Disciplinary record- October

This is the 1st in a season long series keeping track on both the Yellow Card situation, and the fair play award- something Brisbane has won Brisbane has won on 3 occasions (2008-09, 2010-11 and 2011-12). Ofcourse 4 yellow cards means an automatic one match ban and surprise surprise Jacob Burns is the 1st player to accrue a ban after he was the only player to see Yellow in all 4 of his clubs games thus far.


But enough laughing at Perth and Jacob Burns, Brisbane has their own disciplinary issues to worry about with the following players picking up yellow cards this year to date.



On now to the fair play award table after the month of October and Central Coast Mariners have the lead on 7 points, narrowly ahead of Brisbane on 8 points with Western Sydney and Melbourne Victory tied for 3rd on 10. Melbourne Heart are at the bottom with a total of 15, 1 point more than Perth who have 14. For those who aren’t aware the system works as follows:

1 point: Yellow Card
2 points: 2nd yellow card
3 points: Automatic red card


Here’s the table:

*All cards taken from the Fox Sports A-League Match tracking service.


Youth play the same as the 1st team, get similar result.

Brisbane Roar NYL: 0

Melbourne Victory NYL: 1
At Goodwin Park, Yeronga.

 Acton, Dougall, Donachie, Takahashi, Visconte, Archibald, Brattan, Lambadaridis, Fitzgerald, Dong-Hyun, Proia.
Substitutions: Yeboah for Archibald (45’), Borrello for Proia (45’), Jackson for Donachie (60’- or something like that).


Melbourne Victory: Thomas, Ansell, Gallagher, Buceto, Murname, Boahene, Cernak, Nakic, Jeggo, Davis, Nabbout.

Substitutes: Cristaldo, O’Dea, Pain, Petrovski. (Idk when they came on- I wasn’t paying a lot of attention, but Jeggo came off with an injury and all 3 outfield subs were used.

This afternoon Brisbane Roar had their first home game of the NYL season against Melbourne Victory, and it was a case of history repeating as they had a 1-0 loss and played in similar vein to their A-League counter parts last night. The game itself was a close affair with very few chances for either team, but it was Jake Nakic who struck right on the stroke of half-time to give the visitors a 1-0 victory.

In an attempt to keep this short and not bore you with a long winded account of the action, I thought id break it down by looking at each players performance and other notes in a dot point format. I’ll start with various notes regarding the game:

–          Brisbane started with a customary 4-3-3 formation but the midfield was inverted at half time. In the 1st half they had Archibald deeper in the Paartalu role with Lambadaridis and Brattan ahead of him, however in the 2nd half Sime replaced Archibald with Kwame Yeboah making it more of a 4-2-3-1 if that makes sense.



–          Victory played in a similar style to Ange has adopted in the 1st team –no surprise- with Cernak, Nabbout and Davies floating around across the front.



–           At approximately the 35 minute mark Rado made his presense known behind the bench offering a suggestion/asking for Sime to change something which resulted in Fitzgerald and Do switching flanks. Fitzgerald started the game on the right and Do on the left.



–          Jason Geria and Corey Brown weren’t available today- I assume they were in camp for the u/19 Asian Championships.



–          Visconte played as a left back. Im not sure if it was out of nessasity with Corey Brown away on Young Socceroos duty or if they’re planning on converting him into a left back. He did a reasonable job there, however he was caught out for their goal.



–          The goal came down Victory’s right/ our left hand side when Visconte was beaten by the right winger who proceeded to cut the ball back from the by-line for Nakic to place his shot into the bottom corner.



–          The play from Brisbane was predominantly down the flanks rather than through the middle. This could have been because of the apparent strength in Brisbane’s wide players or a directive of the coaching staff- who knows. But it wasn’t overly effective and they created only the one genuine goal scoring chance midway through the 1st half.


Now onto the players:

Acton: He didn’t really have a great deal to do and there wasn’t a lot he could have done about the goal which was scored from on or about the penalty spot into the bottom corner. He was vocal however and assisted in playing out from the back.

