Fox Sports Football presenter Tara Rushton is predicting the most open Hyundai A-League finals series in years as we head into the final third of the season.
Just five points separates the top four sides in the competition with 10 matches remaining meaning there’s plenty to play for as we approach the business end of the campaign.
As one of the faces of Fox Sports’ Hyundai A-League coverage, Logie nominated Rushton is well-credentialed to give her thoughts on just how things are likely to pan out.
A proud Perth girl, the 30-year-old has been super-impressed with league-leaders Glory and believes Kenny Lowe’s side can maintain their current form all the way to the end.
But in a season that “hasn’t been short on drama” Rushton isn’t ruling anything out in what promises to be a thrilling climax to the competition.
“I’m not biased, people will say I’m biased but if you have a look at Perth Glory, the way they are going they have just so much character in their team,” Rushton told www.a-league.com.au at today's Westfield FFA Cup launch in Sydney.
“Another team to watch I think is obviously Melbourne Victory. Their front three they have so much star power, firepower.
“After 17 rounds they’ve scored the most goals of any team up to this point in a season for any of the 10 seasons of the A-League so they are going to be very hard to beat.
“Around the [Fox Sports] office the talk is maybe we’ll have a final in Victoria. But it’s so close…there’s Adelaide as well and Brisbane are on a bit of a trot at moment.
“It’s been a really interesting competition and really close…what an exciting finish we’ve got coming up.”
Rushton, who has been nominated for a Logie for her work as part of Fox Sports’ Football coverage, says she has been impressed in the growth of the Hyundai A-League since beginning her role at the start of last season.
“And it’s only going to get better. If you compare it to the other sports and codes in Australia it’s still a young league,” she said.
“With that it gives it somewhere to go. The A-League with what happened in the Asian Cup, you can see the excitement that the Australian community has got and the boost for football in this country.
“There’s more people playing football, more people are interested in football and it’s going to go from strength to strength every season.
“It adds to the magic of what it is when you see season-on-season a bit of an upside down table which creates drama and a story line which is what we love.”
Asked the players she loves to watch and get her up off her seat, Rushton couldn’t settle for just one.
“There’s Marcelo Carrusca…I think he’s a phenomenal player. Andy Keogh has done wonders for Perth this season as well,” she said.
“Nathan Burns has been amazing and it was great to see him get a call up to the Socceroos.
“I can’t go past Gui Finkler and Kosta Barbarouses have been in fantastic form and it’s great to see when marquees that come across like Marc Janko as well and he’s starting to bang in the goals.“It just adds to the excitement and I think we’re pretty lucky to see these types of players.”