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Hunty's Column: Sydney FC, The New Reading FC?

To ease our heads in the business end of the season, Hunty takes us for a wander down under.

A-League Rd 15 - Sydney v Western Sydney Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

OK. I'll admit it I'm a nervous wreck. It's coming up to the end of season run in when every game feels like a six pointer. If we make the play-offs it will be a fantastic achievement from everyone involved at the club. It feels like you're keeping an eye on about six games at once, trying to working out all the different scenarios.

So to take our stressed heads off what is unfolding good bad or just plain scary I'm going to take you to a land down under!!

Newcastle United? Nope. Newcastle Jets, my friends.

The A-League is the Australian football league, or soccer as it's called. The AFL is Aussie Rules where you get a point for nearly scoring a goal - and not footy as in Rugby League, where my beloved team the Manly Sea Eagles lost their first game of the season at "Lottoland" previously known as Brookvale Oval.

So if everyone is clear, then I'll begin!

Soccer in Australia has gone through many changes in structure trying to get the right formula when 11 years ago they finally formed the A-League which set up teams in the big cities.

Living in Sydney an away game to Perth Glory would be a five-hour flight or a three-day train journey. I remember seeing Neville Roach amd Mass Sarr play back in 2000 for Sydney Olympic.

A few franchises fell by the wayside, North Queensland was one I had the pleasure of seeing Dwight Yorke play against as Sydney's marquee signing. Like most professional sports there is a salary cap which works really well unless you cheat like Melbourne Storm did in the NRL. Marquee signings were not considered part of the cap.

Dwight Yorke bossed the league from midfield whilst still hungover from clubbing and other ex-pros from English leagues; Steve Corica, Kevin Muscat, and Grant Brebner (remember him?) were shining lights but to be honest the football was woeful. Even Steve McMahon was a manager.

Lots of huff and puff with minimal end product. Fowler, Carbone et al. came and went with lots of money then clubs realised that you have to invest in the youth, mixing some quality local talent with overseas players that have a point to prove. Such as Besart Berisha, a quality finisher if a bit mad.

Andy Keogh, ex of Millwall, is banging in the goals for Perth Glory with Joseph Mills of former Reading fame plays in defence. Jamie Young, our ex-keeper, even had a good run of games.

My team, Sydney FC, have run away with the league this season and were being talked of as invincibles in a similar style to our Championship winning team of 2006. Next they met the Western Sydney Wanderers in what will be an explosive derby. Having been at a couple of them, the intensity is immense and sometimes goes too far but it fires up the teams. If WSW somehow win, despite being bottom of the league, all hell kicks off.

Once Timmy 'Tim' Cahill, a hero to all Aussies, got sent off without being on the pitch in another cracking match. I think he is brilliant and it's great to see him putting back into Aussie football.

Now we are on the verge of the finals. Yes, Sydney FC will win the league but will they win the grand final? Who knows but do yourself a favour on Saturday or Sunday morning and watch what is a league that is still development but full of talent, fire, passion, and cracking fans.

PS. Rhyan Grant from Sydney FC would make great cover for Chris Gunter. Just saying ;).

PPS. A point versus Newcastle ain't too bad and finally a big get well soon to Bobby Convey. Top footballer & top bloke.

Urzzzzz!