Major Semi-final 2nd leg preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Central Coast Mariners.


Central Coast Mariners v Brisbane Roar, Bluetongue Stadium, 5pm (EST)

Major semi-final, 2nd leg

Sunday, April 8

Head-to-head: Roar wins 15, Mariners wins, 4 Drawn 8

Referee: TBA (Im sure the clubs know- but there’s no official preview as of yet) 


(Unofficial squads- official ones yet to be released as of Friday night)

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1. Mathew Ryan, 2.Daniel McBreen, 3. Joshua Rose, 4. Pedj Bojic, 6. Patrick Zwaanswijk, 7. John Hutchinson, 9. Bernie Ibini, 10. Adriano Pellegrino, 11. Oliver Bozanic, 12. Troy Hearfield, 13. Stuart Musialik, 14. Michael McGlinchey, 15, Brad McDonald, 16. Trent Sainsbury, 17. Tomas Rogic, 18. Alex Wilkinson (C), 19. John Sutton, 20. Justin Pasfield (Gk), 21. Sam Gallagher, 22. Mustafa Amini, 23. Adam Kwasnik, 24. Mitchell Duke. *Six to be omitted*
Coach: Graham Arnold


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, 12. Matt Mundy, 14. Rocky Visconte, 16. Mohamed Adnan, 17. Mitch Nichols, 18. Luke Brattan, 19. Jack Hingert, 20. Andrew Redmayne (GK), 21. James Meyer, 22. Thomas Broich, 24. Nick Fitzgerald, 25. George Lambadaridis, 26. Corey Brown, 29 James Donachie, 30. Matt Acton, ??). Anthony Proia. *Ten to be omitted*
Coach: Ange Postecoglou


Season form:




Season record vs. Central Coast Mariners:

Round 1: Brisbane Roar (Nichols 78’) 1-0 Central Coast Mariners

Round 11: Brisbane Roar (Danning 83’) 1-2 Central Coast Mariners (Amini 6’, Bojic 45’)

Round 18: Central Coast Mariners 0-2 Brisbane Roar (Paartalu 5’, Berisha 38’)

Finals Week 1: Brisbane Roar (Henrique 8’, Paartalu 86’) 2-0 Central Coast Mariners


Top scorers:

Brisbane: Besart Berisha (19)

Central Coast: Patrick Zwaanswijk (6)

*Matt Simon netted 7 before moving to Chunnam Dragons



Brisbane: Thomas Broich (7)

Central Coast: Michael McGlinchey (8)


All-time record against Central Coast Mariners:

Played 27: Won 14, Drawn 9, Lost 4. Goals for 50. Goals against 34. Goal dif +16.


At Bluetongue Stadium:

Played 12: Won 8, Drawn 4, Lost 0. Goals for 28. Goals against 14. Goal dif +14


Team News:

Potential Starting Line-ups:


Redmayne, Jurman, Murdocca, Danning, Fitzgerald

Omitted: Acton, Hingert, Mundy, Donachie, Brown, Lambadaridis, Nakajima-Farran, Visconte, Proia, Meyer


Central Coast: Pasfield, Sainsbury, Amini, Ibini, McBreen

Omitted: Gallagher, McDonald, Musialik, Pellegrino, Hearfield, Duke


To be honest I would take those lineups above with a pinch of salt given we’ve heard very little out of both camps for this match. Clearly they want to keep their cards close to their chest going into this Grand Final qualifier. Due to the official squads not being released as of Friday night- I just listed both clubs entire roster and obviously there’s a few names you can immediately cross out. If and when they come out i’ll post them up on the Facebook page.

The Roar side will be boosted by the return tomorrow of Brazilian speedster Henrique and Bahraini defender Mohamed Adnan.

“We’re still playing well, we’re not losing . . . if we start putting them away we’ll thump someone,” Postecoglou said.

“Hopefully that’s coming.”


