Adelaide United goes into the final round of the Hyundai A-League season with the chance of becoming Premiers. But with Finals to follow, what’s so important about clinching that Premiers’ Plate?
After an incredible second half of the season resurgence from Guillermo Amor’s men, the Reds are now in strong contention to claim some pre-Finals silverware in their last match of the regular season.
But with the majority of impetus focused on being crowned Champions by wining the Hyundai A-League’s Finals Series, what’s the importance behind being crowned Premiers and what would it mean for United, this season and next?
The first step is rather simple – we beat Melbourne City.
If we do, we will go into the rest of the weekend with the best chance of grasping the Premiers’ Plate. But there are aspects to Round 27 that are out of our hands.
Even if we do beat the Citizens, we’re reliant on the result of Brisbane Roar’s visit to Melbourne Victory the following evening.
But, should John Aloisi’s squad draw or lose to Victory, we are in the clear, and will have won the Premiership.
If we are unable to get the win over City on Friday night, but take a point from the clash, our chances are slimmer, but it’s still possible.
Should we draw, we will remain reliant on the outcome of Victory vs Roar, but Western Sydney Wanderers’ match with Wellington Phoenix will become crucial.
In this instance, the Roar must lose and Wanderers must lose or draw for us to be Premiers.
But what does the Premiership mean?
As mentioned, a lot of the importance throughout the season is placed on becoming Champions, rather than winning the Premiers’ Plate. But finishing at the top of the pack at the end of Round 27 has a number of advantages for the Finals Series, some even stemming through to the following season.
Firstly, the Premiership warrants a week off in the first round of the Finals Series, with the teams ranked third, fourth, fifth, and sixth facing off in an Elimination Finals round.
As Premiers, you’re also given the advantage of playing the lowest ranked team in the Semi-Finals, and whilst this is no guarantee of Grand Final progression, statistically it can give you the best chance of making it all the way.
Also, for next season, you’re guaranteed a place in the AFC Champions League, without the need for qualification.
Adelaide United will face Melbourne City in Round 27 of the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season on Friday, 8 April at AAMI Park. Kick-off is at 7.10pm ACST.