The Hyundai A-League is set to ignite in season eight and there will be plenty of the usual action to keep us on the edge of our seats: local derbies, distance derbies, controversial decisions, but we reckon there might be a few personal and deeply passionate rivalries that are set to catch fire...
Perth Glory v Besart Berisha
No player in the Hyundai A-League polarises the fan base more than Besart Berisha, but when it comes to his relationship with the Glory, well.... Let’s just say a trip to Perth is about as welcoming as a trip to the Octagon with long-time UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva; you know you’re going to be in for a night of pain.
There might not be blood but there is plenty of it that is still boiling in the great state of WA.
Make no mistake, Glory fans are still peeved about the way the 2012 grand final ended and the two men who are firmly in their view are Jarred Gillett and Besart Berisha.
Personally this journalist has watched the replay of that penalty more times than I care to remember and can honestly say there was contact, but it was absolutely minimal, and Berisha probably made more of it than what there was.
Still, Jarred Gillett made a decision and like it or not that’s what he is paid to do.
As for Brisbane’s Albanian import, expect him to be public enemy No.1 in Perth come round one, especially after he proclaimed that it was definitely a penalty.
Not that being unpopular is anything new for Berisha; adored in Brisbane, he’s not exactly revered by opposition fans.
As for the other man involved in that decision, Liam Miller has stayed schtum about the decision and his part in it, but he will want to play his role come the return bout.
And as much as Perth fans will be baying for Berisha’s blood, Roar skipper Matt Smith won’t be captain popular either after smashing Shane Smeltz’s nose across his face in the opening stages of the Grand Final, something that on another night might have seen a red card descend in front of his face.
The reaction of Perth’s fans and owner, Tony Sage post match was one of anger, and you can bet that has been simmering throughout the winter waiting to spill over in round one at Patersons Stadium for a match that will give Perth the opportunity at the revenge they feel they deserve.