Battle of the Socceroos signings begins
Brett Emerton and Harry Kewell appear set to face off in a “Hollywood moment” to open the A-League season and debate is already raging as to which star Socceroos recruit will prove the better acquisition.
BRETT EMERTON and Harry Kewell appear set to face off in a “Hollywood moment” to open the A-League season and debate is already raging as to which star Socceroos recruit will prove the better acquisition.
Sydney FC on Thursday returned serve to Melbourne Victory’s capture of Kewell by luring fellow national team great Emerton away from the final year of his English Premier League contract with Blackburn.
The signings are set to further ignite the already bitter rivalry between the Sky Blues and Victory and while Sydney were reluctant to draw comparisons between the recruits on Thursday, the announcement sent fans into a social network frenzy.
“Who needs Harry Kewell, when you’ve got Brett Emerton!!” one fan wrote on Twitter, while another added: “I’ll see your Harry Kewell and raise you a Brett Emerton”.
Others described Emerton as the “best signing since Dwight Yorke” and offered welcome home messages to the Sydney-born midfielder.
While Emerton may lack the crowd-pulling potential of Kewell, former Sydney FC captain Mark Rudan was among those suggesting Emerton could offer better value as a marquee signing on the pitch, particularly given Kewell’s alarming history with injuries.
“If you have a look at the past and the injury tolls for both players you think that Brett might be more resilient on the park … but we don’t know until both players go out there and play,” Rudan said.
The signings offer Football Federation Australia an opportunity to kick off the new season with a bang, with Sydney and Melbourne scheduled to meet in a round one clash at Etihad Stadium on Saturday, October 8.
However both Emerton and Kewell’s likely involvement in the Socceroos’ World Cup qualifier against Oman in Sydney on October 11 could see the match pushed forward to Thursday, October 6 to ensure their availability.
FFA has not ruled out the date switch but must weigh up “complex” broadcasting and scheduling concerns and said it would not take any steps that could adversely affect Australia’s World Cup qualifying campaign.
But Sydney chief executive Dirk Melton hinted he thought it logical the changes take place, believing it would provide the ultimate beginning to the new season.
“To launch the season earlier than expected with both Brett and Harry playing for these respective teams is kind of like a Hollywood moment and I don’t think your best scriptwriter could have envisaged this was going to happen,” Melton said.
“One would imagine that it would come about.”