A-League fans have three months to inform their better halves of their intentions for the opening round of fixtures, starting on Friday, October 5, with a mouth-watering clash between derby rivals, Melbourne Heart and Melbourne Victory, at Etihad Stadium.

Ange Postecoglou, the principal purveyor of pass and move, will be hoping that his Brisbane Roar success rubs off on his new players – starting by securing local bragging rights on John Aloisi’s competitive debut as manager.

A smart move by the fixture compiler also sees a repeat of the Grand Final, last year, between defending champions, Brisbane and Perth Glory.

Ian Ferguson will be hoping that his Western Australia-based players have recovered from a heart-breaking last-minute penalty defeat by the same Besart Berisha-inspired opponents, back in April.

Next up in round two is one for the diary – Roar will roll out the welcome mat for the return of back-to-back title-winning coach, Postecoglou, and the Victory.

The 10-team 2012-13 season – the A-League’s eighth – will feature the new Western Sydney outfit, and a new cut-throat finals six-team system at the end of an extended 26-week format regular season should guarantee fans extra excitement.

It means every finals game will be a knockout fixture, removing the double chance system of previous seasons, as per the wish of Football Federation Australia. The change will also mean a more refined live in-play betting system over the finals period.

Sydney FC will hope to send new kid on the block, Western Sydney, back home with their tails between their legs in week three, in the first derby between the two rivals.

Also stand-out is a Good Friday match in Newcastle, Australia Day clashes in Melbourne, Western Sydney, and Perth, and a New Year’s Eve showdown in Gosford and Adelaide

If the international game is more to your liking, place a bet on Socceroos on Bet365, and collect some expert picks, ahead of the World Cup 2014.

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