A-League: Five things we learned from round seven

The A-League season has claimed its first casualty, proving even title-winning coaches are fair game if they can't back up. Cronan Yu takes us through the five things we learned from a drama-packed round seven. 

1. Victory loss the last straw for Mulvey

Football is a tough sport. Just six games into the Brisbane Roar's new A-League season and title-winning coach Mike Mulvey finds himself unemployed – his reputation diminished. 

Against Melbourne Victory, Brisbane Roar looked a shadow of their best. Their lack of possession was a worry, but even more so the number of free kicks conceded in their own half. A Jade North own-goal didn't help the visitor's cause. 

The summer departures of Besart Berisha and Ivan Franjic were always going to be detrimental for the champions. Recent reports suggest that player unrest and losing control over his dressing room ultimately led to the departure of Mulvey. 

The jury is still out on whether Mulvey's sacking was justified. Now though, it seems, expectations of a title defence are no longer realistic and the Roar have a long way to go before reaching the summit of Australian football again.

2. Nix away slump continues

Ernie Merrick desperately needs to address Wellington Phoenix's poor away form. From their previous eight away fixtures, the Nix have won just one and conceded 24 goals. 

The Phoenix have a side which is capable of challenging the best and they have shown snippets of their potential. They'll need to improve their fortunes across the Tasman, however, if they are to cement a finals berth.

Ironically, their most recent away loss was to Perth Glory, a side which struggled for any sort of away form last season, but now find themselves as league leaders. 

Kenny Lowe's men continue to win with their uncompromisingly unsophisticated style of play, which, so far, has reaped the rewards. 

Their upcoming fixtures will truly test their mettle though. The Glory will face Brisbane Roar away before taking on Sydney FC away as well. 

Is it too early to call them title contenders? Who knows. What is for sure though is that their recent success has been a joy to watch, and the emergence of a 'dark horse' will undoubtedly do the league a wealth of good.

3. Janko shows his true colours

Some claim that the A-League for marquees is nothing more than just a pre-retirement stint to lengthen their career. For Marc Janko, though, the league is another opportunity to add more accolades to his already decorated CV. 

Despite international duty, news emerged that the 31-year-old left the Austrian camp as they were preparing to face Brazil in order to return to Sydney FC fresh and 'in good shape'.

His match-winning brace on the weekend only further enhances his reputation as a selfless player ready to put his club before country. 

And while the Austrian international struggled early on, Janko has now arguably hit his stride and a big season awaits. 

4. Wanderers' poor form inexcusable

The Western Sydney Wanderers are accustomed to making headlines around the nation. Now though, they find themselves on the front page of sport dailies for all the wrong reasons.

The Asian Champions are currently sitting in last place on two points after six matches. And with one game in hand, are 16 points adrift from league leaders Perth Glory and four points off top six. 

Their most recent draw against Newcastle Jets is inexcusable. Despite a lively start to the game where the Wanderer's front three looked the goods, last season’s runners-up were happy to sit back and defend rather than take a proactive approach. 

Gaps in defence were duly exploited by the Jets quartet of Jeronimo Neumann, Edson Montano, David Carney and Marcos Flores who perhaps should've scored more than their solitary goal. 

With Wanderers coach Tony Popovic playing what looks to be the core of his starting XI, it seems this could be the wake-up season for the Red and Black. 

There were positive signs however – Nikita Rukavytsya and Romeo Castelen both looked dangerous when given the ball and Vitor Saba finally looks like finding some sort of form. Regardless, they'll desperately need a win in Saturday’s Sydney derby to revive their finals hopes. 

5. Reds strike when needed most

For the first 45 minutes Adelaide United were all over the Central Coast Mariners. Yet, despite their dominance, you felt as though the Mariners might just be able to hang on and perhaps force the issue in the second half.

That was not the case, however, as a quick fire Pablo Sanchez double within the space of two minutes effectively sealed the win for Gombau's men before half time. 

For the Mariners, it was match which showed their deficiencies as a side. Their lack of conviction in attack, and uncharacteristic defensive lapses, ultimately cost the Gosford outfit the game. 

The Reds, though, march on. However, they face a tough fixture against third-placed Melbourne Victory next week.