Brisbane begin their 5th AFC Champions League campaign on Tuesday night with their Preliminary Round 2 clash against Filipino side Ceres-Negros at the Queensland Sports & Athletics Centre (QSAC).
As we’ve done over the years, lets find out a little bit more about Brisbane’s opponent.
How they qualified?
Ceres-Negros qualified for the 2018 AFC Champions League as winners of the 2017 Philippines Football League, where they finished second in the league before beating Global FC in the finals series to claim the title.
In order to progress to Preliminary Round 2 of ACL qualifying, Ceres-Negros defeated Myanmar Champions Shan United on Tuesday night on penalties after the tie finished 1-1 after 120 minutes.
AFC Preliminary Round 1
Shan United (1) Asare 99′
Ceres-Negros (1) Nyakwe 94′
Ceres-Negros progress 4-3 on penalty kicks.
As a bit of extra information, this was the Ceres-Negros starting line-up for the clash, playing in what looks to be a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Line-up v Shan United
1- Antonio Santana (GK), 4- Manuel Lopez (DF), 14- Carlos de Murga (DF), 17- Junior Munoz (DF), 28- Jeffrey Christiaens, 6- Kevin Ingreso (MF), 7) Bienvenido Maranon (MF), Omid Nazari (MF), 5) Mike Ott (MF), 12) Stephan Schrock (MF), 29) Patrick Reichelt (FW)
Ceres-Negros was formed in 2012 and has quickly gone on to make a name for themselves as a club in the Filipino footballing scene. Starting out as a team composed mostly of College players, Ceres-Negros quickly built their reputation and started to attract national team players to the club.
In 2017, no less than 11 Ceres-Negros players represented the national side.
Philippine Football League Champions- (2017)
United Football League Champions (2014, 2015)
PFF National Men’s Club Championship winners (2013, 2014)
UFL FA League Cup Winner (2014)
Record in Asia
2018 is Ceres- Negros’ first appearance in the AFC Champions League.
They do however have an extensive history of participating in the AFC’s secondary club competitions, beginning with the 2014 AFC Presidents Cup where they finished 3rd in Group B.
Three consecutive appearances in the AFC Cup were to follow, with a qualifying loss to Maldive side Maziya in 2015, before reaching the last 16 a year late. In 2017 Ceres-Negros made it to the Inter-zone Semi-Final before losing 5-1 on aggregate to Tajikistan side Istiklol.
Manager- Risto Vidakovic
Ceres-Negros are lead by former Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro international, who joined the Filipino Champions ahead of the 2016 season. As a player Vidakovic spent the majority of his career playing in Spain for the likes of Real Betis, Osasuna and Poli Ejido and it was in Spain where he got his first coaching opportunity with Ecija.
Stints with Cadiz and the Real Betis B team were to follow, before a move across the world beckoned to Honduran club Motagua.
37 year old Spanish goalkeeper
177 games in Spain for Real Betis, Real Zaragoza, Huesca and Xerez
Spent 2017 season with San Fernando in Segunda Division B
31 year old Spanish winger
Played in Spain for Cadiz, Villarrubia, Mostoles, La Hoya Lorca and Soucellamos
15 goals in 47 games for Ceres- Negros
22 year old German born midfielder
77 games for 1860 Munich II and FC Nurnberg II
Spent 2017 playing for Angthong in Thailand (7 goals in 21 games)
12 caps for Phillippines
Brother Manuel Ott also plays for Ceres Negros
As Brisbane’s A-League season continues to flounder, attention will shortly turn towards the Preliminary Rounds of the 2018 AFC Champions League, with round one qualification set to start next week.
Brisbane enter the competition in Preliminary Round two with a home clash against Filipino side Cereos-Negros or Shan United from Myanmar on January 23, before a potential trip to Tianjin Quanjian on January 30th.
With the competition set to get underway in the coming days, decisions will soon need to be made on which players will be eligible to participate in the competition. As a reminder, clubs can register a maximum of 30 players for the competition, with a maximum of four visa players of which one must be from an AFC member nation.
While the squad can be altered after the qualification round if required – Brisbane brought in Avram Papadopoulos following the playoff round last year- it’s unlikely that there will be many changes.
As a comparison to what we can expect, here’s a reminder of which players were selected for the 2017 competition.
In order to breakdown who could be part of the Champions League side, things can be broken down into four categories- A-League contracted players, Scholarship players and Mature aged rookies, ACL specific signings and Youth team players.
A-League contracted players
Eric Bautheac, Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Daniel Bowles, Shannon Brady, Corey Brown, Joey Caletti, Nick D’Agostino, Luke Devere, Ivan Franjic, Corey Gameiro, Jack Hingert, Brett Holman, Thomas Kristensen, Massimo Maccarone, Matt McKay, Jade North, Connor O’Toole, Mitchell Oxborrow, Avram Papadopoulos, Jacob Pepper, Peter Skapetis, Michael Theo, Jamie Young.
