THEY SAID IT: "I think it's a big injury." - Melbourne City coach Erick Mombaerts doesn't play down the nature of a knee ailment that threatens to cut short the A-League experience of Celtic loanee defender Jack Hendry.
MAN OF THE ROUND: Ben Halloran landed a second career brace for Adelaide United in their impressive 3-1 defeat of Melbourne City which cements the resurgent Reds firmly in fifth. The speedy winger showcased his skill, with a first-time strike for his first goal and a sweet header for the second.
BEAT THAT: Just a week after securing the Olyroos a spot in the 2020 Olympics with a brilliant solo effort, Perth Glory striker Nicholas D'Agostino rose high to head home a 90th-minute equaliser against Melbourne Victory.
STAT ATTACK: Newcastle registered 27 shots to four against Western United yet somehow finished with a scoreless draw. It sums up the recent fortunes of the last-placed Jets, who pumped 28 shots in a loss to Wellington the week before. Roy O'Donovan is poised to re-join them from Brisbane while Wes Hoolahan is nearly fit again in a double boost for their strike force.
TALKING POINT: Is the race for the Premier's Plate over? Sydney FC are unbeaten in 12 games, have got maximum points from their last five and sit 13 points clear after hiccups for Melbourne City and Perth. Even when below their best, Steve Corica's men are winning. The latest evidence was Adam Le Fondre's cool conversion of a contentious penalty to see off in-form Brisbane.
INJURIES: Chris Ikonomidis (Glory, knee). Robbie Kruse (Victory, hamstring tightness, didn't play). Diego Castro (Glory, soreness, didn't play). Jack Hendry (City, knee).
UNDER PRESSURE: Harrison Delbridge's latest red card has the Melbourne City defender sitting on the verge of an unwanted record. His third dismissal of the season leaves him sitting level with three other players for the most in one A-League campaign. Mombaerts added to the pressure by saying Delbridge lacks mental control.
WHAT'S NEXT?: Round 18 kicks off with the first of three derby matches. City and Victory come together in search of their first win for three weeks. Later on Friday, Perth host Wellington at the start of a tough stretch of games for the Kiwi club. Sydney FC will be favoured to extend their brilliant run when at home to Western Sydney before Brisbane host in-form Adelaide. Newcastle and Central Coast meet in Sunday's bottom-of-the-table encounter. Western United have the bye.