SYDNEY - Brisbane Roar sacked coach Mike Mulvey on Sunday after five defeats in the first six games of the new season left the A-League champions languishing in the lower reaches of the table.
Just six months after he was named A-League coach of the season for leading Brisbane to their third title in four years in May, Mulvey was handed his notice in the wake of a 1-0 defeat to Melbourne Victory.
"Head coach Mike Mulvey met with Brisbane Roar FC management today. As a result, he will step down," club managing director Sean Dobson said in a statement.
"Brisbane Roar FC thanks Mike Mulvey for his contribution to the success of the club since his appointment as interim coach in December 2012 and as Brisbane Roar head coach in February 2013."
An own goal late in the second half from Jade North consigned the Roar to Saturday's loss at the Docklands Stadium and added further impetus to Melbourne Victory's title bid.
Victory sit third in the standings three points behind pacesetters Perth Glory, who beat Wellington Phoenix 2-1 on Friday despite having Ruben Zadkovich sent off in the 61st minute for a dangerous tackle.
Midfielder Zadkovich had only been on the pitch for 17 seconds as a substitute but Daniel De Silva's scrappy second minute effort combined with Andy Keogh's volley on the hour mark proved enough to give Glory a sixth win from seven matches.
Adelaide United moved into second place on 17 points after a convincing 2-0 win in Sunday's game at Central Coast Mariners courtesy of a first-half brace from Spanish forward Pablo Sanchez.
Brisbane are not the only high flyers from last season struggling as Western Sydney Wanderers remained rooted to the bottom of the table after Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Newcastle Jets.
The Asian champions took an early lead through Tomi Juric's thunderbolt of a volley but Argentine playmaker Marcos Flores equalised with a delicate flick in the 27th minute and the Jets held on for a point.
Western Sydney's bid for a first win of the season is now destined to continue until next weekend's derby against Sydney FC, who won 2-1 at Melbourne City on Saturday thanks to two goals from Austrian marquee striker Marc Janko.