Brisbane have a full 23 player A-League squad right now, all of whom have featured at some point over the season to date due to the continuing injury crisis. The 18 Australian players on that list are locks to be included in the ACL squad, however due to the Champions League rules surrounding visa players one of the clubs four international players will miss out.
As a reminder teams in the Champions League are allowed a maximum of four Visa players to be registered, of which one must be from a fellow AFC member nation meaning one of Massimo Maccarone –Italy-, Fahid Ben Khalfallah –Tunisia-, Eric Bautheac –France- or Thomas Kristensen –Denmark- will miss out.
With options limited upfront and in the midfield it would be unlikely that Kristensen or Maccarone would be left out, meaning that one of Ben Khalfallah or Bautheac look like being the unlucky man. The decision is likely to come down to the fitness of Bautheac with the Frenchman only just returning for a hamstring injury which saw him miss four matches.
It could be either of them, but for the sake of this exercise lets assume that John Aloisi opts to carry Bautheac, Kristensen and Maccarone for the ACL squad and leave Ben Khalfallah to focus on the A-League campaign.
Scholarship holders and mature aged rookies
Scholarship players– Jay Barnett, Bryce Bafford, Dane Ingham, Emilio Martinez.
Mature Aged Rookie– Brendan White
Brendan White is a near lock to be selected as the third choice goalkeeper, as is full-back Dane Ingham who has gone on to establish himself both as a first team player since making his debut against Global FC .
Young midfielder Bryce Bafford has put in a string of impressive performances in the National Youth League and could be an outside the box inclusion for experience, while Martinez missed most of the season with a knee injury.
ACL specific signings
If Brisbane are looking for extra depth for Champions League it’s possible to bring players in purely for the competition as the likes of Adelaide and Western Sydney have done in the past.
Given the number of contracted players at the Roar at the present time it’s unlikely that Brisbane would go down this path, particularly with no guarantees of qualifying for the Group Stage. It’s an option however and one that shouldn’t be ruled out.
Youth Team Players Rounding out the squad are likely to be a handful of the clubs youth team players, many of who have already been given a taste of A-League action this season. The likes of Rahmat Akbari, Daniel Leck and Adam Sawyer have all made their debuts this season while Aaron Reardon was in the squad for Brisbane’s FFA Cup Round of 32 loss to Victory.
Likely Brisbane Roar 2018 AFC Champions League Squad Goalkeepers (3) – Michael Theo, Brendan White, Jamie Young.
Defenders (10) – Daniel Bowles, Corey Brown, Luke Devere, Ivan Franjic, Jack Hingert, Dane Ingham, Jade North, Connor O’Toole, Avram Papadopoulos, Aaron Reardon.
Midfielders (8) – Rahmat Akbari, Joe Caletti, Brett Holman, Thomas Kristensen, Matt McKay, Mitchell Oxborrow, Jacob Pepper, Adam Sawyer.
Forwards (7) – Eric Bautheac, Shannon Brady, Nick D’Agostino, Corey Gameiro, Daniel Leck, Massimo Maccarone, Peter Skapetis.
Last night at the XXXX Alehouse in the shadows of Suncorp Stadium the Roar Supporters Federation hosted their first forum of 2018 with returning Brisbane Roar Managing Director David Pourre the guest of honour.
On returning to the role
The first question of the night was around his somewhat surprising decision to return to the club after the departure of Mark Kingsman, with Pourre outlining the first contact was made from the clubs ownership. David outlined the reasoning behind his decision to depart in the first place –owners putting the club in jeopardy once again following a restoration project- and he sought assurances there would be no repeat before agreeing to return.
On the A-League’s side struggles.
Unsurprisingly, Pourre was frustrated at the sides current predicament but outlined that the club remains positive of a positive outcome, with a maximum of 36 points still to play for and a belief within the playing group that they could achieve something.
On Head Coach John Aloisi and his future
David once again reiterated his public statement from last month where he publically backed the coach to remain in the job. Pourre also outlined the clubs situation at the time when Aloisi walked into the role, saying that what he’s achieved in the two years prior to this has given him a lot of credit with the owners.
He also went on to say that John is as frustrated and as disappointed as anyone over the results this season and that he’s the first to take responsibility for the clubs struggles this season in his role as the head of the Football Department.
While acknowledging that the fans have every right to be equally frustrated and hold whatever views they like surrounding the manager, the club wouldn’t be making any changes for the foreseeable future. Pourre also said that the playing group was still 100% behind the manager, and that it would be obvious to all observers if that wasn’t the case.
