A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup
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|Number of teams||8|
|Most championships||Adelaide United (2 titles)|
The A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup competition was an annual soccer tournament held for all Hyundai A-League clubs in July and August in the lead up to the start of the A-League season. The competition featured a group stage and a knockout stage. Commentators did not give much weight to the competition as a guide for performance during the season proper, as injuries or club strategic policy ruled that many teams did not use their best players and often used experimental tactics. The Pre-Season Cup was removed from the 2009–10 A-League schedule in order to give the clubs more control over their own pre-season training.
In the Pre-Season Cup, the teams were evenly placed into two groups. Each team played the others in the group once over three rounds.
Beginning in 2006, an additional bonus round was then held, with each team playing a cross-over match with a team from a different group. In addition to the standard points (3 for a win, 1 for a draw), there were special bonus points on offer for the bonus round matches:
- 1 bonus point for 2 goals scored by a team,
- 2 bonus points for 3 goals scored by a team, or
- 3 bonus points for 4 or more goals scored by a team.
- 4 bonus points for scoring 5 goals by a player.
This format was edited for the 2007 competition. The bonus round was removed, and the bonus points system introduced into each of the first three rounds. All eight teams then entered a knock-out round, culminating in the final in late August.
The inaugural A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup was won by Central Coast Mariners after they beat the reigning NSL Champions, Perth Glory 1–0 in the grand final. The event was a huge success and attracted clubs to thoroughly prepare for their A-League endevaours.
The second edition of the Pre-Season Cup was used to enhance the A-League's profiles by playing pre-season games in regional centres including the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Launceston, Canberra, Wollongong, Port Macquarie, Orange and Tamworth. A new format allowed matches for: third, fifth and seventh place as well as a grand final. A trophy was given to the teams that finished first, second and third. Adelaide United won the Grand Final after beating reigning champions Central Coast Mariners 5–4 on penalties after 1–1 at the end of extra time. Sydney FC finished in third place.
The 2007 edition had an identical format as the 2006 edition, it was won by Adelaide United after they came back from 1–0 down to win the game 2–1, 9,606 spectators attended the grand final and just over 3,500 spectators attended the third place play-off where Brisbane Roar beat Central Coast Mariners 3–1 after the Roar received two red cards during the match.
Caloundra, Cessnock, Mandurah and Mount Gambier all hosted matches for the first time. The Format changed again, the third, fifth and seventh place matches were removed and the top team from each group played each other instead of the regular knockout format. Melbourne Victory won the last ever A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup after beating Wellington Phoenix 8–7 in a penalty shoot-out after a 0–0 score at the end of extra time.,
|Season||Grand Final Date||Winning Team||Score||Losing Team||Location||GF Attendance|
|2005||21 August 2005||Central Coast Mariners (1)||1–0||Perth Glory||Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium, Gosford (1)||6,609|
|2006||19 August 2006||Adelaide United (1)||1–1
|Central Coast Mariners||Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium, Gosford (2)||10,453|
|2007||12 August 2007||Adelaide United (2)||2–1||Perth Glory||Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide (1)||9,606|
|2008||6 August 2008||Melbourne Victory (1)||0–0
|Wellington Phoenix||Westpac Stadium, Wellington (1)||9,208|
|Team||Titles||Runners-up||Third Place||Fourth Place|
|Central Coast Mariners||1||1||0||1|