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Oct 20, 2013

Roar looking like early title contenders

Just two rounds in and Brisbane have already emerged as A-League title favourites with defending champions Central Coast and reigning premiers Western Sydney yet to post a win.

The Roar thumped Sydney FC 4-0 on Saturday to back up their 2-1 win over Wellington in the opening round and leave them at the top of the table as the only side to have registered two victories at this early stage.

For Sydney however, the frustration continues.

After opening with a promising 2-0 win over the Jets, Sydney suffered their eighth straight loss at Suncorp Stadium and showed coach Frank Farina he has a massive task to turn them into worthy play-off contenders.

Perhaps an even bigger blow than the scoreline was the loss of inspirational skipper Alessandro Del Piero, who limped off the pitch after 30 minutes with a calf injury.

And while likely to be without the Italian maestro for next week's highly-anticipated derby against Western Sydney, Farina has threatened to wield the axe.

"I'll do everything I can to make sure this club is successful and if people aren't pulling their weight I'll change," he warned.

Marcos Flores has already proved a great signing for the Mariners with his two penalties salvaging his side a 2-2 draw away to Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Saturday.

A David Williams brace in the second half looked set to secure the Heart a win, but two penalties in the space of four minutes allowed Graham Arnold's side to claim a point.

Having opened with a stalemate in the grand final rematch against the Mariners, the Wanderers were held to another draw on Sunday, this time 1-1 by last season's wooden spooners, the unfancied Wellington.

The Wanderers came bursting out of the blocks in their fist home game this season at Pirtek Stadium, but key substitutions by great tactician Ernie Merrick proved a game-changer with the Phoenix producing a blistering second half to level the score.

Coach Tony Popovic however took some heart from some promising play by his team.

"The first 25 minutes or so was excellent. Some of the combination play in the front third was outstanding," he said.

"You see that and you know it's there; you know they can do it.

"So it's not all doom and gloom."

The draw meant that Wellington became the last side to get off the mark and register a point for the season.

Fellow first-round losers Perth Glory and Newcastle also opened their accounts after a 0-0 result at Hunter Stadium in Sunday's earlier game.

Meanwhile Melbourne Victory came back to steal a 2-2 away draw against arch rivals Adelaide United in Friday night's A-League grudge match.

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