Football 2 years ago

Merrick blasts A-League scheduling

  • Merrick blasts A-League scheduling

Wellington coach Ernie Merrick says whoever scheduled Saturday's A-League clash in Cairns for mid-afternoon must never have played football.

While not making excuses for his side's 2-1 loss to Brisbane at Cazaly's Stadium, Merrick said he had "no idea" why the match wasn't played two hours later given the unforgiving north Queensland heat and humidity.

Only 5162 fans showed for the first national league match held in Cairns - less than expected but undoubtedly due to the lack of shade at the oval-shaped ground where the temperature was an oppressive 33C and the humidity 60 per cent.

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A drinks break was held midway through the first half since the pre-match wet bulb globe temperature reading of 28 was on the threshold at which, according to FFA's heat policy, they should be introduced or a delayed kick-off considered.

"Of course, we weren't allowed a drinks break in the second half because it was a nanodegree below 28," Merrick said.

"Kick-off time is obviously decided by someone who's never played football in his life.

"(The Roar) adapted well, they play and train regularly in this type of heat in Brisbane. We knew it would come down to that.

"It's pretty tough on the lads."

There was no scope for the game to be delayed as there were two other A-League games set down for Saturday night.

Merrick said he was happy to see matches staged in places like Cairns but rued the lack of common sense in scheduling.

"It's great, I wish we played more regional games," he said.

"I think this is good for football in this country.

"The crowds that come in are terrific, the hospitality we've been shown is first class.

"I pat Brisbane Roar on the back for bringing this game up here - as I say, if it was a couple of hours later, we might have been able to hang on a bit longer."

Brisbane coach John Aloisi said the heat wasn't a "big factor" for his side and underlined the importance of bringing games to regional areas.

"We made a decision before the season that Brisbane Roar's the team of Queensland," he said.

"I don't know what (the crowd) were expecting but I think there's a lot of people that support the game and most turned up. They made a good noise."

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