Cornthwaite’s Corner: Round 9

Focus and discipline... That should be the message from Carl Veart this week heading into the game against the Jets.
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Focus and discipline…

That should be the message from Carl Veart this week heading into the game against the Jets.

With the holiday season upon us, it’s easy to be distracted by the many offerings at your fingertips. Of course, enjoy this special time of year with friends and family and make the most of Christmas Day, especially for those with children, but base your decisions on what you eat and drink knowing you have a job to do on the 27th.

The players don’t need to be disciplined just because it’s the Christmas period, but because it’s been missing since the return from the break. I doubt Carl and his staff took the pedal off the gas during the World Cup, but there have been a few signs of ill discipline since the return. Red cards to two of the Club’s most experienced players in two matches since the break have been low points for me.

Both red cards were completely unnecessary and avoidable. Ben Halloran was walking the line last week and made poor choices in the 55 minutes he was on the park. His first yellow for decent is inexcusable, and his second was a brain fade. He knew he was on a yellow and came in late to give away a cheap, unwarranted foul. His teammates should be fuming. He threw them in the deep end, and they’ll miss him this week.

The game against Wellington was largely end to end in the opening 45 minutes. I understand that United are an attacking team, but they gave away far too many cheap opportunities away from home. The first goal inside three minutes was completely avoidable. A simple, straight ball over the top caught a square defence napping. They weren’t at the races from the start.

Joe Gauci saving a penalty against Wellington Phoenix.

Wellington get a lot of praise for their fight and resilience, but they are more than capable of playing good football and showed it last weekend. I spoke of their foreigners in last week’s Cornthwaite’s Corner, and they were involved in everything that was good about the Phoenix.

Craig Goodwin’s free-kick will surely win goal of the season. I’m confident we won’t see a better strike than that this year, and if we do, it’ll probably come from the boot of the Reds skipper himself. He’s in rare form at the moment. Long may it continue.

The defeat could have been heavier if not for Joe Gauci. He made a number of good saves, and his record at saving penalties is brilliant for such a young goalkeeper.

The Reds welcome the Jets this week, who are coming into the game after two straight defeats. Newcastle played Wednesday, but with Adelaide having an extra four days of rest, I don’t think it’ll make much difference in the match on Tuesday.

It’s pretty straightforward for me; at home, Adelaide needs to take the game to the opposition. We know how dangerous they are at home when they are in full flight. Carl’s had 10 days to work with the team since the Nix loss, and I’m expecting an improved performance, especially defensively.

Carl Veart leading training at the VALO Training Centre.

Newcastle have been praised throughout Arthur Papas’ time in charge for their ability to move the ball and create in the front third, but results haven’t followed. They are vulnerable at the back, and if United can get the pressing right, they can pinch the ball in the opposition half and spring forward in attack. Adelaide is at their most dangerous when the team they are playing is not set and out of shape.

The transition moments are key for me on Tuesday night. Win the ball back as soon as possible and attack an unorganised back four. If Adelaide are clinical, I can see a lot of goals in this game.

The heat is obviously going to be a factor, making preparation over Christmas even more vital in this clash. The team that prepares the best will have a slight advantage in my mind.

It’s been a tough week for football in this country, but like I said on my podcast this week, please remember why you love football and what made you fall in love with this game.

For me, some of my best memories are as a kid standing next to my day at Hindmarsh watching the NSL. It brought us together, and we bonded over a game we both loved. We loved the game, but we shared it together, and I’ll remember that more than any goals I saw.

Football brings people together from all over this city, state, and county. Don’t let thugs masquerading as football fans take that away from us.

I wish everyone a safe and merry Christmas. See you on the terraces.

Follow Robbie on Twitter and Instagram.

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