On Craig Moore’s role at the club
Craig is the Football Director of the club, with his roles including engaging in contract negotiation and construction in addition to dealing with travel logistics for all the clubs teams and providing counsel to the coaching staffs of each team. Pourre also outlined that Aloisi has the final say on all contract and transfer decisions, which are all approved by Pourre and the clubs owners provided they fit within the agreed budgets.
On club culture
While reluctant to discussion what happened in his time away from the role, Pourre did outline that there had been a tremendous turnover at the club and not everyone fully understood exactly what the meaning of Brisbane Roar was. To use David’s words, ‘were some of the way there, but not all of the way’. Pourre also said that he didn’t agree with the perception of a boys club culture infiltrating the Roar this season, outlining the success of the clubs W-League, Youth League and academy as things which wouldn’t be the case if such a culture existed.
Pourre was reluctant to talk about the changeover of medical teams in the off-season given it happened prior to his return, however last weeks arrivial of national team back-room staffers Craig Duncan and Les Gellis to oversee the entire high performance unit was welcome. Pourre described the duo as highly respected in the game given their histories and that he was awaiting their report before deciding upon further steps. He also said those findings would remaining behind closed doors for both competitive advantage reasons and also player privacy given the level of detail about injuries and the like.
On players and contracts
Pourre outlined the sheer number of players out of contract -145- and that discussions around who to retain and who to target for recruitment were currently underway amongst the Football Department. He was reticent to mention any names however.
David also discussed the January transfer window plans, outlining that for someone to arrive there would need to be a departure given they have a full roster. There was space left for a January arrival, however those plans were scuppered when Luke DeVere’s injury was revealed to be less serious than planned. Initially the club were looking at Ivan Franjic as an injury replacement, however the earlier than expected return of Devere saw the versatile right sided player take the allocated space for January.
The clubs discipline was also mentioned with Pourre calling it “uncharacteristic” to see so many issues this season. He also however stressed they would stand by the players as opposed to ‘throwing them under the bus’.
On the success of the W-League side this season
“They’re going well”. That was the rather modest assessment of Mel Andreatta’s sides return to the summit of the W-League table this season, before going on to say the appointment of Andreatta as coach of the women’s team was one of the best decisions the club has made due to her management of the team and the ideals she brings to the table.
The question of where the team should play came up once again, with Pourre admitting the crowds at Suncorp Stadium and the new active supporter group –The Roar Corps- added a great atmosphere to the games, however the club has a responsibility to make the team accessible to the entire women’s football community and it may be prudent to play more games at regional venues.
While not wanting to jinx anything, Pourre admitted there was a plan in place for any potential home finals –or Grand Final- and that Suncorp Stadium is not an option due to scheduling issues. Amongst the venues in the mix to host the games are Ballymore, QSAC and Perry Park.
On the Logan training precinct
The clubs much awaited home is still on track to be opened next month with works on the players facilities currently underway, while the playing surface was ready to go. Amongst those facilities will be dedicated lockers, a kit room, medical rooms, player lounges, a kitchen and dedicated rooms for meetings.
While the move is still on track as planned, Pourre outlined it would be imperative for the players to simply just ‘turn up and train’ on the first day, with the transition for the staff set to take place over the next month.
Pourre also shared an exchange between himself and John Aloisi back in 2015 about things the coach wanted for the club. “A home” was Aloisi’ response, with Pourre happy to hear that as he held a similar belief.
David also talked about the Logan City Council’s commitment to the game with the regional council investing $9million into the facility which will be shared by the Roar and Football Brisbane, with Brisbane Roar having a 10 year lease on the main field of the facility giving them sole access.
The question of the W-League side joining the men’s team at the base was suggested, with Pourre outlining the sides relationship with the current home venue in Fig Tree Pocket. While not excluding the possibility, he did mention the possibility of W-League and NYL games being held at the venue.
On the owners
Pourre outlined that to his knowledge the club was not for sale and there had been no legitimate discussions for a sale despite media reports suggesting otherwise in recent months. David also outlined just how much money the Bakrie Group have invested since purchasing a controlling interest back in 2011, with upwards of $19million stumped up by the clubs Indonesian owners to keep the club afloat. Pourre also outlined a loss of just under $4million for the 2017 financial year.
On the standard of refereeing
Pourre gave a real glimpse of the clubs frustrations over the standard of refereeing this year, both in terms of the on field referees and the much discussed VAR.
“My level of satisfaction is significantly diminished by refereeing of games, How many goals have been denied by linesman errors? I can count three. That’s pretty big. Im very disappointed”
Pourre was not interested in hearing any excuses on the matter, saying they needed both coaching and education before going on to outline that they don’t understand the ‘fiscal and emotional’ impact their decisions make on clubs and supporters alike.