Dougall: Most times I’ve seen Kenneth play he’s been used somewhere in the midfield tri, however today they used him –possibly out of nessasity- at right full-back. He did a good enough job defensively but didn’t get forward as often as he possibly could have, or should have.

Donachie: So dominant at this level, he’s just bigger, stronger and faster than any of the forwards he comes up against. Had no trouble dealing with Victory’s attacking players and was replaced in order to give Jackson some playing time in the 2nd half. Jackson did ok btw- but he’s a long way short of Donachie.


Takahashi: This was the 1st time I’ve seen Yuji play for Brisbane, and I have to say I thought he did really well at the back. He won all his aerial contests and fitted nicely into the possession style of game. Im not sure he’s 100% ready to seriously challenge Jurman for his shirt yet but he’s not too far away. Id like to see him get atleast another 2-3 games at this level under his belt in order to boost his match fitness 1st.



Visconte: I’ve seen Rocky deployed as a left fullback once before for the youth team (last season v AIS) when Brown was away so it wasn’t a complete shock. He did his defensive duties reasonably well and got forward when possible including winning creating a nice chance from a cut back at the by-line. He was beaten easily by the right winger for the goal however.



Archibald: Again, I’ll make it known im not the biggest fan of his and don’t think he’s all that good, but obviously somebody at the Roar does because he had the captains armband today. He was partly at fault for the poor 1st half showing for mine as imo he didn’t offer himself as a passing avenue through the middle while playing out. That resulted in Acton and the 2 cb’s passing across the penalty area before trying to play down either flank. He was replaced at HT by Yeboah.



Lambadaridis: George had a quiet game today and didn’t really have many opportunities to have an impact on the game due to the fact the game was largely played down the flanks from Brisbane.



Brattan: I wasn’t expecting to see him play today, but when I saw him warming up I decided to pay particular attention to see if he would make a real case for a 1st team shirt next week- and I have to say I don’t think he did enough. He didn’t have a poor game by any measure but he didn’t stand out enough for mine to warrant it. He did however work extremely hard for the team offering himself as a passing option and trying to make combinations with the wide players to build the play.

Fitzgerald: Fitzy didn’t have his greatest day and he almost seemed a bit disgruntled to be playing in his game, but im not sure he helped his case for a bench spot next Sunday as he wasn’t overly influential. He was marginally better when he moved to the left hand side however.

Dong-Hyun. I have to say, I think Do is still trying to adapt to the more physical nature of Australian Football. That was evident in the Round 1 game in Perth, and it was on show once again today. He continually tried to fake the fullback out wide and cut back inside, and every time he tried it the defender read it. He was also pushed off the ball far too easily for mine.

Yeboah: Came on at half-time in a 2nd striker/attacking midfielder position and did a reasonable job. Im not sure it’s his best position however as he tended to drift out of the space and into either channel on the wing. Would have liked to have seen him replace one of Fitzgerald/Dong-Hyun as a genuine winger.

Proia: Started the game upfront but had to come off at half-time due to a knock he picked up on his lower leg/ankle. He wasn’t really in the game all that much for similar reasons to Berisha last night, although unlike Besart, Proia didn’t come deep looking for the ball as much.

Borrello: Came on at half time to replace Proia and like his fellow striker he didn’t really get a sniff in front of goal. He did however put himself about a bit more and also dropped a little deeper to help link the play similar to Berisha does in the 1st team, although that could have been a tactical tweak from the coaching staff with Yeboah also up top.

Lethargic Brisbane hand Western Sydney their debut win.

Brisbane Roar: 0
Western Sydney Wanderers: 1 (Bridge 18’)
Referee: Lucien Laverdure.
Crowd: 12, 663 at Suncorp Stadium.

