There may be no stopping the A-League's biggest clubs once more this season, but 2018-19 shapes as bringing several intriguing storylines across the competition.
Sydney FC – last season's premiers – and champions Melbourne Victory are again the favourites to claim trophies this campaign.
But there will be hope the rest can at least close the gap to the Sky Blues, who finished 14 points clear in the regular season in 2017-18.
While Victory and Sydney have added star power, Tony Popovic has arrived in Perth, Markus Babbel in western Sydney and the Central Coast Mariners have made plenty of waves in the pre-season thanks to Usain Bolt.
With Melbourne City eyeing a maiden A-League trophy and last season's grand finalists the Newcastle Jets settled, the 2018-19 A-League campaign brings plenty of potential.
Will Sydney and Victory continue their dominance?
Of the last eight A-League premierships and championships, six have been won by either Sydney or Victory. The Sky Blues are back-to-back premiers – along with a 2017 Grand Final win – and Victory have won two of the past four championships, to go with the 2014-15 premiership. However, there have been changes at both clubs, the most notable being Graham Arnold's departure from Sydney to take charge of Australia. But Siem de Jong has arrived on loan from Ajax and Adam le Fondre has also signed, the duo brought in to replace Adrian Mierzejewski and Bobo. Victory are much-changed, with the likes of Japan great Keisuke Honda and former Sweden international Ola Toivonen big-name arrivals as they look to fill the gaps left by the likes of Leroy George and Besart Berisha.
Can Melbourne City finally break through?
City Football Group's Melbourne club are still looking for a first A-League trophy. Under Warren Joyce, City finished third last season before bowing out in the Semi-Finals. With star forward Bruno Fornaroli back fit, City shape as again being contenders this season. Ritchie De Laet and Riley McGree have joined on loan from Aston Villa and Club Brugge respectively, while the signings of Mark Birighitti and Rostyn Griffiths may prove even bigger. Small moments are again set to be decisive and it will be a question of whether City can deliver when it matters most.
Will Popovic deliver long-awaited glory in Perth?
Perth Glory are two-time Australian champions, but the last of those successes came in 2004 – the final season of the National Soccer League (NSL). In the A-League era, Glory have been unable to produce, including finishing a disappointing eighth last season. But, there is once more fresh hope in Perth, the arrival of 2014 AFC Champions League-winning coach Popovic boosting Glory. Former Socceroos defenders Matthew Spiranovic, Jason Davidson and Ivan Franjic should give Popovic a platform to build from. At Popovic's former club, the Western Sydney Wanderers, former Germany, Liverpool and Bayern Munich defender Babbel has taken charge.
Can settled, quiet Jets go one step further?
Ernie Merrick's Newcastle surprised last season before falling just short in a Grand Final loss to Victory. As others have either been forced into or simply made changes, the Jets are largely settled. McGree has left, but they have added Brazilian Jair and former Mariners and Victory winger Mitch Austin. Central Coast have been the noisy rivals this off-season, but the Jets may be the ones shouting at the end of the campaign. Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar have also avoided drastic changes in the off-season.
"Last year we were one of the most creative and entertaining teams to watch, and we'll be doing our best to replicate that." – Dimi Petratos is ready for another big year in the #WhereHeroesAreMade pic.twitter.com/DylvgiQXJz— NEWCASTLE JETS FC (@NewcastleJetsFC) October 10, 2018
Will Mariners and Phoenix close the gap?