When asked if the controversial VAR system would return next year, Pourre succinctly quipped “I hope not”, a response which got the largest round of applause of the night from those in attendance.
Just to wrap this up, a few dot points on other things to come out of the forum
– The club is spending upwards of 4million on the A-League squad this season, with only one or two clubs spending significantly more.
– Pourre outlined a plan to take pre-season games to the regions, similarly to the 2015-16 season when games were held on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cleveland Showgrounds and at QSAC.
– The annual members photo will happen once again, with a date set aside for one of the two games in February.
– Pourre wanted to examine all options before confirming where the clubs ACL games would be played, with a range of factors including conflicts with the Commonwealth Games mentioned should they reach the Group Stage.
– Umbro will be returning as the clubs kit manufacturer for the next three seasons, with the original deal set to expire at the end of this season.
– On the issue of playing kits, Pourre also outlined that the club will go back to a more traditional orange and black look for next season, while the second and third kits are TBD. There will however be one ‘light’ option and one ‘dark’ option to ensure no clashes with rival clubs.
– Pourre was “very surprised” when made aware of the ticketing strategy for the FFA Cup game, outlining his belief that the game should be to engage the community and not a profit making exercise. He also made it clear the club takes the competition seriously despite exiting in the Round of 32 for three straight years, despite being a pre-season competition in his eyes.
– The club is limited in what they can do in terms of merchandise with FFA controlling the clubs brand and choosing which products to sell and who produces them.
With the turn of the year attention all over the football world turns to the transfer window as teams take their final chance to change up their playing rosters before the season.
While for most the window opened at midnight on the 1st, in the A-League the window opened on January 3rd and represents the chance for clubs to shuffle their packs as the competition reaches the halfway mark.
Like the rest of the competition Brisbane Roar will be looking to strengthen their squad for the second half of the season, particularly given the current injury crisis and the upcoming Champions League campaign.
Previous January transfer windows have been kind to Brisbane with the likes of Jade North, Jean Carlos Solórzano, Tommy Oar and Steven Lustica (twice) all arriving in the mid season window. Last year looked like being a relatively quiet window for the Roar before Avram Papadopoulos arrived on an injury replacement deal following a long term injury to Daniel Bowles.
At a press conference last week John Aloisi outlined his plans for the upcoming transfer window.
“ You’re always looking especially when you have players out (injured), depending on how long they’re out for if you can get an injury replacement in. You always want to improve, but it’s not just up to me it’s also up to the club and if there’s room in the salary cap but you’re always looking for players for the present and the future”.
Aloisi went on to say that there were however no specific targets in mind currently, so it sounds like it will be a case of seeing whats available and making decisions as they come up as opposed to targeting a particular player this month.
Before taking a look at the potential options for this window, here’s a reminder of how the Brisbane squad stacks up currently.
Brisbane Roar squad as at 04/01/2018
Goalkeepers (3) – Michael Theo, Brendan White, Jamie Young.
Defenders (10) – Daniel Bowles, Corey Brown, Luke Devere, Ivan Franjic, Jack Hingert, Dane Ingham, Jade North, Avram Papadopoulos, Jacob Pepper, Connor O’Toole.
Midfielders (11) – Bryce Bafford, Jay Barnett, Eric Bautheac, Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Shannon Brady, Joe Caletti, Brett Holman, Thomas Kristensen, Emilio Martinez, Matt McKay, Mitchell Oxborrow.
Forwards (4) – Nicholas D’Agostino, Corey Gameiro, Massimo Maccarone, Peter Skapetis.
All up Brisbane have a healthy 28 players under contract currently which allows for a large selection at John Aloisi’ disposal, and that doesn’t include youngsters like Rahmat Akbari, Daniel Leck and Adam Sawyer who have all made their A-League debuts this season.
Brisbane have a full compliment of 23 contracted A-League players which suggests that any potential additions may have to see a subtraction to the playing group this month which makes things more difficult, although injury replacements or guest players could come into play.
In addition to those 23 contracted A-League players, Brisbane also four scholarship players (Ingham, Bafford, Martinez & Barnett) in addition to 3rd choice goalkeeper Brendan White who is on a mature aged rookie contract.
So while it looks unlikely that there will be any additions to the A-League squad, there is the possibility of bringing players in on Asian Champions League specific contracts.
In years past Adelaide brought back Sergio van Djik for their unsuccessful qualification campaign in 2016, while Western Sydney brought in multiple players specifically for the Champions League. It’s also a path reportedly being considered by Sydney FC ahead of their ACL campaign which starts in February.
While Brisbane could be set for a relatively quiet window this month with minimal transfer activity, the same cannot be said for the league as a whole with a large number of players set to move clubs over the next few weeks.