Brisbane Roar:
Theo, Smith, Stefanutto, Jurman, Paartalu, Murdocca, Nichols, Halloran, Broich, Berisha.
Substitutions: Henrique for Murdocca (58’), Brattan for Paartalu (84’)
Un-used subs: Takahashi, Acton.
Yellow cards: Nil
Red Cards:
Western Sydney Wanderers:
Covic, Polenz, Topor-Stanley, Beauchamp, D’Apuzzo, Poljak, Mooy, Hersi, Ono, Bridge, Gibbs.
Substitutions: Trifiro for Ono (70’), Appiah-Kubi for Hersi (76’), Elrich for Bridge (82’)
Un-used subs: Tyson.
Yellow Cards: Bridge (37’), Mooy (45’), Beauchamp (90’)
Red Cards: Nil

Before dissecting the abject performance from Brisbane, I’ll first give huge credit to Tony Popovic and Western Sydney; I thought they were fantastic last night. They came with a very specific game plan and executed it impeccably. Their pressure off the ball was particularly noteworthy as they pushed up as a team in order to remain compact- at times they were pressing right up inside the 18 yard box, but they were smart enough to know when to do it, and when to drop off into their own half. That was probably the most complete defensive pressing Brisbane has come up against in the A-League. With the ball they were just as dangerous with Mooy, Hersi, Ono and Bridge in behind Gibbs upfront and the 5 of them were excellent in their movement, both in built up attacks and counter attacking movements and could have had more than the 1 they got.


The goal they did score was a combination of poor decisions by the Brisbane players. Firstly to allow Hersi that amount of space on the edge of the box wasn’t a great start, then for Bridge to get in between two defenders for a free header 5 yards from goal is even worse. From memory it was Hingert who was ball watching and unable to get off the ground to challenge Bridge. Add in that Stefanutto had come off his post in the action and it all adds up to a disappointing goal to concede.

Ok- now onto Brisbane, where do you start in analysing a performance that was abject in ever way imaginable? Brisbane dominated the possession and passing statistics last night but they did very little with the ball and a lot of those passes were Smith and Jurman just passing side to side. There almost seemed to be a lack of effort and desire amongst the players last night which is very un-Brisbane like.

I guess we’ll start at the back and to Theo’s credit he was the sole reason the score wasn’t worse as he made some impressive saves throughout the game. The defenders had more to do this week than in previous weeks and did their defensive duties reasonably well (the goal aside), it was their work with the ball which let them down. They’re not use to being under so much pressure playing out but that’s no excuse. The fullbacks got forward in their usual way but they had little to no effect in creating chances.

One of the features of Brisbane’s play this past 2 seasons has been Paartalu and his ability to control the game, and last night it just wasn’t there, I’ve never seen him turn the ball over so many times with such sloppy passes. Ok, he was pressured by Ono and Hersi a lot of the time but he’s use to receiving that pressure and still capable of passing the ball. Murdocca and Nichols didn’t have the greatest of games either but that was more due to the teams structure and system breaking down than anything they did. They’re both at their best on the transition and we had very few moments in transition throughout the game due to West Sydney’s pressure when they lost the ball.



The other feature of Brisbane’s play has been their ability to make well timed runs in behind the defence, and there was absolutely none of that last night. Nichols, Halloran and the fullbacks all tried to make penetrating runs in behind, but due to their compact defence and the ball skidding on the wet surface they never got in behind once. Speaking of Halloran- I’ve said this before but his decision making needs to improve as he’s still not on the same wave length as his teammates. He still seems to be just a little slow in seeing the pass which results in chances going missing.

Broich was well marked by the Polenz and the Wanderers midfielders but he’s received similar attention in the past and not looked as sub par as last night, absolutely nothing he tried worked.  He was also roaming from left to right constantly which resulted in a rather lop-sided until Stefanutto was able to get himself forward to support the attacks. I wouldn’t worry too much about Thomas though, in his 2 and a bit seasons in Orange he’s never put in a showing like that, and I don’t expect him to start now. Berisha was rarely sighted due to our inability to get the ball forward as often as usual which resulted in him dropping deep to try and maintain possession and get a touch of the ball. That helped a lot of the time to break the Wanderers pressure, but when he did that there was no outlet to play the ball to because he was back in the midfield line.

