Tight season awaits: Cahill
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Tim Cahill believes the swathe of Socceroos returning to the A-League will make for compelling viewing, but he has no idea who will claim the championship.
The A-League season begins next weekend with an opening-night clash between the league's most successful clubs - Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory - and a blockbuster Sydney derby.
A host of internationals have returned to their home competition, with decorated Socceroos Brett Holman (Brisbane Roar) and Cahill (Melbourne City) top of the list.
James Troisi (Melbourne Victory), James Holland (Adelaide United) and Rhys Williams (Perth Glory) bring their international class, as do emerging Australians like Adam Taggart (Perth Glory) and Kerem Bulut (Western Sydney).
Cahill said he couldn't wait to see local talent shine in front of their home fans.
"We're all going to add our own flavour and our own uniqueness to each team," he told reporters in Melbourne on Wednesday.
"This is a compliment to the A-League.
"To be finally home as international Australian players, it's good for us, good for our families and great for the game."
The all-time leading Socceroos goalscorer said returning to Australia allowed him to walk down memory lane.
"I'm having lunch together with Rhysy (Williams) and chatting about some of the boys in the league," he said.
"We all end up quite close to each other.
"On top of that, players I once played with are now coaches, Popa (Tony Popovic) and Musky (Kevin Muscat), John Aloisi."
Holman said it was a top-notch group of recruits.
"You're talking about good quality players, national team players who are not choosing something else," he said.
"They're looking at the A-League and saying 'this is positive for my career'."
If there's one thing the returning players have in common, it's an expectation of the unexpected.
Holman said he was a fan of the egalitarian nature of the salary cap league.
"It makes it a lot more exciting when you don't know there's a standard top four," he said.
"What Adelaide did last year just sums it up, not winning the first seven games and going on to win the minor premiership and grand final."
Cahill agreed United's story was both inspirational and a reminder of how hard it is to leap to the top of the pack.
"What they've done, the quiet achievers, they've stuck together and they've produced something quite amazing," he said.
"With all the top teams it's going to be difficult one for us."