Already there have been 10 players move either move from or to an A-League club, a number which is expected to be atleast double when the window closes at the end of the month.
Amongst those who could be on the move this month include Mariners defender Harry Ascroft, City midfield duo Neil Kilkenny and Marcin Budzinski, Victory midfielder Mathias Sanchez and Wanderers midfielder Steven Lustica who are all out of contract at seasons end –Budzinski excluded- however that’s just my speculation.
Predicting players from overseas leagues –Australian or visa players- is a more difficult exercise however with the major East Asian leagues coming to an end at the conclusion of the calendar year there could be possibilities of players being available in those leagues.
Either way there figures to be a flurry of moves as teams try to keep pace with current league leaders Sydney FC who have continued their dominance over the league so far in 2017-18.
It’s been another mixed bag for Brisbane Roar this year as they continued their streak of A-League finals appearances and returned to the Champions League, however there were also some low moments including the start to the current season. So as 2017 comes to an end, let’s look back at the year that was.
2017 started with a home loss to Newcastle Jets way back on January 7 thanks to a late Morten Nordstrand winner, with the first win of the year arriving a couple of weeks later away to Wellington thanks to a late Jamie Maclaren goal.
The January transfer window was a quiet one for the Roar with Dimitri Petratos’ move to Ulsan Hyundai looked to be only activity in the window however when Daniel Bowles picked up a serious knee injury away to Melbourne City, John Aloisi turned to Australian born former Greek international defender Avram Papadopoulos as an injury replacement.
Brisbane rounded out the regular season in third place after a last day come from behind win over Wellington Phoenix at home, which set up an Elimination Final with sixth placed Western Sydney Wanderers in week one of the finals.
In true Brisbane fashion they did things the hard way in that Elimination Final with a second half Jamie Maclaren goal levelling the scores before goalkeeper Jamie Young –who entered the game in extra time due to an injury to Michael Theo- became the hero by saving Jumpei’s spot kick to secure progression to the Semi-Finals.
That Semi-Final would take place in Melbourne against the well rested Victory while a tired Brisbane side from travelling to Thailand midweek arrived with question marks over the fitness of Jamie Young, and it was former Roar striker Besart Berisha who scored the games only goal to send the Victory to the Grand Final and ending Brisbane’s A-League campaign.
Looking to Asia
While Brisbane were busy securing a seventh successive finals appearance on the domestic front, January also saw Brisbane begin a fourth AFC Champions League campaign with a home game against Filipino side Global FC.
Goals from Brandon Borrello and Manuel Arana secured a comfortable win and a trip to Shanghai the following week, while youngsters like Dane Ingham and Joe Caletti made their first team debuts. A week later another Brandon Borrello goal in addition to a second from Tommy Oar secured Brisbane’s biggest result in Asia to date in a 2-0 win which secured a spot in the Group Stage.
That win over Shanghai placed Brisbane in Group E alongside Kashima Antlers, Ulsan Hyundai and Muanthong United, whom Brisbane drew with 0-0 at home on the opening matchday. Losses to Kashima and Ulsan saw Brisbane languishing at the halfway mark of the Group Stage before a home win over Kashima on Matchday 4 ensured Brisbane’s first win at home in the competition proper.
A loss away to Muanthong with an under strength loss due to the A-League Finals campaign ended Brisbane’s chances of progression, with the most notable part of the game being goalkeeper Jamie Young ripping skin from his arm due to a rusty nail on a goal post.
Brisbane’s front line underwent a massive transformation in the off-season with youngsters Brandon Borrello and Jamie Maclaren departing to try their luck in Germany, while Thomas Broich was honoured as the clubs inaugural hall of famer after he completed his seventh and final season with the Roar. Others who moved on included Manuel Arana, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Kye Rowles, Cameron Crestani, Joey Katebian and Tommy Oar which ensured it would be a very different Roar line-up in 2017-18.
That new line-up would be reliant upon experience with ex Victory winger Fahid Ben Khalfallah and former Italian international Massimo Maccarone brought into fill the void in the attacking third. Joining the veteran duo for the new season were Corey Gameiro, Peter Skapetis, Brendan White, Eric Bautheac and Ivan Franjic who returned to Brisbane in October after four seasons away.
The pre-season saw a mixed bag of results with wins over defending champion Sydney FC and a Chinese Olympic side coupled with hefty defeats to Western Sydney and Melbourne Victory. Perhaps most alarmingly was the 5-1 loss in the FFA Cup Round of 32 which saw Brisbane bow out at the first hurdle for the third straight season in a lacklustre performance at Perry Park.
The injury crisis which would hamper the upcoming season was evident from very early on with a number of key players missing big chunks of the pre-season including Avram Papadopoulos, Thomas Kristensen and new signing Fahid Ben Khalfallah.