Henrique added a spark to the side when he came on and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see him coming into the starting line-up next week, most likely in place of Murdocca or Halloran. Other than that im not too sure there’ll be mass changes- Franjic will come back in (if fit) for Hingert and that’s probably it as none of the players in the youth side really did anything today to demand a 1st team spot (but more on that later).

Stats: (From Fox Sports Football)

Player ratings:
Brisbane: Theo 7, Hingert 6, Smith 6, Jurman 6, Stefanutto 6, Paartalu 5, Murdocca 5, Nichols 5, Broich 5, Halloran 6, Berisha 5, Henrique 6, Brattan 6.

West Sydney: Covic 7, Polenz 7, Beauchamp 7, Topor-Stanley 7, D’Apuzzo 7, Poljak 7, Mooy 8, Hersi 8, Ono 7, Bridge 8, Gibbs 7, Elrich 6, Appiah-Kubi 6, Trifiro 6.


Up next:
Brisbane are at home once again next Sunday against an Adelaide United side which has started the season in top form.

Round 4 Match Preview: Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers

Brisbane Roar return home to Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night to take on Western Sydney Wanderers- their 1st ever meeting with the league’s newest side. Brisbane come into the match on the back of a hard earned point across the Tasman while the Wanderers come into the game after a disappointed derby day defeat to Sydney FC. Wanderers, as im sure you’ve all heard come into the game still searching for their 1st ever goal or even win.


Saturday, October 27

Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers
Suncorp Stadium
Kick off: 6.45pm
Referee: Lucien Laverdure
Assistant Referees: Brad Hobson and David Walsh
4th Official: Adam Kersey


Projected starting line-ups:
Theo, Hingert, Smith, Jurman, Stefanutto, Paartalu, Murdocca, Nichols, Halloran, Broich, Berisha.
Subs: Acton, Takahashi, Fitzgerald, Henrique.
Omitted: Brattan, Visconte, Dong-Hyun.

Western Sydney: Covic, Polenz, Beauchamp, Topor-Stanley, D’Apuzzo, Poljak, Mooy, Ono, Bridge, Minniecon, Haliti

Subs: Tyson, Elrich, Hersi, Appiah-Kubi.

Omitted: Cole, Trifiro, Gibbs.


Brisbane played pretty well last weekend against a strong Wellington side and should be able to continue their good start to the season at home this weekend against a Wanderers side which is still ironing out the kinks in their play. In a defensive sense Brisbane played well at the back last weekend with the back four keeping a dangerous Wellington attack quiet for large parts of the game limiting them to the odd counter attacking opportunity –although they did set-up to play that way. This Western Sydney side doesn’t have the same firepower as Wellington –especially in wider areas- and as such the fullbacks should have more freedom to get forward and support the attack than they did last weekend.



The attack last week seemed to be a little off their best against a Wellington defence that was both well organised and heavily stacked. Wanderers haven’t really played as defensively minded as Wellington were last weekend as they tend to have a more fluid 4-3-3 formation with 3 creative minded midfielders supporting a front 3. That should result in more space in the midfield for Nichols, Murdocca and Broich to create the openings for Halloran and Berisha. While there will be space in the midfield their defence tends to be compact so im not sure the tactics that proved so effective against Victory will work on Saturday.


There is one potential twist however which could turn this game on its head and it involves the player who’s been in the headlines all week. Besart Berisha –who may or may not have already passed Sergio van Djik for the most goals for Brisbane Roar, depending no who you believe- today reportedly failed to finish training and is in some for of doubt for Saturdays game. I should point out that for those who haven’t seen the story on FSN that it seems to be a minor injury and that he’s 100% fit for the game, but it raises a question- who would start upfront if Berisha was injured?

There isn’t a lot of precedence for this as Besart played in all but 1 game last year, a 1-0 home loss to Newcastle where Broich, Fitzgerald, Meyer and Henrique rotated across the front third. If worst came to worst I assume that Henrique would come into the XI with Brattan coming onto the bench given that of all the available options, he’s the most ready. The other 2 options –Meyer and Proia- are both lacking match fitness right now and need an extended run in the youth team before being considered for a 1st team spot.


Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Michael Theo (Gk), 2. Matt Smith (Capt.), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matt Jurman, 6. Erik Paartalu, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 10. Henrique, 11. Ben Halloran, 13. Yuji Takahashi, 14. Rocky Visconte, 16. Do Dong-Hyun, 17. Mitch Nichols, 18. Luke Brattan, 19. Jack Hingert, 20. Matt Acton, 22. Thomas Broich, 24. Nick Fitzgerald. *Three to be omitted*


Western Sydney come into this one after a disappointing derby loss to Sydney FC and although the only lost the game on a penalty won by Del Piero, they were lacking in creativity in the final third in a sign that they’re yet to click. Midfielder Aaron Mooy today was quoted as suggesting that ex Roar flyer Tahj Minniecon will be coming into the starting squad this week in an attempt to kick start their offense.


For mine- this is a good move. Ok, Tahj isn’t the player he was during his Brisbane days but even so he should be able to provide a spark in the final third that’s been lacking thus far. With his speed in behind Brisbane’s defence in addition to the creativity of players like Ono and Mooy, they might finally be able to create the chances necessary to score their 1st goal of the season. For mine I think they could do with sacrificing one of the fullbacks for a more attacking option and in Elrich and Cole they’ve got 2 pretty decent ones, Elrich especially has shown in the past his ability to get forward and create chances. This would also give them more width which would intern make them less predictable and potentially open up the middle of the park for Ono to do his thing.



In defence they’re a solid unit and are capable of being one of the leagues better defences on their day. As I mentioned above the fullbacks tend to be a little more defensive than most across the league, which is probably a consequence of not playing a defensive minded option in the midfield. Popovic opted for the trio of Poljak, Ono and Mooy last week and I expect something similar this week. Even the nominal ‘defensive’ midfielder Poljak was more of a creative type in his native Croatia.


Western Sydney Wanderers squad: 1. Ante Covic (Gk), 2. Shannon Cole, 3. Adam D’Apuzzo, 4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 6. Jerome Polenz, 7. Labinot Haliti, 8. Mateo Poljak, 10. Aaron Mooy, 11. Tarek Elrich, 12. Tahj Minniecon, 13. Joey Gibbs, 14. Kwabena Appiah-Kubi, 17. Youssouf Hersi, 19. MarkBridge, 20. Jerrad Tyson (Gk), 21. Shinji Ono, 23. Jason Trifiro * 3 to be omitted

Roar, Phoenix split the points in windy Wellington

Wellington Phoenix 1 (Huysegems 16’)

Brisbane Roar 1 (Berisha 39’)

Referee: Adam Kersey
Crowd: 9,134 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Brisbane Roar: Theo, Hingert, Smith, Jurman, Stefanutto, Paartalu, Murdocca, Nichols, Halloran, Broich, Berisha.
Substitutions:  Henrique for Halloran (77’), Takahashi for Hingert (91’).
Un-used substitutes: Acton, Fitzgerald.
Yellow Cards: Stefanutto (18’)

Red Cards: Nil

Wellington Phoenix: Paston, Bertos, Boxall, Sigmund, Lochhead, Ifill, Muscat, Smith, Fenton, Brockie, Huysegems.
Substitutions: Totori for Huysegems (61’), Boyd for Fenton (71’), Lia for Smith (82’)
Un-Used substitutes: Moss
Yellow Cards: Fenton (63’)
Red Cards: Nil

Brisbane today played their 3rd match of the 2012-13 season across the Tasman against Wellington and they’ll be returning to Australia with a point following the 1-1 draw. The conditions didn’t favour good football due to the strong winds around the New Zealand capital today which had an effect on both clubs tactics. All in all Wellington is notoriously a tough place of opposition sides to go and to come home with a point is a good result. Plenty of sides will return home with less.

Wellington took the lead early on after a sustained spell of dominance through a nice movement featuring their 3 best players on the day in Paul Ifill, Louis Fenton and Stein Huysegems. Ifill put in a cross which Fenton headed down into the path of Huysegems who proceeded past Jurman before slotting home past Theo in the bottom corner. It was a nice goal from Wellington, but a poor piece of defending from Brisbane, particularly Jurman who was caught asleep at the pivotal moment.

