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Seven minutes of madness

Manton St Tales

Adelaide United’s weekend can be summarised in two seven-minute blocks. Spiro Karanikos-Mimis crunches the numbers.

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It’s not often that number patterns show up in my life, but lately it’s been happening quite a bit.

For example, I’ve frequently seen 11:11 on my alarm clock.

At first I thought nothing of it – merely a coincidence.

Then, Kobe Bryant died and teams in the NBA started taking 24-second violations to begin their matches as a mark of respect.

In the NBA, quarters go for 12 minutes – or 12:00. Subtract the violations (48 seconds), you’re left 11:12.

But (and this is where it gets interesting) it takes one second for the ball to reach a player after the tip-off and the shot clock doesn’t start until then.

So if you subtract 48 seconds from 11:59?

Yep: 11:11.

The Reds had a weekend where the number seven played a role.

Verbeek’s seven-minute presser on Friday was fascinating.

Speaking as his team prepared to fly to Queensland, Verbeek told of his frustration that George Blackwood did not go to the club on his day off to get treatment on his sore calf.

Blackwood was a late omission from the team named the previous day (which provided the opportunity for Mohamed Toure to play).

Verbeek said Blackwood needed to be more professional and it’s hard to disagree with the Dutchman’s logic.

He wasn’t furious. He spoke more like a disappointed father who caught his son smoking for the first time.

(Verbeek also made similar remarks about Ryan Strain post-match, after the young full-back had to come off at half-time with an injury. He was replaced by Ryan Kitto, who wears number seven. Just saying.)

You simply cannot berate a journo like that, in front of their colleagues, and expect things to improve.

Verbeek is refreshingly honest in his comments to the media and, as I’ve stated before, it’s the best TV going around.

As you all know by now, I’m a Verbeekophile. But it wasn’t his finest moment when later in that same presser he got stuck into the Fox Sports journalist.

Verbeek does have a right to be annoyed. A few weeks back he got criticised heavily for suggesting Adelaide United couldn’t win the A-League.

He understood the question differently – he thought he was being asked if Adelaide could win the league (i.e. the Premiership).

Of course, no-one other than Sydney is doing that.

He’s come from Europe where first past the post wins the league and the only Grand Final is in the cup competition.

Verbeek followed up his comment about Adelaide not winning the league with something like: “But in Australia, if you make finals, you can still win.”

That was left out by Fox (and other media outlets to be fair) and Verbeek has taken issue with the coverage.

But he’s got to move on. It’s the nature of the game.

In a previous life, I was a ministerial media adviser.

One day during Question Time in Parliament, my Minister was asked about a piece of government infrastructure that, allegedly, was not working properly (it was).

The Opposition asked him if it was a lemon.

My Minister replied: “It’s a lemon? It’s a lemon? If it’s a lemon, it’s the lemon you built.”

On the last point, he was right: the Opposition had built it when they were in government.

The media ran a story that night with my Minister saying the infrastructure was a lemon.

It wasn’t an accurate representation but they had the grab they wanted. [A tip to aspiring media advisers: always advise your talent to never repeat a question they’ve been asked.]

Adelaide coach Gertjan Verbeek during the loss to the Roar. Photo: AAP/Dan Peled

Verbeek’s attack on the journo from Fox Sports went too far. You simply cannot berate a journo like that, in front of their colleagues, and expect things to improve. The situation can only get worse.

It’s better handled off-camera, over a coffee, with a frank and honest chat.

Verbeek has experience working in the media and with the media.

His attack was premeditated (in a previous press conference, he asked a journo if he was from Fox Sports, so he’s been gunning for them for a while) but in Australia’s sports media market, you can’t afford to have anyone offside.

It’s different in Europe where soccer is king, and one annoyed journo probably doesn’t make any difference in the amount of coverage your club gets.

In Australia, and particularly Adelaide (especially with the AFLW now in full swing and the AFL not far away), it matters… a lot.

United’s second defining seven minutes came between the 67th minute and the 74th minute of the game against the Roar.

Adelaide fell asleep and allowed the Brisbane to score twice and that was enough to lose the match.

Sure, their second goal came from a phantom corner.

It clearly came off the Brisbane player and I’m not sure how the referee and assistant missed it.

But, as Verbeek said in his post-match presser, once the corner is given, you need to defend it.

And the Reds certainly did not do that.

It’s hard to get a grasp of where Adelaide is right now.

One week they look like they can beat anyone and the next week they struggle.

Over the next five rounds, they play teams that are, currently, below them in the table. We’ve reached crunch time.

If Adelaide wants a home final (finishing second, third or fourth), this is the time they need to put points on the board.

And that all begins on Friday night, when the Reds host Central Coast – a team they lost to earlier in the season.

Kick-off is at 7… just saying.

Spiro Karanikos-Mimis is InDaily’s soccer columnist.

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