Round 23 A-League snapshot

Steve Larkin

A LOOK AT ROUND 23 OF THE A-LEAGUE:

THEY SAID IT: "We didn't want to capitulate and not play out." Wellington general manager David Dome commits the New Zealanders to being based in Australia to finish the season.

MAN OF THE ROUND: Scott McDonald. The Brisbane striker's purple patch continues, scoring the winner in a 1-0 triumph against Central Coast. McDonald's third goal in two games lifts the Roar to fourth - a stunning resurgence from a club who won twice in their initial nine games.

BEAT THAT: Western Sydney youngster Tate Russell scored his first A-League goal in scintillating fashion. Mitch Duke found Russell with an incredible cross-field ball and, after a clever 1-2 with Nicolai Muller, the 20-year-old powered home a near-post finish.

STAT ATTACK: 15. The number of goals Adelaide United have conceded in four-consecutive losses which have the Reds described as pretenders after being rated early by some as contenders.

TALKING POINT: Just a dozen points separate second spot on the ladder from eighth. Sydney (47 points) hold a 10-point break atop the table, but a cluster of teams is jostling for finals positions - Melbourne City (37), Wellington (36), Brisbane (32), Perth (31), Western United (27), Adelaide United (27) and Western Sydney (25).

UNDER PRESSURE: A-League hierarchy. They must take action on coronavirus. But in what form? Suspend the season? Play games in empty stadiums? Embed the Phoenix in Sydney for the next six weeks and reschedule fixtures for the New Zealanders? So many questions. As yet, so few answers from league bosses.

WHAT'S NEXT?: It all depends on what Football Federation Australia decides. Sydney FC's home game against the Phoenix, scheduled for Wednesday night, can't go ahead, neither can Wellington's away game next Sunday in Newcastle. The only certainty is Perth's home encounter against Western United on Saturday night will be a finals-shaper.