Good news everyone, the off-season is almost over! Brisbane Roar begins their quest for a 3rd straight championship tomorrow with the start of pre-season training and they’ll be back playing games before you know it. So with that in mind I thought I’d write a quick summary of the clubs activities since the 1-1 draw with Beijing way back in May.
The biggest change is obviously the change in head coach from Ange Postecoglou -who decided to rain on our victory parade by announcing what we all knew about an hour afterwards- to Rado Vidosic, and while not a great deal is expected to change under the longtime assistant. It should make this pre-season interesting just to see what changes he does make. When you promote the assistant coach to the top job, you obviously need to fill that hole and the Vidosic and new General Manager Sean Dobson (who replaced outgoing Director of Football Operations Paul Trimboli) opted to go for the in-house option by moving highly successful W-League coach Jeff Hopkins into the assistant’s chair, rather than the presumed favourite in former Gold Coast NYL and A-League boss Mike Mulvey. Hopkins won two W-League titles and led his side to all 4 W-League Grand Finals in his time with the women’s team.
Without doubt the most asked question over on the Facebook page is ‘Who have the Roar signed’ and the answer in truth is not a lot, at least not a lot that they’ve publically confirmed as of now. Here’s a list from the Football Australia website of the current transfer activity for Brisbane:
In :Ben Halloran (Gold Coast United)
Out: Matt Mundy (Rochedale Rovers), Andrew Redmayne (Melbourne Heart), Issey Nakajima-Farran (AEK Lamaca)
So with the addition of Halloran and the departures of the trio, that leaves Brisbane currently with 18 players on 1st team contracts, and two foreign places still to be filled. That number however doesn’t include Sayed Mohamed Adnan, of whom there has been no conformation either way, nor does it include the 3 fulltime NYL contracted players in Corey Brown, Nick Fitzgerald and George Lambadaridis. Here’s how the squad is shaping up by position.
Current Roster breakdown:
Goalkeepers: Michael Theoklitos.
Defence: Matt Smith, Shane Stefanutto, Matt Jurman, Ivan Franjic, Jack Hingert, Corey Brown.
Midfield: Erik Paartalu, Massimo Murdocca, Rocky Visconte, Mitch Nichols, Luke Brattan, George Lambadaridis.
Attack: Besart Berisha, Kofi Danning, Henrique, Thomas Broich, Ben Halloran, Anthony Proia, Nick Fitzgerald.
*Italics denotes fulltime NYL players, who are additional to the 20-23 man 1st team squad.
**Bold denotes players who take up one of the clubs foreign roster slots. Under competition rules you can have a maximum of 5 in the A-League with no regulations on where they are from, and you can have 4 in the AFC Champions League, one of which must be from an AFC member nation.
Holes to fill:
The most glaring need to be filled by the time the season starts proper in 3 months’ time is finding a partner for Matt Smith in the centre of defence. There is a chance that they see Matt Jurman as that player but even if they do it would be a wise move to get some additional cover in case of injuries or poor form. There’s a chance that could be as simple as re-signing Adnan but you would think if that was going to be the case it would be announced already. Luckily as I mentioned above they do still have 2 foreign places in the squad to fill this need.
From there, it’s all about depth and providing competition to the 1st team squad who’ve exceeded all expectations these past two seasons. Primarily I can see this coming from some youth promotions. Firstly they need to get another goalkeeper and with just about every good option off the board (unless you count Jerrad Tyson or Liam Reddy as a good option), it seems logical that Matt Acton will be promted to the 1st team to be Theoklitos’ back-up. I’ve mentioned this before on the blog but he’s had 4 years in the NYL now and for mine he’s ready and deserves the chance.
Finally to round out the group I think it would make sense to bring one of the young defenders into the 1st team and there are two strong candidates for the role, both of whom are currently with the U/22 National team in James Donachie and Jason Geria. Most are somewhat familiar with Donachie due to his solid debut down on the Gold Coast, but Geria is just as solid at the back and arguably better at bringing the ball out of defence. Whichever way they go they’ll be locking in another solid defensive piece for the future which is positive.
Pre-Season fixtures confirmed to date:
Tuesday July 24- Brisbane Olympic vs. Brisbane Roar. Goodwin Park, Yeronga. 7.00pm.
Sunday August 12- Ipswich Select XI vs. Brisbane Roar. North Ipswich Reserve, Ipswich. 3.00pm
Thursday August 16- Peninsula Power vs. Brisbane Roar. A.J Kelly Field, Kippa Ring. 7.15pm
Wednesday August 22- Rochedale Rovers vs. Brisbane Roar. Underwood Park, Underwood. 7.00pm
Keep checking back to the blog as well as our Facebook page and twitter account for the latest news on signings and pre-season fixtures.