Central Coast and Wellington Phoenix finished well back in 2017-18 – the Mariners missing the top six by 15 points. Now under Mike Mulvey, the Mariners have drawn attention through Olympic great Bolt, but signings like Ross McCormack – who scored 14 goals in 17 A-League games while on loan at Melbourne City last season – and Tommy Oar at least give fans in Gosford hope. The Phoenix, with Mark Rudan in charge, have added former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor to their squad as they too eye improvement.
|Warriors drop Hawks as Green serves suspension|
|In-form Healy sends Australia into semis|
|Former NBA star McGrady says Carmelo Anthony should retire|
|Celtics´ Smart: We have to look at ourselves in the mirror|
|Federer plays down preferential treatment talk|
|Mourinho is better than Guardiola – Maradona|
|Mbappe plays down Pele comparisons|
|Don´t worry bro – Mendy responds to Trump|
|Melvin, Snitker win manager of the year awards|
|Warriors´ Green suspended for Hawks clash|
|Asensio: It´s not for me to lead Madrid|
|Rooney ready to enjoy England farewell after pressure of ´Golden Generation´|
|Ludwigsburg stun high-flying Murcia in BCL|
|Rams v Chiefs moved to LA due to Mexico City field conditions|
|Skriniar discussing new Inter contract, confirms agent|
|Former Barcelona boss Martino named MLS Coach of the Year|
|Bell fails to report to Steelers, will sit out rest of season|
|Federer back on track after dismal Thiem display|
|Udinese appoint Nicola after sacking Velazquez|
|Monaco deny they broke rules regarding youth recruitment|
|Del Bosque, Zidane, Lopetegui - The former Castilla coaches Solari follows into Real Madrid hot seat|
|Ozil rejected ´crazy offers´ from Asia, reveals agent|
|Real Madrid appoint Solari on permanent basis|
|LeVert avoids need for surgery, should return this season|
|Neuer confident despite concerns over Bayern Munich form|
|All I ever wanted to do is win, says Sixers signing Butler|
|Pogba: Coming home to United was the best feeling ever|
|Watson among four signing new Bath deals|
|Susanna Dinnage to replace Scudamore as Premier League chief executive|
|Murray commits to Brighton until 2020|
|Rooney rejected chance of pre-World Cup farewell|
|Impressive Anderson thrashes Nishikori|
|Ozil´s Germany absence a ´pity´, says Sane|
|Rooney: I´ll finish my career in the US|
|McIlroy unsure of 2019 European Tour membership|
|Australian Open dismisses concerns of Federer scheduling bias|
|Hue Jackson joins Bengals staff as ´special assistant´|
|Real Madrid confirm Reguilon injury|
|Higuain handed two-match ban for Juve meltdown|
|Kruis ruled out for England as Jones calls up uncapped quartet|
|A year on from Italy failure, Ventura leaves Chievo after four games|
|Bairstow misses out as unchanged England promote Stokes|
|Recalled Alba denies Luis Enrique bust-up|
|´Unhappy´ Christensen won´t push for Chelsea exit|
|Nadal to make Abu Dhabi comeback in December|
|Taijul helps Bangladesh tighten their grip despite Taylor ton|
|Neymar joining Real Madrid wouldn´t hurt Iniesta|
|It´s just team spirit - Livingston not worried by Durant-Green exchange|
|Trippier out of England squad with groin injury|
|Ex-Sri Lanka international Lokuhettige charged by ICC|
|Former England and Chelsea star Joe Cole retires|
|Nets offer support to LeVert following serious leg injury|
|Panenka proud Sergio Ramos imitates his penalties|
|Liverpool´s Alisson seeks patience to reach potential|
|Anthony Davis leads Pelicans, Clippers hold off Warriors in OT|
|Lindelof rues international break for Man Utd|
|Shaqiri confident in more goals for Liverpool|
|Giants too good for 49ers in crunch time|
|Southgate named honorary Yorkshireman|
|Nicky Butt: Manchester United are low on confidence|
|Criticism of Barcelona star Dembele is overblown - agent|
|Thibodeau discusses Butler trade: We thought this was the best deal for us|
|Acuna, Ohtani win rookie of the year awards|
|LeBron James on Lakers’ early season struggles: ‘I almost cracked’|
|Welbeck has successful second operation on broken ankle|
|UEFA warns FFP cases can be reopened based on ´new information´|
|Foakes to keep England place for second Test|
|WATCH: Rooney looking sharp in England training return|
|Mbappe: Money in football is truly indecent|
|Djokovic back to brilliant best as Isner is beaten|