IT'S the halfway point of the 2012/13 A-League season, an ideal time to run the ruler over how each team is positioned for a run at the finals.
Central Coast Mariners
The Mariners can be pleased with their season so far.
The only thing missing in previous campaigns has been some flair and someone who can regularly score goals.
This season, however, in Tomas Rogic and Daniel McBreen, coach Graham Arnold may have found the X factors he was searching for.
Rogic has already shown how good he is, and he can get even better. McBreen has not had a better year, and if he keeps scoring, the Mariners are capable of taking the crown.
The Reds have been the form team all season and carried on from their good work in the Asian Champions League.
But after two consecutive losses, coach John Kosmina will be hoping the form slump does not go on too long.
Adelaide is definitely a top-two outfit and has plenty of depth, but too many more defeats will harm its chances.
They say cream always rises to the top and I don't think you can go past Ange Postecoglou and the Victory when it comes to potential grand final winners.
The only thing that would concern the Victory coach is the number of goals his team is conceding.
Postecoglou will be determined to prove he is still the man - I'm picking the Victory to be in the grand final if the coach gets the back four sorted.
Western Sydney Wanderers
The Wanderers have been the surprise packet of the season.
Tony Popovic has done a remarkable job in his first coaching role, and for his team to be sitting fourth at the halfway point of the season is testament to his coaching abilities.
But as it has done all season, the lack of goals will cost the new boys when it comes to the crunch.
The Wanderers can make the top six, but will need more goals.
Coach Ian Ferguson has arguably the strongest squad in the A-League, with some of the finest players at his disposal.
But until the Glory sorts out its away-game problems, it cannot win the grand final.
I think the Glory will make it to the top six, but the travelling just might take its toll again.
Shane Smeltz scoring some goals would also help.
Emile Heskey is the key to success or failure at Newcastle - on the pitch at least.
Fans will be hoping there are no more off-field dramas so the players can concentrate on moving the club back up to where it should be - in the top four.
The Jets should make the top six, but unless Heskey finds top gear then that's where it will end.
I suppose it was always going to happen that after two years of unprecedented success under Ange Postecoglou, the Roar would struggle under a new coach.
But there has been something missing this time round and it isn't just the fact that Postecoglou has gone.
The Roar should make the top six, but further than that I am not sure.
With Paul Ifill injured the Phoenix might continue to struggle.
Down the years in the A-League, Wellington has relied on home form to get them through, but this season even fortress Westpac Stadium has not provided the solace for the Kiwis.
The only shining light in an otherwise dim season has been the goalscoring form of Jeremy Brockie.
John Aloisi has not done a bad job in his first A-League coaching role, but don't expect his team to be featuring in finals football this season.
Aloisi''s team has been inconsistent for most of the campaign and too many times has drawn games it perhaps should have won.
They say form is temporary and class is permanent, but sadly for Sky Blues fans, their "temporary" form slump has lasted for most of the season.
Alessandro Del Piero's arrival I think has had a detrimental effect on the team. Sydney is capable of making the top six, though I wouldn't hold my breath.
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