Brisbane’s reply wasn’t immediate but like Wellington’s goal- it had been coming as they peppered the Phoenix goal with 2 or 3 good opportunities including one where Berisha turned inside the 6 yard box but couldn’t beat Paston. So in the 36th minute Massimo Murdocca found a pocked of space inside the Wellington half and played a delightful ball through for Berisha to run onto. The Albanian got there and when he did he made no mistake with a delicate chip over the onrushing Paston into the vacant goal making it 1-1. While Berisha’s endeavour to make the run and the finish were brilliant, the credit for the goal must go to Murdocca for the excellent lead-up work from midfield.

The 2nd half was largely anti-climactic with neither side creating anything more than half chances in truth with both seemingly more concerned with not losing rather than pushing on for the 3 points. I guess given the circumstances for both (2 long trips early in the season for Brisbane, busy week for Wellington’s NZ contingent) that’s not overly surprising and both coaches seemed comfortable with the point.
Brisbane’s midfiield appeared to be somewhat off their game today with Nichols and Broich having two of their quieter games in some time. They still played their usual football at times and when they got the ball moving quickly in the front/middle thirds it was a joy to watch- just wish they’d do it more often. They tended to break down when they tried their new direct tactics, with both aerial and on the ground options proving to be fruitless most of the time- the goal being the one exception. This is down to Wellington defending deep with a bank of 4 defenders and two defensive minded midfielders in front of them which meant that Brisbane had to be precise with their forward play every time and at times they weren’t good enough.

The wind conditions didn’t help their cause today as it essentially took e the lofted ball over the top tactic off the table but the direct passing along the ground also broke down today- mainly due to Halloran imo. Nothing against him as he’s young and has a bundle of potential but I thought he got pushed off the ball too easily today and lost possession in good areas too often.  Berisha dropping deep to help link the play often also prevented the direct pass from being effective.

In defence I thought the back 4 dealt with a dangerous Wellington attack pretty well. Yes Jurman was caught out on the goal but that aside I thought that he had a solid game next to Smit who was his usual self. The fullbacks didn’t provide a great deal for mine especially Hingert on the right hand side. Perhaps he was told to be a little more conservative than usual due to the dangerous Ifill operating down his side most of the game, and if he was that’s probably a smart decision from Rado, but I thought he didn’t bring his best in the attack today for whatever reason.

Wellington for their part played in a similar vein to which they did last season against Brisbane with Herbert willing to allow them to have the ball inside their own half. He actually had a line of 4 (Ifill, Brockie, Huysegems, Fenton) about 5m inside his own half as his 1st line of pressure. This worked reasonably well for Wellington last year (the scored 3 goals from this tactic last season) and it worked somewhat today. They created their fair share of turnover and counter attacking opportunities but Ifill and co. weren’t slick enough to profit today. Perhaps Herbert also took a look at a DVD of last weeks game and decided against high pressure due to the threat of Ben Halloran in behimd.
In attack Wellington were extremely reliant on their wide players creating good opportunities by either cutting inside or crossing the ball. Their 2 fullbacks –especially Bertos- were implored to get forward wherever possible and support the front 4 and they did a reasonable job of that today. In the middle there was very little creativity provided by Smith and Muscat and they were essentially there to cancel out attacks. The interchanging of positions between Ifill, Fenton and at times Brockie was good to watch and they’ll be a better side for it once it clicks.


-Yuji Takahashi’s late cameo was his 1st appearance for Brisbane Roar and made him the 88th player to pull on the shirt. Congratulations to him.
– Today’s 1-1 draw makes it 3 games unbeaten at Westpac Stadium, dating back to January 2010. Considering the impressive run of form Wellington has had at home the past few seasons that’s a good record over there.
– Besart Berisha today equalled Sergio van Djik’s club record of 25 goals. Sergio got his in 50 games while Berisha got there in only 37 games. It should be pointed out purely in terms of goals in the A-League Berisha is still 2 behind van Djik but factoring in his two ACL goals he’s equal on goals. Mitch Nichols for his part is on 24.

