My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are staying over at the moment. They’re not (usually) football fans but if you stay at my house the football will be on the telly.
So they didn't have much choice on Monday night as the Wanderers and Wellington battled out a seven goal thriller which really should have been a draw. No team deserved to lose that incredible match and Tomer Hemed's chalked-off equaliser in the last minute of added time would have been a very fitting conclusion to an epic contest.
Sister-in-law, in particular, was gushing in her appreciation of the entertainment. 'Wow, that was such a gripping, action-packed match. I had no idea the A-League was so good. Are all matches like that?'
'Yes. Yes they are,' was my response.
Of course, not every match is quite like that - end to end action with stunning goals and excellent skills on display - but the league has been very watchable this season. Which is surprising when you think about the numerous issues they've had to overcome in the Covid world - not least the reduction of TV money and the loss of many foreign and Australian stars overseas.
They've been replaced though, by a bunch of new youngsters, some quality foreigners and the return of some other Australians (like Nabbout, Duke and Bozanic).
As for the youngsters, Alen Stajcic said early in the season that Covid could be the making of the Socceroos over the next five years when you look at the many teenagers getting an opportunity they wouldn't have had otherwise.
But it could also be the making of the league itself. The league had grown stale as we waited for FFA to get over itself and bring new teams into the fold. With a reset twelve team league there is that much more variety, but more importantly there are so many new faces throughout the teams and the quality is really high. Every team has got some interesting new players and I, for one, never get sick of watching A-League 2.0.
No doubt the TV figures (such as they are) will suffer as the NRL and AFL seasons get under way but the viewing public (especially those who do enjoy football) need to be made aware that the A-League's product is as good as ever in the quality stakes and (for me) the best it's ever been in terms of consistent entertainment. The level is very even meaning highly competitive matches are the norm.
The only fly in the ointment is Victory. They need to be doing well for the good of the league - if only to play the part of moustache-twirling villain - loved by their own fans and loathed by everyone else. I wouldn't have a clue what their problem is but I do hope Grant Brebner is part of the solution. Clubs need to retain their more treasured alumni so if they do replace him as coach he ought to be kept on in some capacity more to his measure.
The season is also a success when everyone's second favourite team (the Mariners) are doing well. They have been the real surprise packet this year - doing a Leicester with a cavalcade of new or rejuvenated players as they continue to resurrect the reputation of their coach. People keep waiting for the Mariners phenomenon to stall but they keep surprising us with power, strategy and no little consistency. They will definitely make the finals and probably the top two.
Whether they are to be premiers will largely be answered next round as they take on Melbourne City away. City have absolutely hit their straps (with the likes of Nabbout and MacLaren running amok) and no-one wants to play them right now. But the Mariners are so confident in their own form and systems that they will go to Melbourne expecting to win.
In order to do that they'll have to sort out the loss of press that has afflicted their last few performances (with Stensness out injured). They'll also have to make much better use of Alou Kuol who has not been seeing enough of the ball when he comes on. If you have a player like that then surely Plan A is to get him in behind. I predict a phase of the game when Kuol and Urena are both on the pitch for once.
I expect next week's game between City and Central Coast to be a total classic, so let everyone know it's on.
Especially your mother-in-law.
Adrian's books can be purchased at any good bookstore or through ebook alchemy. His new novel, Welcome to Ord City, is now available.