As part of efforts to boost its content offering this year, the A-Leagues launched a new documentary series at the start of its 2022-23 campaign: A-Leagues All Access (AAA). Promising a behind-the-scenes, warts and all look at a different figure in Australian football each week, it's been, for the most part, a success and warmly received by Australian football fans. The show provides a different insight into some of the game's biggest names and more often than not helps create real emotional touchpoints -- something the league desperately needs.
The only problem is that it might also be cursed.
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Sports, of course, have a long and proud history of reading superstition and malediction into events. "The Curse of the Bambino" was supposedly responsible for the Boston Red Sox's 86-year championship drought, the "Kennett Curse" was blamed for an 11-game losing streak Hawthorn suffered against Geelong in the men's AFL, and the "Madden Curse" afflicting players that appear on the cover of the video game series has become legendary. And don't even ask what happens every time Aaron Ramsey scores a goal.
It's all codswallop, of course. Patterns and narratives drawn out of a random series of events. Or maybe it's not. Maybe maleficence does make sports one of its preferred abodes. Certainly, there's a definite trend emerging in AAA. Don't believe it? Let's take a look at its opening season.
Episode 1: Luis Nani
AAA's first star, Nani ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in January, ending his debut season with Melbourne Victory. At the time, he was leading the league in shots without a goal.
Episode 2: Charlie Austin
Austin departed Brisbane Roar in January after mutually terminating his two-year deal after just six months. "The Pantomime villain" scored two goals in seven starts for the league's worst attack before his exit.
Episode 3: Patrick Kisnorbo
Initially, things looked to be going well for Kisnorbo: promoted from City Football Group's Melbourne City outpost to their Ligue 1 side Troyes in November. Life in France has proven difficult, though and Troyes' poor form has continued since his arrival, with the club now sitting in the relegation zone.
Episode 4: Garang Kuol
On loan at Hearts after signing with Newcastle United in January, Kuol appears to have dodged the curse.
Episode 5: Arthur Papas
Newcastle Jets manager Papas appears to have mostly avoided the curse as well: his side are seventh in the league and just four points off second despite still being ownerless and running on the smell of an oily rag.
Episode 6: Milos Ninkovic
Ninkovic starred in his first Sydney Derby since making his controversial crosstown move from Sydney FC to the Western Sydney Wanderers, but subsequently suffered an injury that kept him out of action for almost two months.
Episode 7: Chloe Logarzo
Logarzo had a handful of match-winning cameos off the bench for Western United but struggled to see the field amidst persistent injuries before her loan deal ended. With places in the Matildas midfield highly competitive, the 28-year-old is in a race against time to find form and fitness and press a case for selection ahead of July's Women's World Cup on home soil.
Episode 8: Kayla Morrison
After returning from an ACL injury this season, Morrison has avoided further major maladies and seems to have ducked any hoodoo.
Episode 9: Melissa Barbieri
Barbieri had seemingly won the starting job with Melbourne City only to suffer a long-term calf injury in January, stranding the veteran goalkeeper on 99 ALW appearances.
Episode 10: Ruben Zadkovich
Perth Glory has improved on their hapless 2021-22 campaign under Zadkovich this season, but the coach was drawn into controversy last week when reports alleged he had punched on of his players -- allegations which were subsequently investigated and dismissed by the PFA and league.
That not the first story to emerge in the media hinting at disharmony in the Glory dressing room and Zadkovich has since hinted at someone leaking against the club.
Episode 11: John Aloisi
After winning the title in Aloisi's first season in charge in 2021-22, Western United has fallen to the foot of the table in his second and conceded more goals than any other side in the competition.
Episode 12: Jason Cummings
Another who looks to have mostly dodged any bad vibes, Cummings has 12 goals in 17 games for the Central Coast Mariners this ALM season.
Episode 13: Craig Goodwin
One of the Socceroos' heroes in Qatar, Goodwin remains a leading figure at Adelaide United and, to this stage, has avoided any cosmic punishment for his AAA appearance.
Episode 14: Ulises Davila
Macarthur FC's captain suffered a torn meniscus and underwent surgery last week, ruling him out for the rest of the ALM season and dealing a heavy blow to the Bulls' finals hopes.
Episode 15: Andrew Redmayne
The most recent AAA subject, no immediate calamities have befallen the Sydney FC stalwart since his episode aired.
Episode 16: Mathew Leckie
Leckie's AAA hasn't even aired yet but he's already been ruled out for multiple weeks after suffering a hamstring injury at Melbourne City training at a session the AAA cameras were filming.
That wasn't even the first attempt that AAA had made to record an episode with Leckie, either: previously seeking to film a special during Melbourne Derby week only for that to be the game that Melbourne Victory fans violently stormed the field and forced the game's abandonment.