A look at round 13 of A-League action, where the Wellington Phoenix made it eight games unbeaten while Melbourne Victory flexed some attacking muscle.
THEY SAID IT: "Maybe our players want to test me - if I'm in good health for the New Year - maybe it's a good test." - Melbourne City coach Erick Mombaerts after his side - when leading 3-0 - conceded two late penalties and went down to 10 men against Western United, but held on for a 3-2 win.
MAN OF THE ROUND: Paulo Retre signed a new two-year deal with Sydney FC during the week, then scored a brace in the Sky Blues' 2-1 win over Adelaide United on Saturday night. But Robbie Kruse turned things up a notch with a masterful performance against Newcastle, scoring and having a hand in two others in Melbourne Victory's 4-0 win.
BEAT THAT: Brad Inman is well and truly finding his feet at Brisbane Roar. After earning his side a point in round 12, the Roar midfielder lashed home a delightful long-range strike to give the Roar all three points against Western Sydney.
STAT ATTACK: Newcastle have gone five games without a win and have conceded 17 goals in that period. On three occasions in the past month, Ernie Merrick's side have conceded four or more - shipping four against Melbourne City, six against Perth Glory and another four against Victory.
TALKING POINT: Things started so brightly for Western United, but now things are starting to get difficult for the A-League newcomers. Injuries have taken a toll, while Scott McDonald appears on the way out - and Connor Chapman has already left - giving Mark Rudan plenty to think about. The bye couldn't have come at a better time.
INJURIES: Melbourne Victory's German defender Tim Hoogland will miss 3-4 weeks after minor knee surgery. Brisbane saw Aaron Amadi-Holloway (leg) and Daniel Bowles (hamstring) pick up injuries. Melbourne City defender Richard WIndbichler pulled up sore.
UNDER PRESSURE: Alex Meier entered this season as Western Sydney's big name, but has seriously struggled to make an impact. The German striker provided an assist for Mitch Duke mid-week but has just one goal to his name so far.
WHAT'S NEXT: Newcastle have a short turnaround, hosting table-toppers Sydney FC on Friday night - just five days after their thumping loss to Victory in Melbourne. In-form Wellington host Western Sydney on Saturday afternoon, while Adelaide United travel to Perth to face the Glory that night. On Sunday, the resurgent Victory face Central Coast in Gosford.