The A-League's Big Blue is looming large for Sydney FC after a war of words erupted over whether they should cop the blame for one of the most excruciatingly tedious games of the season.
It promised plenty, but Friday night's bore draw between the lethargic Sky Blues and a misfiring Brisbane Roar offered zero for the neutral and provided few answers as to the legitimacy of either side's title aspirations.
John Aloisi claimed Sydney's "stifling" tactics were why the game turned ugly, while his counterpart Graham Arnold reckoned the Roar were just as guilty, accusing them of attempting to wind down the clock from the opening minutes.
That prompted a furious reaction from Brisbane captain Matt McKay, who told News Corp: "Wasting time ... please."
"They're real negative in the way they play ... which didn't really make for a good game or spectacle."
For Sydney FC, who remain top, the test they should have faced has been merely deferred to Saturday night, when the freshly-crowned FFA Cup champions Melbourne Victory visit for a rematch of last season's grand final.
Kevin Muscat's men might have sat out of A-League action but they had the biggest weekend of all, humming in a 2-0 win over Perth Glory to claim the cup and issue a timely reminder of their attacking threat as the three sides above them on the ladder struggled to fire a shot.
Newcastle missed a golden chance to move to the summit, losing 2-1 to the Western Sydney Wanderers in a match defined by two highly contentious refereeing decisions in the second half.
Not that Jets coach Scott Miller was making any excuses: "On reflection, you get what you deserve," he said.
The win was the reward for effort Wanderers coach Tony Popovic had claimed was coming, but they must now regroup ahead of one of the most intriguing clashes of the season, against Melbourne City away on Friday night.
Both the Wanderers and City have flattered to deceive in their own ways and their meeting at AAMI Park provides each with an opportunity to prove they're fair dinkum contenders.
Confidence will be high for Melbourne City following their 4-2 demolition of troubled Adelaide United on Thursday, but too often in the club's short history have the highest of highs been followed by demoralising lows.
Meanwhile, Wellington and Central Coast played out a 1-1 draw in Gosford on Sunday - but the Mariners, who came back after conceding in the eight minute to nearly steal the three points, would have taken more from the match.
They face the Jets in an F3 derby on Saturday, while the Phoenix are aiming for a bumper crowd for Friday night's clash with Adelaide at Westpac Stadium - their first at home since the New Zealand club's A-League licence controversy began.