn Griffiths, Riley McGree, Anthony Caceres, Mark Birighitti, Curtis Good
We say: Daniel Arzani is gone but a glut of other Australian young guns keen to impress - and an influx of experienced campaigners - will make City a force to be reckoned with. Birighitti, De Laet and Griffiths will strengthen an already formidable spine that features Bart Schenkeveld, Luke Brattan and Bruno Fornaroli.
Predicted finish: 4th
Coach: Kevin Muscat
Last season: 4th, champions
Key signings: Keisuke Honda, Ola Toivonen, Raul Baena, Georg Niedermeier, Corey Brown, Storm Roux, Nick Ansell
We say: Losing a host of established stars might just be the best thing that ever happened to Melbourne Victory. Muscat has replaced them with two international attackers fresh from a World Cup, another two imports with top European pedigree, two proven local fullbacks and a former favourite defender who knows the joint inside-out. Will be hard to beat, provided everything clicks.
Predicted finish: 1st
Coach: Ernie Merrick
Last season: 2nd, grand finalists
Key signings: Jair, Matthew Ridenton, Mitch Austin
We say: The Jets enjoyed a fairytale run to the grand final last season and have largely retained the same squad that helped them do it. But will that be enough when the rest of the competition seems to have beefed up? With no Roy O'Donovan for the first eight rounds and Joey Champness injured for the first chunk of the season, someone will need to step up and provide the goals.
Predicted finish: 8th
Coach: Tony Popovic
Last season: 8th
Key signings: Matthew Spiranovic, Jason Davidson, Chris Ikonomidis, Tomislav Mrcela, Ivan Franjic, Fabio Ferreira, Juande, Brendon Santalab
We say: An exciting new era has dawned in the west. After years of underachievement under Kenny Lowe, a hardline regime led by Popovic and built on defence and discipline should transform the Glory into instant contenders. Signing fringe Socceroos midfielder Ikonomidis to a long-term deal looms as a genius piece of recruitment.
Predicted finish: 3rd
Coach: Steve Corica
Last season: 1st, semi-finalists
Key signings: Adam le Fondre, Siem de Jong, Daniel De Silva, Jop van der Linden, Trent Buhagiar
We say: Graham Arnold is gone and so too are some of the players who helped drive the Sky Blues to their second consecutive premiership last season. But Corica shapes as a safe pair of hands and has done some impeccable work in the transfer market - le Fondre and de Jong could take the A-League by storm, while De Silva is a proven quantity. Sydney should be right up there again.
Predicted finish: 2nd
Coach: Mark Rudan
Last season: 9th
Key signings: Steven Taylor, Filip Kurto, David Williams, Mitch Nichols, Michal Kopczynski
We say: Rudan's A-League chance has finally come after a long coaching apprenticeship in the NPL and, boy, does he have a job in front of him. The Phoenix have the weakest squad in the competition on paper and as a club they seem to be meandering and procrastinating on death row. Rudan and former Premier League centre-back Taylor need to provide some much-needed stability.
Predicted finish: 10th
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS
Coach: Markus Babbel
Last season: 7th
Key signings: Alexander Baumjohann, Patrick Ziegler, Tarek Elrich, Bruce Kamau, Ruon Tongyik, Nick Fitzgerald
We say: German and Spanish influences will be fused at the Wanderers with former Liverpool defender Babbel taking over as coach after Josep Gombau's mediocre reign. Much depends on new attacking pivot Baumjohann and whether he can overcome a horrendous career injury record to provide the missing link in the final third.
Predicted finish: 8th