Brisbane featured in the first game of the season for the third straight time however on this occasion a Bruce Kamau brace made it a first up loss for John Aloisi’ men. Further losses at home to Newcastle and Adelaide followed as Brisbane struggled out of the gate due to injuries and cohesion, with a first win not arriving until a win at home over Melbourne City in mid November.
The season has been a frustrating one to date with little consistency due to the ever growing injury list, however there was a bit of hope in the final game of 2017 with a gutsy 2-1 win over Adelaide United yesterday which could kick start a misfiring campaign.
Milestones and stats
– Matt McKay became the first player to play 250 games in all competitions for Brisbane Roar.
– Luke Devere became the 13th player to play 100 games in all competitions for Brisbane Roar.
– Peter Skapetis became the 9th Brisbane player to score on his competitive debut in the FFA Cup Round of 32 loss to Melbourne Victory. Skapetis is the first since Andrija Kaluderovic back in the 2014-15 season.
– Jamie Maclaren became the first player to score multiple hat-tricks for Brisbane Roar when he scored three times against Central Coast in Round 25. Meanwhile Brandon Borrello became the 7th different person to score three in one game when he did so against Global FC in the ACL Playoff.
– Brisbane set a new longest run with a win when they went 10 games without a win from the ACL Matchday 5 loss to Muanthong April 26 through the Round 6 A-League loss to Melbourne Victory on November 11.
– 16 players made their debut in 2017, including 9 academy graduates. In order: Dane Ingham, Joe Caletti, Cameron Crestani, Kye Rowles, Avram Papadopoulos, Tomislav Bilic, Connor O’Toole, Peter Skapetis, Massimo Maccarone, Mitchell Oxborrow, Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Rahmat Akbari, Eric Bautheac, Corey Gameiro, Adam Sawyer and Daniel Leck.
16-17 Finals Run in
2017 start third straight defeat for Mel Andreatta’s side with a 4-1 loss at home to Melbourne Victory which left Brisbane in a perilous position in terms of qualifying for the finals series. A 3-0 win in the teams’ final home win of the season over the Wanderers provided hope, hover losses to Newcastle and Melbourne City ensured the Roar missed the finals for the second in three seasons.
Ahead of the new season Mel Andreatta reshaped her squad with a number of high profile arrivals, headlined by American midfielder Celeste Boureille and Matildas winger Hayley Raso who helped Canberra United to the Premiership the previous year. American defender Carson Pickett Hong Kong striker Wai-Ki Cheung and midfielder Ayesha Norrie arrived to add quality to the squad.
Going the other way were a handful of first team regulars from the season prior, notably including American midfielder Maddy Evans, Danish defender Nina Frausing-Pedersen and left Back Angela Beard; who travelled the well worn path from Brisbane to Melbourne Victory.
Brisbane went into the Christmas break on top of the table and the Roar have been in and around the league’s summit from the very beginning, with a first up win away to Sydney where they took the lead early on and never looked back.
Five wins out of seven have lead Brisbane’s resurgence, with the away form being a particular highlight with three wins out of three so far this season. In the final home game of 2017 Brisbane broke a 5 game losing streak against Melbourne City, securing their first win over the two time defending Champions with a 2-0 win thanks to Allira Toby and Katrina Gorry.
Brisbane’s final W-League game of 2017 was in a top of the table clash away to Perth Glory and second half goals from Hayley Raso and Allira Toby ensured the Roar would start 2018 two points clear at the top of the table.
Milestones and stats
– Clare Polkinghorne and Tameka Butt became the first and second players respectively to play 100 W-League games for Brisbane Roar.
– Mackenzie Arnold’ 5 clean sheets so far in 2017-18 is the most since Casey Dumont back in season 3 of the competition.
– 6 players made their W-League debut for Brisbane Roar in 2017. In order: Georgina Worth, Carston Pickett, Celeste Boureille, Wai-Ki Cheung, Hollie Palmer and Lucinda Pullar.
2017 for the Young Roar started away to Melbourne City with arguably the biggest win of the season in a 4-0 rout over the eventual Champions thanks to braces for Danny Driver and Joey Katebian. Ultimately however a home loss to Perth and a draw in Adelaide saw Brisbane end the season second in Conference A, two points behind City.
Attention then turned to the 2017 NPL Queensland campaign where a younger than usual Brisbane side finished in 11th place with 18 points. Amongst the more notable results were a 4-3 win over 2017 Champion Western Pride in Round 2 in a game where Brisbane lead 4-0 before a late Pride rally, and a 7-2 home win over Sunshine Coast in Round 18 in one of the sides better performances of the season. Big derby defeats to Strikers however in Rounds 10 (5-0) and 21 (4-1) were amongst the more disappointing results this year.
