For every round of A-League football in 2020/21, FTBL will be handing out awards for the brilliant, bad and bizarre moments each week. In round seven, VAR single-handedly helped one team, Besart Berisha made more history, whilst the Victory continued to slump.
The Helping Hand Award
Adelaide United was awarded three penalties via VAR on Friday night against the Mariners, with only one being arguably close to a correct call.
Ruon Tongyik was somehow punished even though Stefan Mauk looked to have dived for the first one.
Kye Rowles was expected to slide for the ball with his arms by his side to avoid a handball.
How could it be deemed that the Rowles call was a 'clear and obvious' error?
There are more issues concerning the Rowles one with the uncertainty (still) with handball laws.
But - and I will probably repeat this at some point - referees need to decide whether they are actually using the clear and obvious barometer or just reviewing everything.
The inconsistency with VAR at the moment is astonishing.
As for Adelaide, this win just papered over gaping cracks in their team currently.
What a wonderful game Adelaide & VAR United FC vs Central Coast Mariners FC is bringing#ADLvCCM— Neal Symons (@neal_symons) February 19, 2021
With only three shots on target, coming from the three penalties, it speaks volumes about the lack of creativity going forward.
Meanwhile, Jordan Elsey's embarrassing mistake that gifted Daniel De Silva the opener highlighted that their defensive issues remain.
I'm sure Carl Veart would have happily bought referee Adam Fielding a beer after the game...
Carl Veart going the full Wenger - "I haven't seen the videos..."— ⚽ Aaron on top of the league Dibdin ⚽ (@aarondibdin) February 19, 2021
Spare me. #ADLvCCM
The Best Foreign Striker Ever Award
Besart Berisha broke another goalscoring record on Saturday.
His brace against Macarthur lifted him to second on the all-time Australian football (NSL + A-League) goalscoring charts.
The milestone is made even more incredible for two reasons.
First of all, Berisha is a foreigner. His success down under shows that although young talent is a priority, imports still significantly influence the Australian game.
I think the other reason is that Berisha did not look his usual self at the start of this campaign.
The 35-year-old looked slow, sluggish and disinterested in the opening few rounds but has well and truly turned a corner with three goals in his last two games.
The best way to describe the ex-Victory man is 'predator' - he ruthlessly exploits any opportunity that presents itself.
The What Is Wrong With Them? Award
Melbourne Victory continued their disastrous start to 2021 with yet another defeat, this time at home to the Newcastle Jets.
Angus Thurgate's second-half strike condemned Victory to their fifth defeat in seven games.
They sit at the bottom of the competition ladder.
The club's problems are no different to last season, which means the blame can't solely rest on Grant Brebner's management.
Their recruitment was poor yet again, with Rudy Gestede and Ryan Shotton looking like particularly dodgy acquisitions.
Meanwhile, the likes of Storm Roux, Nick Ansell, Adama Traore and Robbie Kruse have had their time.
More chances must now be given to new blood, such as Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio and Birkan Kirdar.
The mentality at Victory has also dramatically shifted.
Every A-League team used to fear going to AAMI Park or Etihad.
Victory often had a measured arrogance approaching the game that they used effectively.
But now the tables have turned, and sides such as Newcastle fancy themselves, while Victory approach matches bereft of confidence and self-belief.
The issues at the club run deep; this is not the same Melbourne Victory anymore.
Melbourne Victory seems to think or assume that their status as a 'big club' is set in stone. The last year or so has proved it absolutely is not. They've never felt smaller.— Vince Rugari (@VinceRugari) February 21, 2021
The Award For New Emerging Supporter Group
How could we write an article about this week and not mention the new emerging supporter group that stole the show on Sunday in Wollongong?
Wellington's Mexican fanbase has emerged in recent weeks, obviously supporting their star Mexican Ulises Davila.
The A-League has always been known for various active supporter groups, such as the RBB, the Novacastrians, the Cove and the brass band that used to play at Mariners home games.
Therefore, it isn't that surprising to see the Mexican fanbase at Wellington games at the moment.
If a player like Ulises Dávila can bring out that many people to a game, just imagine what could happen if a club signed a bigger named Mexican player #WELvWSW— Dimitri Peppas (@DimitriPeppas_) February 21, 2021
Because of our multiculturalism as a country, the chances of having such diverse groups at games are higher, and I'm all for it.
As they say, it's all apart of the 'peak A-League' experience.