For Brisbane Sayed Mohamed Adnan should be fresh enough given that he didn’t travel to Korea and has hopefully he has had enough time for his knee issue to clear up. There is also the potential for Henrique’s hamstring issue to keep him out of this fixture- in which case Fitzgerald will start with Visconte making the bench. There is also the potential to rest some players due to heavy legs with Murdocca and Stefanutto being the prime candidates to be rested in that scenario. Brattan and Hingert would be the replacements in that scenario. Other than that it seems like business as usual for Brisbane despite the heavy scheduele.


Before I begin- here’s a few quotes from Arnold who’s been far more forthcoming in his selection thoughts- perhaps it’s simply because Postecoglou only arrived in the country this morning:

Veteran striker Adam Kwasnik appears certain to start.

“Two of the three (younger guys) will play definitely, but I haven’t made up my mind which two yet,” Arnold said.

“Certainly Kwas (Kwasnik) is a serious contender.

“He is a goal poacher, an out-and-out goal scorer as he showed the other night. Daniel McBreen and John Sutton will also come into consideration. The good thing is that I have a fit and healthy squad to choose from.”


While Arnold is saying two of the 3 young prodigies will start, I can only see one of them doing so, given that Arnold does indeed have to go for it at some stage and having players like Amini/Rogic and Ibini coming on with 25 to go against what they clearly perceive a tiring Brisbane side. They also play best with a target man so I can definitely see Sutton playing so it really comes down to two individual battles- Rogic vs. Amini and Kwasnik vs. Ibini. Will be interesting to see which way Arnold goes.


Key players:
Thomas Broich has been at the heart and soul of everything positive Brisbane has done in the past two seasons and im looking to him to once again produce the touch of quality when it’s really required. We saw last weekend how he bamboozled the Mariners for Brisbane’s 2nd goal and he looms once again as our best attacking threat. Besart Berisha will no doubt be hoping for some quality service from their wide man. For the Mariners- if Bojic can successfully shut him down they’ll go along way to atleast keeping the score sheet clean.


Central Coast: As I mentioned above Central Coast have done their best work over their history under Arnold when they’ve had a target man upfront. Matt Simon was a key cog of their attack and recently John Sutton has stepped into the role and began to fill those shoes. His goal in Wellington 2 weeks ago was well taken and a sign that he’s finding his feet in this league. In order to shut him down, you have to look at where he gets his service from- and that’s the wide areas and deep lying midfielder John Hutchinson. Preventing them from getting quality ball to the big man will be important if the Roar are to progress to the Grand Final.


Keys to the game:

The 1st key to this will be the freshness of both sides going into this game- not just the Roar as the Mariners are indicating. While Brisbane had the trickier logistics to overcome this week, it should be noted that Central Coast have had their own travel and fixture backlog issues this past 4-6 weeks. This issue has gotten quiet a lot of column inches this past week but to me it’s less of an issue.  It’s worth noting that Postecoglou saw this potential issue arising and planned for it earlier in the season (I assume Arnold did likewise) so come 4.00pm on Sunday im expecting both sides to be ready to go.
The other real key issue at play here is the two goal advantage that Brisbane will take into the fixture, and this imo is the key factor in the match because it determines so much more about each teams approach. Im sure everyone is aware of the away goals rule so if Brisbane can net a goal on Sunday, the Mariners will need to find the net four times of their own to win the tie. The 2-0 score will also dictate how the Mariners go into the match because at some time they’re going to have to gamble and in doing so they could potentially leave themselves open to the counter attack. They won’t gamble from the start but the longer it remains in Brisbane’s favour the more attacking they’ll have to become.


Finally, just a quick word of caution to anyone who considers the tie over: Back in season 3 the Jets took a 2-0 lead to Gosford and got done 3-0 after extra time- so there is precedence for a Mariners victory- despite their struggles in two legged ties against the Roar. Hopefully Brisbane can net the all important away goal and secure a second consecutive home grand final.


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