Rounding out the year for the Young Roar was the start of the 17-18 NYL campaign, which began with a comprehensive loss away to Melbourne City. Wins over Victory and Glory followed before a home loss to Adelaide saw Brisbane drop to third place at the halfway mark before a 3-0 to City leaves Brisbane mid-table.
Results aren’t the only important factor for the Young Roar, player development is also vital and in 2017 a number of players got their chance in the first team and proved they belonged.
All up there were 9 first team debuts handed out to players starting out in the academy- amongst the more notable were Joe Caletti and Dane Ingham, who along with fellow youngster Nick D’Agostino went on to establish themselves as regular members of the A-League squad in 2017 with a string of impressive performances.
Ingham in particular who saw a meteoric rise this year, going from the Young Roar, to the first team and then onto the international stage with the All-Whites where he played in the Confederations Cup and was part of New Zealand’s World Cup Qualification campaign.
Others who excelled in the side but are still waiting for their chance in the first team include defender Aaron Reardon, midfielder Emilio Martinez and striker Nathan Yoon.
As always however there are players who slip through the net and 2017 saw two young attackers get their first team debut in the hunter. This year the most notable are Harrison Sawyer and Joseph Champness, both of who moved south to Newcastle. Champness has been a revelation this year for the high flying Jets with two goals in 13 games this season, while Sawyer has been a regular goalscorer for Filipino club Davao Aguilas after leaving the Jets.
In comparison to preseason years’, 2017 was a relatively quiet year off the field for Brisbane with the clubs ownership situation much more stable than in previous years.
It wouldn’t be Brisbane Roar without some rocky moments however and things appeared to be heading the wrong direction in October when Managing Director Mark Kingsman was sacked just weeks into the season. That drama however was quickly neutralised when former Managing Director David Pourre returned to the club to try and sort out the clubs commercial situation.
The big focus off the field in 2017 – particularly lately- is surrounding the training and medical facilities given the lengthy injury list which has hampered the 2017-18 season. The good news on the training ground front however was the beginning of work on the clubs new training & administration base in Logan, a facility which should be ready for use in early 2018.
In addition to training base, the other major development in 2017 has been the launch of the academy, with Drew Sherman coming in to set up the foundations ahead of the first season next year.
So as we turn to the focus towards 2018 there’s still a lot to look forward to with the A-League potentially set for a second half resurgence and if not there’s still the Champions League qualifiers to come in late January.
In the W-League Brisbane enter 2018 on top of the table and in position to challenge for silverware for the first time in four seasons as the competition reaches the business end.
While the Young Roar have been all but eliminated from the NYL Grand Final picture there’s still opportunities for players to press their case for first team opportunities in the latter rounds and also the newly expanded NPL Queensland which is set to kick off in early February.
The start of the NPL will also usher in the first season for Brisbane’s newly formed academy while the clubs current dramas around the training ground will be solved when the new Logan training base opens early in the new year.
There’s also a lot to look forward to on the international front with many of Brisbane’s W-League squad set to test themselves at the Asian Cup in Jordan while of course all eyes will be on the Socceroos as they embark on a fourth straight World Cup campaign in Russia.
Adelaide United (1) Blackwood 69’
Brisbane Roar (2) Ben Khalfallah 33’, Maccarone 45+1’
At Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Brisbane Roar have finished 2017 on a winning note with a gutsy 2-1 win away from home in Adelaide on Saturday afternoon. First half goals from Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Massimo Maccarone sent Brisbane on their way before club captain Matt McKay was sent off for lashing out at Nikola Mileusnic right before halftime in his 250th game for the Roar.
Adelaide continued to press hard for goals in the second half but despite controlling possession and territory the home side could only manage the one strike in response, with George Blackwood scoring from close range. John Aloisi’ men had to dig deep in the second half to hold out the rampaging Reds side and it’s a win which could see Brisbane make a surge up the table in 2018.
33’ (0-1) Despite being under pressure for the majority of proceedings, Brisbane got themselves a shock opener after Isaias’ slip allowed Fahid Ben Khalfallah in, and the winger rounded Paul Izzo before slotting the ball into the back of the net for his first goal for Brisbane.
45+1 (0-2) Brisbane doubled their lead in first half stoppage time after a Fahid Ben Khalfallah through ball found Massimo Maccarone and the Italian showed plenty of composure to chip the ball into the corner of the net.
45+2’ (Red Card) Right on the stroke of half time, Brisbane captain Matt McKay was shown a direct red card for lashing out at Nikola Mileusnic following a 50-50 challenge. Initially the referee gave McKay a yellow card upon the advice of his assistant, however after a VAR review the sanction was upgraded to a red card.