Statistics: (via Fox Sports Football Match Tracker)

Player ratings:
Brisbane: Theo 7, Hingert 6, Smith 7, Jurman 6, Stefanutto 6, Paartalu 6, Murdocca 7, Nichols 6, Halloran 6, Broich 6, Berisha 7, Henrique 6, Takahashi 6.

Wellington: Paston 6, Bertos 7, Sigmund 7, Boxall 6, Lochhead 6, Ifill 7, Muscat 7, Smith 6, Fenton 7, Brockie 6, Huysegems 7, Boyd 6, Totori 6, Lia 6.

Up next:
Brisbane returns home to face new kids on the block Western Sydney Wanderers next Saturday night. The FFA run club is coming into the game on the back a defeat in the inaugural Sydney derby and hasn’t managed to find the net in their opening 3 matches.

Round 3 Match Preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Wellington Phoenix.

After last weeks delightful 5-0 win over Melbourne Victory, Brisbane Roar are back on the road this weekend for their one and only trip across the Tasman for the season to face in the in form Wellington Phoenix. Wellington- despite being severely undermanned- managed a credible 1-1 draw away to Melbourne Heart last start and should be far stronger with their manager and international players back in the fold.

Sunday, October 21

Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar

Venue: Westpac Stadium

Kick off: 4:30 PM (1.30pm Brisbane time)

Referee: Adam Kersey

Assistant Referees: Mark Rule and Glen Lochrie

Fourth official: Matt Conger
Likely starting line-ups:
Theo, Hingert, Smith, Jurman, Stefanutto, Paartalu, Murdocca, Nichols, Halloran, Berisha, Broich.
Subs: Acton, Takahashi, Brattan, Henrique.

Wellington: Paston, Bertos, Durante, Sigmund, Lochhead, Brockie, Smith, Muscat, Fenton, Ifill, Huysegmens.
Subs: Moss, Lia, Clarke, Totori.


So Brisbane won 5-0 last start against their former boss, so how do they get better? Well how about by welcoming back diminutive Brazilian Henrique. An attack that scored 5 goals last weekend against a mediocre at best Victory will only be more potent once he gets up to speed- but more about him in a minute. While Henrique is back, Ivan Franjic unfortunately misses out with an abductor strain. So who comes into the line-up to replace Ivan and what role does Henrique play?
Well the 1st question is easy- just like in round 1 against Perth, Jack Hingert will come into the side at right fullback. Now he didn’t have his best game against the Glory but he’s done well in the past when called upon and im convinced he’ll produce a better performance this week. As for Henrique, while it’s extremely tempting to bring him straight into the starting side, I just can’t see it. I mean the midfield/attacking third produced 5 goals last weekend and they all played their best. If he were to come into the side it would be in place of the extremely effective Massimo Murdocca, with Broich moving into a central role and Henrique playing out on the left hand side. Again- not happening, Atleast not this week. Henrique should be replacing Fitzgerald in the match day XV with Dong-Hyun joining the aforementioned Fitzgerald in missing out on the squad.
We all know how adept Brisbane are at playing out from the back and playing a short pass and move game, and we’ve heard about this ‘new’ style under Rado Vidosic but Saturday night was the 1st time we’ve really seen it in action- and I have to say, I like it. If teams are going to go with a full press and a supremely high defensive line it makes every bit of sense to use Halloran’s speed in behind where applicable. Im not so sure Wellington will press as much as Victory did on Saturday –partly because of the media discussion regarding Brisbane’s direct play- but it’s still a good weapon to have and makes the attack just that bit more dangerous.
Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Michael Theo (GK), 2. Matt Smith (c), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matt Jurman, 6. Erik Paartalu, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 10. Henrique, 11. Ben Halloran, 13. Yuji Takahashi, 16. Do Dong-Hyun, 17. Mitch Nichols, 18. Luke Brattan, 19. Jack Hingert, 20. Matt Acton (GK), 22. Thomas Broich, 24. Nick Fitzgerald. *Two to be omitted*



