Monday, February 18, 2008

Farina's telling silence

Farina's telling silence.
It's common knowledge that Frank Farina hates his compulsory media dealings with the kind of passion normally reserved for the taxman. But the former Australia boss would have despised picking over the bones of Queensland's contentious preliminary final loss even more than usual.

A controversial penalty, his captain's dismissal for a dubious elbow to the face of Jets striker Mark Bridge and barrage of missed opportunities all combined to send Newcastle into this weekend's showpiece final and Farina's mood plummeting.

In fairness, the Roar were gifted as much - if not more - by under-fire referee Peter Green in an error-ridden 3-2 defeat with Farina's side the fortunate recipients of two of the three penalties Green spotted, even if nobody else did.

The first - dispatched by Brazilian Reinaldo - zipped past Newcastle's Socceroos goalkeeper Ante Covic deep into stoppage time after Queensland had looked dead and buried. The second, also from the lanky South American striker, gave them a sniff of an unlikely comeback at 3-1.

But the fact Green squared the ledger by awarding the Jets a soft spot-kick in the first-half of extra time plus Tarek Elrich's blockbuster meant the dream season finale for FFA suits became a reality.

The A-League grand final had already, again controversially, been scheduled for Sydney so the progression of NSW neighbours Newcastle and the Central Coast - despite lower average home gates than Queensland - would have delighted the money men.

And Farina's take on the showpiece decider? "I don't really give a shit to be honest," he said, sidestepping protocol. It's a sentiment Farina has employed more than once in his first full season in charge at the Roar.

All week he'd been asked whether his side could contain their nerves on the biggest day in the club's history. The question had its roots in Queensland's defeat to Adelaide a few weeks previous when former Socceroos hardman Danny Tiatto was sent off for aiming a swing at an opponent. He typically went out all guns blazing in a sideline melee and was banned for two matches.

The league-leading Roar lost the match 2-0 and ended up finishing fourth.

But in fairness it was Green, usually one of the league's more consistent enforcers, who succumbed to the tension of the grand occasion with a nerve-riddled performance which might see him lose pace on the country's leading officials.

He handed out a blizzard of cards including both a yellow then a straight red for Moore, the former Australia captain after Bridge toppled to the turf.

Queensland's Sasa Ognenovski, another who doesn't hide his disgust for the media and a player who's fallen out with even the most affable of his team-mates this season, received his second caution of the finals series and would have been suspended from the grand final had the Roar progressed.

Ognenovski was off the field getting treatment for a head wound when Matt Thompson opened the scoring for Newcastle with Green again coming under some fire for delaying the skyscraping central defender's return.

It was all enough to have Farina privately seething for weeks, but he wasn't going to let on to the gathered hacks.

Earlier this season, the Queenslander was slugged by the governing body for suggesting one referee reacquaint himself with the laws of the game and he was careful with his complaints this time.

"The police watch everything I say, so I can't really comment any more," he said. Asked what he could say about Green's display without falling foul of FFA guidelines on publicly criticising officials, Farina tellingly replied: "Nothing."

Next season is the last under his current deal with the club. After bringing in Moore and Tiatto last year, more big name signings are expected. Farina's contacts from his six years in the national set-up are extensive and the league's reputation continues to grow.

However, the competition may well need to find 46 more top class players next year with fellow Queensland sides Gold Coast Galaxy and Northern Thunder heavily tipped to become the first expansion clubs.

A decision on that will be announced in a week's time following this Thursday's FFA board meeting.

Copyright © Marc Fox and Soccerphile.com

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1 comment:

Spotlight Soccer said...

"I really don't give a shit to be honest". Haha. I love this candor. Good for him. Excellent blog post as usual.

-John