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Tim Cahill has three club games in a week to impress Bert van Marwijk and make Australia's squad for March friendlies with Norway and Colombia.
Tom Rogic's hopes of returning to action in time for Celtic's Europa League clash with Zenit St Petersburg appear to have been dashed.
It was the wake-up call Sydney FC needed, with an opening ACL loss leaving the A-League champions everything to do in China next week.
Under-pressure Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat believes he has seen signs of recovery in his side's battling 3-3 draw with Ulsan Hyundai.
FFA boss David Gallop has warned that expansion will not solve all problems as the A-League suffers through a significant slump.
Both are reigning A-League grand finalists, yet the AFC Champions League couldn't present more conflicting plots for Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory.