Sport Football Everything you need to know about the 2016-17 A-League season
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Everything you need to know about the 2016-17 A-League season

a-league preview
The 10 A-League captains pose with the star of their promotional campaign. Photo: Getty
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The return of Tim Cahill and Brett Holman to our shores will provide an “immense” boost to the A-League this season, former Australia captain Craig Foster believes.

Australia’s record goalscorer Cahill will front up for Melbourne City while Holman has added weight to Brisbane Roar’s bid for a fourth title in seven years.

“Tim’s impact will be immense. He provides a marketing strength that football has lacked since Alessandro del Piero,” SBS analyst Foster told The New Daily.

Foster, who thinks Sydney FC are well-placed to break their title drought, said Cahill and Holman coming back had generated “tremendous excitement” among football fans.

And it is a view shared by Melbourne Victory legend and ex-Socceroos striker Archie Thompson.

“I think the A-League has kind of plateaued in the last couple of years,” he told The New Daily.

“But we’re all excited by Timmy and Holman. I think Brett is definitely one to watch.”

See Craig Foster and Archie Thompson’s predictions on every A-League team below:

adelaide-united-dinks
Manager: Guillermo Amor
Captain: Eugene Galekovic
Last season: First (won grand final)
Key ins: James Holland, Sergi Guardiola, Henrique
Key outs: Bruce Djite, Craig Goodwin, Bruce Kamau
Archie Thompson says: “If you win the title, the year after is always the toughest. Everyone wants your scalp. It’s tough to back it up but we know they’ll play attractive football.”

brisbane-roar-dinks

Manager: John Aloisi
Captain: Matt McKay
Last season: Third (lost in semi-final)
Key ins: Brett Holman, Manuel Arana, Thomas Kristensen
Key outs: Corona, Henrique, Steven Lustica
Archie Thompson says: “From what I’ve heard, they are very confident of a big season. They are always a team to be wary of. I think Holman will be amazing for them.”

central-coast-dinks

Manager: Paul Okon
Captain: Nick Montgomery
Last season: 10th
Key ins: Mickael Tavares, Jacques Faty, Blake Powell
Key outs: Luis Garcia, Mitchell Austin, Joshua Rose
Craig Foster says: “The upheaval there means a top-six finish would be a significant achievement. I think Connor Pain is a very good signing and with Faty and Tavares, there’s potential there.”

melbourne-city-dinks

Manager: John van ’t Schip
Captain: Bruno Fornaroli
Last season: Fourth (lost in semi-final)
Key ins: Tim Cahill, Neil Kilkenny, Luke Brattan
Key outs: Aaron Mooy, Harry Novillo, Patrick Kisnorbo
Archie Thompson says: “Timmy is a superstar and hopefully he’ll bring in new fans for the game. Luke Brattan is a great passer, too. If they get their defence right, they are dangerous.”

melbourne-victory-dinks

Manager: Kevin Muscat
Captain: Carl Valeri
Last season: Sixth (lost in elimination final)
Key ins: James Troisi, Marco Rojas, Alan Baro
Key outs: Archie Thompson, Matthieu Delpierre, Kosta Barbarouses
Archie Thompson says: “They’ve had such a big overhaul in players. Rojas and Troisi bring firepower but Delpierre is a big loss at the back. I would have loved to see them sign Michael Essien. But they’ll be close to the mark.”

newcastle-jets-dinks

Manager: Mark Jones
Captain: Nigel Boogaard
Last season: Eighth
Key ins: Wayne Brown, Devante Clut, Aleksandr Kokko
Key outs: Mark Birighitti, Leonardo, Cameron Watson
Craig Foster says: “They’ve done very well to get Devante Clut and Andrew Hoole is a good signing, too. But the new coach has just had a number of weeks to get settled. Uncertainty has hurt them.”

perth-glory-dinks

Manager: Kenny Lowe
Captain: Rostyn Griffiths
Last season: Fifth (lost in elimination final)
Key ins: Rostyn Griffiths, Rhys Williams, Liam Reddy
Key outs: Ante Covic, Gyorgy Sandor, Ruben Zadkovich
Craig Foster says: “Rostyn Griffiths is a huge signing and was brilliant before he left. Rhys Williams brings a lot of European experience. Perth will be hugely competitive again and, as always, a pain to play against.”

sydney-dinks
Manager: Graham Arnold
Captain: Alex Brosque
Last season: Seventh
Key ins: Bobo, Bernie Ibini, Alex Wilkinson
Key outs: Shane Smeltz, Mickael Tavares, Ali Abbas
Craig Foster says: “I get the feeling they’ve arguably recruited better than everyone. Ibini is a terrific signing. They will be very hungry for success and Graham Arnold’s sides are always highly competitive.”

wellington-phoenix-dinks

Manager: Ernie Merrick
Captain: Andrew Durante
Last season: Ninth
Key ins: Kosta Barbarouses, Gui Finkler, Marco Rossi
Key outs: Manny Muscat, Ben Sigmund, Albert Riera
Archie Thompson says: “At Victory, Finkler and Barbarouses played roles in a structure. Ernie Merrick will give them free rein and it could be really exciting. Expect really attacking football.”

western-sydney-dinks

Manager: Tony Popovic
Captain: Nikolai Topor-Stanley
Last season: Second (lost grand final)
Key ins: Kerem Bulut, Jumpei Kusukami, Steven Lustica
Key outs: Dario Vidosic, Mark Bridge, Andreu
Craig Foster says: “Maybe this is Tony Popovic’s toughest challenge yet. They’ve lost some experienced players – potentially the ones who drive standards at training. I was a huge fan of Andreu, who was an excellent player. Lustica is a very good signing, though.”

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