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Tottenham's Thomas Glover is on loan to the A-League Mariners

How will your A-League side fare in 2017/18?

​A-League 2017/18: Full season preview and the chances of your team lifting the trophy

While all eyes are nervously watching the Socceroos fight to qualify for the World Cup, Aussie football fans can now take a breather to enjoy some domestic action with the A-League season kicking off tonight.

We run the rule over the contenders, and the pretenders.

Adelaide United

Karim Matmour has signed for Adelaide in the A-League

​After surging to the semi-finals of the FFA Cup, there is some anticipation that Adelaide can rise up the ladder after crashing to ninth last season.

Algerian Karim Matmour has been recruited from 1860 Munich and much of their fortunes will rest on his shoulders. In fact, there are a host of Germans bought in to resurrect the Reds under Marco Kurz and Turkish centre-half Ersan Gulum has been recruited to shore up the defence.

An unknown quantity, but they can't do much worse than last seasons A-League result.

Brisbane Roar

Massimo Maccarone has signed for the A-League Brisbane Roar

​It is a bit of a changing of the guard for the perennial finalists, with Thomas Broich the biggest name of nine players no longer at the club.

Jamie Maclaren, Brandon Borrello and Tommy Oar are also gone and there are big question marks on how ​this A-League club can replace such quality. 

Massimo Maccarone may be 38, but he was scoring goals in Italy's Serie A last season.

If he can stay fit, he will be the focal point of attack. But the player turnover may hurt the Roar this time around.

Central Coast Mariners

Tottenham's Thomas Glover is on loan to the A-League Mariners

Tottenham's Thomas Glover is on loan to the Mariners

​Youth will be the main ingredient as the Mariners try to claw their way back up the ladder from last season's eighth placed finish.

Tottenham goalkeeper Thomas Glover is on-loan to the club and could stop vital goals from being leaked, while a host of young Aussies and imports with promising credentials will join the fray.

Unpredictable, but should provide plenty of enthusiasm.

Melbourne City

Bruno Fornaroli is injured for A-League Melbourne City

​A lack of consistency plagued Melbourne City last season and even though the club finished in the A-League top four, they were bounced straight out of the finals by Perth. 

Striker Bruno Fornaroli is missing until December through injury as well, making life tough. Scottish striker Ross McCormack has been recruited in his absence, and the former Aston Villa goalsneak could turn out to be the best signing the club has made in recent years.

Time will tell.

Melbourne Victory

Besart Berisha is the key for the A-League Victory

​Heartache will trail the Melbourne Victory into this campaign after falling to Sydney FC on penalties in last season's A-League decider. How do they respond? 

It could be argued they got closer than they should have, with Sydney the standout throughout the whole last season. Besart Berisha remains the linchpin and keeping James Troisi out of the hands of crosstown rivals Melbourne City is a good early result as well.

They will need to improve, but have the tools to go all the way.

Newcastle Jets

Nikolai Topor-Stanley returns to  the A-League with Newcastle

The battlers of the ​A-League have some genuine cause for optimism this time around. Coach Ernie Merrick brings the brains this young roster needs, and he has brought in veterans like 'keeper Glen Moss, former UEFA Champions League fullback Daniel Georgievski and returning stalwart Nikolai Topor-Stanley to provide balance.

Marquee signing Ronald Vargas will add the glamour.

Let's not talk titles, but a considerable push up the ladder is not beyond the Newcastle Jets.

Perth Glory

Diego Castro will be Perth's main A-League attacking force again

Frustrated fans want to see more than just OK performances from the Perth Glory, like last A-League season's semi-final elimination at the hands of eventual champions Sydney. 

They know how to find the back of the net, but tightening defence will be critical to be a genuine threat. Diego Castro will score goals and the midfield has been beefed up with Xavi Torres, Andreu Guerao and Mitch Nichols.

If they can tighten the defensive structures, they can be a real chance.

Sydney FC

Sydney FC celebrate their A-League Grand final win

​While the 2016 A-League decider was closer than they would have liked, the fact was that Sydney FC was the standout performer of season 2016/17. 

The defending premiers and champions will most likely to be the team to beat this time around as well. Polish international Adrian Mierzejewski replaces Filip Holosko, leaving Danny Vukovic as the only considerable out from last season.

More of the same from Sydney, which will likely net them more A-League trophies.

Wellington Phoenix

Kosta Barbarouses has left Wellington

There were high expectations on the New Zealand-based club last season but they could not convert promise into results, missing the finals completely.

A player drain won't help the Wellington Phoenix cause to arrest three straight A-League seasons without a finals appearance, with Shane Smeltz and last season's player-of-the-year Kosta Barbarouses headling a lengthy departure list.

Another frustrating season of rebuilding looms.

Western Sydney Wanderers

A-League coach Tony Popovic of the Wanderers.

Tony Popovic of the Wanderers. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

​You're not off to a great start when your coach nicks off just days before the season starts. ​The Western Sydney Wanderers will persevere without departed Tony Popovic. 

Oriol Riera is the striker charged with leading them to glory. He has come through the ranks at Barcelona, roomed with Lionel Messi and scored against Real Madrid. Best of all, he doesn't have to worry about the history of strikers butting heads with Popovic. Michael Thwaite, Josh Risdon and Raul Llorente should steel the defensive line.

With a fresh outlook from the coach's chair and some real talent recruited, the A-League Wanderers should be there when the whips are cracking.

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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