A-League Dictionary

An attempt at explaining some of the terminology present in the A-League. Suggestions for clarification and additional entries are always welcome.

Big Blue – Nickname in Sydney (but mostly in the press) for the Sydney FC-Melbourne Victory derby. Historically one of the best rivalries in the A-League, both in terms of spirit among supporters and top play on the pitch.

Codes – Different forms of football, including soccer (or association football), Australian rules, rugby league and rugby union.

F3 Derby – Rivalry between Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets, named for the motorway between Gosford and Newcastle.

Finals Football – The A-League’s term for playoffs. The structure takes the top six clubs and features three rounds. The top two sides play a two-legged semi-final with the winner advancing directly the Grand Final. One-legged ties between third and sixth place and fourth and fifth place sides produce winners who play each other for the right to play in the Preliminary Final against the loser of the aforementioned two-legged semi-final. The winner of the Preliminary Final then plays in the Grand Final.

Johnny Warren Medal – Footballer of the Year award as decided by A-League players. Votes are tallied after Rounds 7, 14 and 21 with players unable to vote for teammates. Johnny Warren was an Australian football player, manager, broadcaster and advocate who died in 2004.

Junior Marquee Player (see Marquee Player) – Designation for U23 players that allows a club to pay up to A$150,000 outside of the salary cap. With a requirement of three U20 players in each side, the Youth Marquee system, in place since 2008/09, allows some of the top youngsters in Australia and New Zealand to earn a nice pay check and develop through the A-League system, rather than leaving for big money elsewhere.

Ladder – A-League term for table or standings. Lends itself to easy descriptions involving climbing or falling.

M1 Derby – Rivalry between Brisbane Roar and Gold Coast United, named for the motorway that connects the two cities.

Marquee Player – The Designated Player of the A-League. Since 2010/11, each club is allowed to have two Marquee Players without salary constraints, provided one is a native Australian. Though not quite the ‘Beckham Rule’ of MLS, the Australian Marquee designation could easily be referred to as the Kewell Rule or Emerton Proviso. As in MLS, not every club has a Marquee Player, while the biggest clubs have the maximum allowed.

NSL – Short for National Soccer League, the league that predated the current A-League. In operation from 1977-2004, the NSL featured 42 different teams and eleven champions. Sydney City, Marconi Stallions and South Melbourne FC each won a record four titles while Perth Glory, winners of the last two NSL grand finals, are the only NSL champion to play in the A-League.

Pissants – After losing 4-0 in the second leg of their 2009 semi-final to Melbourne Victory, Adelaide United manager Aurelio Vidmar launched an attack on everyone at the club in his post-match press conference. Among other things, Vidmar referred to Adelaide itself as a “pissant town,” and the name has stuck ever since.

Premiers – Winners of the regular season title in the A-League. The winner is awarded the Premier’s Plate.

Recruits – Another way of saying new signings.

Ring of Fire – Nickname for Wellington’s Westpac Stadium, at least among Phoenix supporters.

Tards – Nickname given to Melbourne Victory by supporters of Adelaide United and Sydney FC. Perhaps not adopted by Victory supporters in the same way Pissants has by Adelaide. Can be a derogatory term or can refer back to the delays in completing their original roster ahead of the inaugural A-League (short for tardy).

Toilet Seat – Nickname for the A-League’s Grand Final trophy. No further explanation needed.

Up Like a Spawning Salmon – Hilarious description by Andy Harper of a Travid Dodd header in the 2008 Asian Champions League semifinals against Uzbek side Bunyodkor.

Visa Spots – Refers to players who are granted work visas to play in the A-League. These foreign players are limited to five per club with exceptions for foreign players who have become Australia or New Zealand citizens or are on Guest Player terms, which are limited to ten games.

A-League Grounds:
Adelaide United – Hindmarsh Stadium – 16,500
Brisbane Roar – Suncorp Stadium (Lang Park) – 52,500
Central Coast Mariners – Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium (Grahame Park) – 20,119
Gold Coast United – Skilled Park (Robina Stadium) – 27,400
Melbourne Heart – AAMI Park (Melbourne Rectangular Stadium) – 30,050
Melbourne Victory – AAMI Park (Melbourne Rectangular Stadium) / Etihad Stadium (Docklands Stadium) – 30,500 / 55,000
Newcastle Jets – Ausgrid Stadium (Newcastle International Sports Centre) – 33,000
Perth Glory – nib Stadium (Perth Oval) – 20,500
Sydney FC – Sydney Football Stadium – 45,500
Wellington Phoenix – Westpac Stadium – 36,000

Club Nicknames:
Adelaide United – Reds
Brisbane Roar – The Roar
Central Coast Mariners – Mariners
Gold Coast United – None
Melbourne Heart – Heart
Melbourne Victory – Victory/Blues
Newcastle Jets – Jets
Perth Glory – Glory
Sydney FC – Sky Blues
Wellington Phoenix – The Nix

Supporters Groups:
Adelaide United – Red Army (aka Pissants – see above)
Brisbane Roar – The Den / Northern Element
Central Coast Mariners – Yellow Army
Gold Coast United – The Beach
Melbourne Heart – Yarraside
Melbourne Victory – Blue and White Brigrade / Southern Death Crew
Newcastle Jets – The Squadron
Perth Glory – The Shed
Sydney FC – The Cove
Wellington Phoenix – Yellow Fever

5 thoughts on “A-League Dictionary

  1. I think ‘Toilet Seat’ needs to be added as it is what we call the championship trophy. (Well, at least me and a few on YF..)

  2. Westpac Stadium was only called Wellington Regional Stadium for the Rugby World Cup, among the Yellow Fever it is affectionately known as the Ring of Fire.

  3. Tards is not self explanatory at all, it came from the word Tardiness, due to Victory being the very last team to pursue and finalise their original squad.

  4. Neil says:

    Brisbane Roar’s official supporters are from ‘The Den’, Northern Element is a small sub section of the roar fans. most NE members have been there since the early seasons and are erratic with how often they turn up, usually only if the team is losing.

    The Roar supporters as a whole are known as The Den

  5. mao says:

    Thanks, Neil. You’ll see it corrected now.

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