69’(1-2) Adelaide got themselves a lifeline with 20 minutes remaining after Nikola Mileusnic’ shot bounced back off the post to George Blackwood who had a tap in from close range with the keeper out of play
Brisbane XI– Young, Hingert, Pepper, Devere, Brown, Kristensen, McKay, Ben Khalfallah, Akbari, Skapetis, Maccarone.
Substitutions- Oxborrow for Akbari (45’), Gameiro for Skapetis (68’), O’Toole for Maccarone (90’)
Unused Substitutes– White, Leck.
Yellow Cards– Brown (23’), Ben Khalfallah (71’).
Red Cards– McKay 45+2’.
Adelaide United XI– Izzo, Strain, Elsey, Gulum, Garuccio, Isaias, Konstandopoulos, Adlung, Kitto, Mileusnic, Blackwood.
Substitutions– Garuccio for Marrone (56’), Absalonsen for Konstandopoulos (56’), Regan for Gulum (81’).
Unused Substitutes– Margush, O’Doherty.
Yellow Cards– Gulum (1’).
Red Cards– Nil.
Stats, Facts & Figures
– Matt McKay made his 250th appearance for Brisbane Roar in all competitions in today’s game.
– McKay was also sent off for the 6th time in his Brisbane Roar career, and for the third time against Adelaide United.
– McKay’s red card was Brisbane’s 30th in all competitions.
– Fahid Ben Khalfallah becomes the 75th different goalscorer for Brisbane Roar in today’s 2-1 win over Adelaide United.
Brisbane Roar return home to start 2018 in back to back games against the two Sydney clubs. Brisbane will face defending champions Sydney FC on January 8, however first up they will take on Western Sydney Wanderers on January 5th.
Brisbane Roar (2) Raso 59’, Toby 66’
Perth Glory (0)
1,046 at Dorrien Gardens, Perth
Brisbane Roar will enter 2018 on top of the W-League table after an important 2-0 win away from home against Perth Glory in a top of the table clash at Dorrien Gardens. Second half goals from Hayley Raso and Allira Toby ensured it was a successful trip across the Nullarbor for Mel Andreatta’s side, who hold a two point advantage at the top of the table with five rounds of the season remaining.
58’ (0-1) Brisbane found the games opening goal just before the hour mark when the home side failed to clear their lines from a corner, and Hayley Raso was on hand to turn the ball into the back of the net.
66’ (0-2) A Katrina Gorry cross was turned home by striker Allira Toby to double Brisbane’s advantage.
Brisbane XI– Arnold, Torpey, Polkinghorne, O’Brien, Pickett, Boureille, Gorry, Butt, Raso, Gielnik, Toby.
Substitutions- Lloyd for Toby (67’), Cheung for Gielnik (88’), Palmer for Pickett (90+2’).
Unused Substitutes– Worth.
Yellow Cards– Gorry (16’).
Red Cards– Nil.
Perth Glory XI– Maizels, S. Carroll, K. Carroll, Rigby, Frisbie, Stanton, Tabain, Rodriguez, Bolger, Billam, Hill.
Substitutions– Gibbons for Bolger (58’), May for Billam (68’).
Unused Substitutes– Aquino, Charalambous.
Yellow Cards– Nil.
Red Cards– Nil.
Stats, Facts & Figures
– Brisbane remains unbeaten away from home in season 10 of the W-League, with four wins from four so far in 2017-18.
– Goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold has now picked up five clean sheets in the first eight games, the most for any Brisbane goalkeeper since Casey Dumont in season 3.
Brisbane Roar return home for their first game in 2018 or a home clash against Melbourne Victory who are coached by former Roar mentor Jeff Hopkins. The game is part of another double header with the A-League side, with the W-League game set to kick off at 4.20pm.
Meanwhile in the National Youth League Brisbane’s 2017-18 Conference A hopes have been dashed by a superior Melbourne City side earlier in the afternoon at Lanham Park in the Grange. A first half goal from Dylan Pierias sent the visitors on their way, before second half goals from Zachary Bates and Lucas Derrick rounded out a comprehensive win.
The result all but assures City of a spot in the Grand Final at the end of January, with the defending champions needing just three points from their remaining three games to secure the berth as Conference A Champions.
For the Roar it’s been a season of transition at the youth level, with many players making their first step up into the NYL and the injury crisis in the first team has seen many of the sides brightest talents withdrawn due to their services being required in the A-League. Despite the disappointing season results wise, it has been a good learning experience for what is an overall young playing group who figure to be pressing for a chance in the senior side over the next 12-18 months.
Brisbane Roar (0)
Melbourne City (3) Pierias 39’, Bates 52’, Derrick 82’
At Lanham Park, Grange
The Young Roar start 2018 away to Melbourne Victory on January 7th at Epping Stadium in a battle between the current 3rd and 4th placed sides in Conference A.