Match Preview: Brisbane Roar vs Melbourne Heart

Melbourne Heart v Brisbane Roar

Venue: AAMI Park

Local kick-off: 7:45pm

Referees: Chris Beath / Shaun Evans / Hakan Anaz / Lucian Laverdure

Head to head: All matches (played 4): Melbourne Heart wins 1, Brisbane Roar wins 3, (0 draws)

Melbourne Heart squad: 1. Clint Bolton, 2. Michael Marrone, 3. Brendan Hamill, 4. Simon Colosimo, 6. Matt Thompson, 7. Rutger Worm, 8. Kristian Sarkies, 9. Maycon, 11. Alex Terra, 13. Jonatan Germano, 15. David Williams, 16. Aziz Behich, 17. Jason Hoffman, 18. Curtis Good, 19. Eli Babalj, 23. Mate Dugandzic, 30. Sebastian Mattei *two to be omitted*

In: Eli Babalj (promoted), Simon Colosimo (returns from injury)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: Nick Kalmar (back – 4 weeks), Kliment Taseski (foot – 4 to 6 weeks), Fred (groin – 4 to 6 weeks), Wayne Srhoj (quad – 1 week)

Brisbane Roar Squad: 1. Michael Theoklitos (GK), 2. Matt Smith (C), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matt Jurman , 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paaratlu, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 9. Kofi Danning, 10. Henrique, 11. Issey Nakajima-Farran, 14. Rocky Visconte, 16. Mohamed Adnan, 17. Mitch Nichols, 18. Luke Brattan, 19. Jack Hingert, 20. Andrew Redmayne (GK), 22. Thomas Broich *three to be omitted*

In: 19. Jack Hingert (promoted) 18. Luke Brattan (promoted) 9. Kofi Danning (promoted)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: Nil

Likely starting line-ups:




Brisbane: Redmayne, Jurman, Visconte, Henrique

Omitted: Hingert, Brattan, Danning

Melbourne: Mattei, Sarkies, Dugandzic, Terra

Omitted: Colosimo, Maycon


The first and most important issue for Brisbane is the availability of Besart Berisha, as I type this  at 4.30 on Friday afternoon there is no word out of Brisbane Roar regarding accepting or appealing his 1 match ban, so as of right now he is available for selection. I don’t expect that to change and we should see Besart at Aami Park tomorrow before serving his suspension next week vs. Newcastle (unless it’s overturned).


The other conundrum facing Postecoglou surrounds the fit again Henrique and Broich and should he start them, or be cautious and once again start them on the bench. It’s worth remembering that Postecoglou commented last week the duo were struggling at full time so it’s no guarantee that they’ll come into the starting side. At a guess I’ll say that Broich starts in place of Visconte who wasn’t at his best last weekend, and Henrique starts on the bench coming on after an hour. I don’t see any of the trio added to the squad (Danning, Brattan, Hingert) featuring in the 1st team this weekend unless there is some kind of injury. Smith limped off last week against Sydney, however he has apparently trained strongly all week so he should be ready to play.

Melbourne H:

Heart played really well midweek against the Mariners and I don’t think they will, or should make too many changes to that team. Eli Babalj is back for selection after being rested midweek so he will likely come into the starting side, with one for Williams or Terra making way. Colosimo is also fit again but Good and Hamill have done well so I think he’ll be on the bench at best, and given Van’t Schip likes to have an attacking bench –especially at home- I can see him missing out. The other point to make here is JVS’s insistence on picking top scorer and all round danger man Mate Dugandzic on the bench in recent weeks. There’s always a chance he changes that and re-instates him to the starting side this week, but Heart imo have played their best stuff with him attacking down the right.


Season form:




Season record vs. Melbourne Heart:

Round 10: Brisbane Roar (Nichols 78’) 1-2 Melbourne Heart (Germano11’, Babalj 27’)


Top scorers:

Brisbane: Besart Berisha (10)

Melbourne: Mate Dugandzic (6)



Brisbane: Thomas Broich (5)

Melbourne: Rutger Worm, Aziz Behich (4)


All-time record against Melbourne Heart:

Played 4: Won 3, Drawn 0, Lost 1


At Aami Park:

(vs. Heart) Played- Won 1, Drawn 0, Lost 0

(All-time) Played 2: Won 1, Drawn 0, Lost 1


Keys to the game:


For Brisbane the biggest key will be to build on that momentum that last weeks epic comeback brought. With everyone basically fit and ready to play now is the time to build up some momentum in the run into the final and the ACL, and with a bit of luck maybe even catch the Mariners for the premier’s plate.


Given that it’s the 2nd game back now for Thomas and Henrique they should be back to something approaching their best, which will be an added boost to the attack. We all saw last weekend how much they added when they came off the bench by increasing the intensity and pace of the attacks and no doubt they will continue to do that as they regain some fitness.


The defence is one area that perhaps needs a little tweak given its been 9 games without a clean sheet now dating back to the Glory game in late November so it’s defiantly time for Theo and the defence to keep a clean sheet. 16 goals conceded in the last 9 games which equates to just less than 2 goals per game, time to pick it up boys.



Heart’s biggest weapon is their pace in the attacking third, both in foot speed and speed of thought. Dugandzic, Williams, Babalj, Terra and Hoffman are all extremely quick and dangerous so the defence of Brisbane will need to be weary of them on the counter attack. Babalj’s goal up here in round 10 is a great example of their countering ability and speed. Speaking of Eli, for mine he’s a fantastic young striker and probably the best we’ve produced as a nation since Viduka, so Smith and Adnan will have their hands full with him.


Its not only the offence of the Heart that is youthful, the backline too is all under the age of 23 with Marrone being the oldest of the quartet. Despite their age they have struck up a good combination, but like all young players they go through their ups and downs. It will be vital to the game for the experienced Brisbane Roar attacking machine under the pump during the game.


Finally, in the midfield Jonatan Germano has really come into his own in recent weeks finding his role in the side in a similar way that Paartalu plays for Brisbane albeit slightly more attacking in nature. Against the Mariners on Wednesday he had a great deal of time on the ball from deep in his own half right up to the edge of the box, so Brisbane’s midfield will need to watch him- perhaps it could be a job for Brisbane’s own everywhere man Massimo Murdocca?


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