Cornthwaite’s Corner: Round 25

Robbie Cornthwaite has given his view on the Reds leading into Round 25.
2022/23 tickets on sale.

Two games to go and everything still to play for.

Firstly, congratulations to Carl Veart, his staff, the players, and everyone involved behind the scenes at the Club on securing a home final for the second straight season. Whether the team manages to remain in the second spot or slips to fourth, Finals football will be coming to Coopers in 2023. There’s the obvious advantage for finishing second only having to win a two-legged final to make the Grand Final in Sydney.

Before the Reds can think about Finals, they still have a job to do if they want to secure second spot, which I think they’ve earned. The table doesn’t lie though and unless they get the points on the board, they’ll have an extra game to win if they want to go all the way.

Adelaide did more than enough to get something out of the game against Western United, but I still didn’t think they were at their best. Ben Halloran had two good opportunities in the first half and another in the second, but he’s struggled to find the back of the net this season and he should have scored against the reigning champions. Ben Warland has found his goal scoring form season, but also wasted a couple of great opportunities from set pieces.

United looked a little passive in the opening 45 minutes, and I didn’t think they had the same energy in defence that they’ve displayed this season. I understand they may have wanted to sit a little deeper and deny space for Connor Pain and Lachlan Wales in behind, but I thought they could have been more intense in putting pressure on the ball and picked the moment to press high and try and win the ball back.

At one point, Dylan Pierias ran 70 metres with the ball at his feet, gliding past three or four defenders and into a dangerous area. If his pass had been better, Aleksandar Prijovic would have been one-on-one with Joe Gauci. While the defence held up well for most of the game, there were several moments they had to make a last-ditch, stretching tackle to stop Western.

With Zach Clough forced off through injury, Adelaide’s spine looked young and inexperienced. That said, I thought Jay Barnett did some excellent things defensively. He dropped into the back four on a couple of occasions early in the first half and filled in for the central defenders, picking up the ball and snuffing out attacks.

Nestory Irankunda is young and gives so much, but didn’t look at his best on the weekend. Carl has waited a lot longer in the past two weeks to bring him on, and I wonder if his form has dropped at training as the season has gone on.

It’s a match Adelaide easily could have won, but the past two games haven’t felt like the previous 11. They didn’t seem quite on the same wavelength.

When they got desperate towards the end, they lobbed long, straight passes into the box, which I didn’t like at all. Get it wide and whip it in, or play between the lines and get a winger running out-to-in and in behind.

It’s been an incredible run, but now it’s time to start a new one.

United are on a four-game winning streak and a five-game unbeaten run against this week’s opponents, Perth Glory. A trip to Western Australia at any point of the season can be difficult, but with the Glory returning to their home ground, HBF Park, and a win being their only option, this will be a tough test for Adelaide.

After missing a huge opportunity last week against Sydney FC, it’s now or never for Perth. Adelaide has faced this challenge twice in the past two weeks, a club that’s desperate to keep its season alive. While Adelaide hasn’t failed the test, it’s only managed one point, which brought them back to the pack.

Even if Adelaide win, it’ll all come down to Round 26 if the Mariners and the Wanderers also claim all three points. They both have a superior goal difference so Adelaide still might need six points from their last two games to claim the second spot on the ladder.

What a big season it’s been; it’s only going to get bigger from here!

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