The inclusion of Western United adds an element of the unknown to the A-League.
The inclusion of Western United adds an element of the unknown to the A-League.

Bosnich: Unknowns add to A-League excitement

THERE is something exciting about the start of any new season.

But given the changes to the structure of the competition, the addition of a new team and array of new coaches, the start to the 2019/20 A-League season is an intriguing one.

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Reigning champions

Sydney FC have been one of the most consistent teams in the A-League, featuring in the past three grand finals and past five finals series.

They enter the 2019/2020 season without retired skipper Alex Brosque but have added plenty of experience with the signings of Kosta Barbarouses, Ryan McGowan and Alexander Baumjohann.

In Adam Le Fondre Sydney FC also possess one of the best natural goalscorers in the competition and will again be there at the business end of the season.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 08: Captains of all teams pose on stage during the A-League 2019-20 A-League season launch at Max Watts on October 08, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
The A-League skippers line up at the season launch. Matt King

New kids on block

All eyes will be on the A-League's newest franchise, Western United, when they make their debut against Wellington Phoenix on Sunday.

Coach Mark Rudan has already played down the expectations for his side and there's no doubting they will be a work in progress this season - and for the next couple of seasons - but I think they'll more than hold their own.

Rudan and his staff have recruited smartly with the likes of international stars Alessandro Diamanti and Panagiotis Kone and have plenty of A-League experience in their squad with the likes of Josh Risdon and championship winner Besart Berisha.

Although I'm not tipping Western United to play finals in their first season, I'm also not writing of their chances.

Alessandro Diamanti of Western United looks on during the A-League friendly match between Western United and the Western Sydney Wanderers at GMHBA stadium, Geelong, Saturday, October 5, 2019. (AAP Image/James Ross) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Alessandro Diamanti will be one to watch. JAMES ROSS

Players to watch

There's always intrigue when you have an influx of international players into the league and they'll be plenty of eyes on the likes of Diamanti and Kone at Western United, but there's a couple of other big names I'll be keeping my eye on as well.

Craig Noone is a great pick-up for Melbourne City and I'm looking forward to seeing how Bruno Fornaroli bounces back this season with Perth Glory after a disappointing stint with Melbourne City last year.

And then you have Socceroos such as Robbie Kruse, Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout returning to the A-League this season who'll be out to impress Graham Arnold.

Roar coach Robbie Fowler has seven players coming off contract. (AAP Image/Darren England)
Robbie Fowler's arrival is a boon for the Roar. DARREN ENGLAND

Big improvers

The Central Coast Mariners did it tough last year but showed enough in the FFA Cup to give their fans hope for the 2019/20 season, but the team I'm most looking forward to watching is the Brisbane Roar.

My good friend Robbie Fowler takes over as coach at the Roar and I'm keen to see the impact he has on the young guys in the team.

Fowler may not be the most experienced coach in the A-League but you can guarantee that when he talks, the Roar players will be listening.

Fowler has won everything there is to win as a player and has worked under some of the best managers in the sport's history and that experience will be invaluable for the Brisbane club.


I'm finding it hard to split the Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne City as championship favourites.

The loss of Radoslaw Majewski is a blow for the Wanderers but I think they'll be there on the final day of the season. In saying that, I think it will be Melbourne City who will walk away with the spoils.

City's form in the FFA Cup is just too good to ignore and they've recruited extremely well with the likes of Noone and Jamie Maclaren.