Ins: Henrique (returns from injury)

Outs: Ivan Franjic (abdominal strain – one week)

Unavailable: James Meyer (groin – one week)
The 1st thing to mention about Wellington is this- discard almost everything relating to last weekends 1-1 draw away to Melbourne Heart. Yes they played well, and yes it was a credible result, but it doesn’t represent the Wellington Phoenix we’ll be facing on Sunday afternoon with 7 players and their coach coming back into the team. The players however are bound to be a little leg weary having played 2 important games and that’s something Brisbane can exploit with their unbelievable fitness. Herbert has already indicated that Solomon Islander Benjamin Totori will be starting on the bench due to fatigue. Herbert has been quoted in the Wellington press where he basically suggested that they’ll be reverting back to the team that beat Sydney FC 2-0 in round 1, with the only change being the now fully fit Paul Ifill coming in for the fatigued Benjamin Totori.

Wellington are an extremely offensively minded side with the wide men –Ifill and Fenton- essentially acting as wide strikers in support of Brockie and Huysegmens, along with attacking fullback play from Bertos and Lochhead. There’s also a fair amount of interchanging of positions in the front 4 so expect Ifill to drift upfront at times, Brockie to pull wide right, Fenton to cut inside ect. They balance this out with essentially two defenders in the middle of the park –expected to be Manny Muscat and Alex Smith, although Vince Lia could replace Smith- to provide the solidity to prevent counter attacks. Pressing high up the pitch is this season’s fad across the A-League and Wellington is no exception. They seemed to be relatively successful with it against Sydney, although im not sure if that’s due to them being well organised with it or Sydney not having their game together yet. I guess they’ll be put to the test on that this weekend.

Wellington Phoenix squad:
1.Mark Paston (GK), 2. Manny Muscat, 3. Tony Lochhead, 5. Michael Boxall, 6. Alex Smith, 7. Leo Bertos, 8. Paul Ifill, 9. Benjamin Totori, 10. Stein Huysegems, 11. Jeremy Brockie, 12. Tyler Boyd, 15. Cameron Lindsay, 16. Louis Fenton, 17. Vince Lia, 18. Ben Sigmund, 19. Jimmy Downey, 20. Glen Moss (GK), 22. Andrew Durante (C), 28. Ricardo Clarke (four to be omitted).


Ins: Mark Paston (returns from international duty), Glen Moss (returns from international duty), Leo Bertos (returns from international duty), Ben Sigmund (returns from international duty), Tony Lochhead (returns from international duty), Jeremy Brockie (returns from international duty), Benjamin Totori (returns from international duty).
Outs: Luke Rowe (returns to Phoenix FSE), Scott Basalaj (returns to Phoenix FSE), Tom Biss (returns to Phoenix FSE), Jacob Spoonley (returns to Auckland City after one week loan).
Unavailable: Lucas Pantelis (knee injury – indefinite), Mirjan Pavlovic (medical condition – indefinite), Dani Sanchez (knee injury – 5 weeks)

All-time record against Wellington Phoenix:
Played 15: Won 9, Drawn 4, Lost 2. Goals for 27, Goals against 14. Goal difference +13.

At Westpac Stadium:
Played 6: Won 3, Drawn 2, Lost 1. Goals for 10, Goals against 6. Goal difference +4.

*In New Zealand:
Played 10: Won 4, Drawn 2, Lost 4. Goals for 13, Goals against 12. Goal difference +1

*Includes North Harbour Stadium (Auckland) and Forsythe Barr Stadium (Dunedin)

Brisbane run riot in home opener.

Brisbane Roar: 5 (Broich 21’, Paartalu 23’, Berisha 64’, 90+2’ Nichols 81’)

Melbourne Victory: 0

Crowd: 17,364 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.

Referee: Strebre Delovski

Brisbane Roar: Theo, Smith, Stefanutto, Jurman, Franjic, Paartalu, Murdocca, Halloran, Nichols, Broich, Berisha.
Substitutions: Fitzgerald for Nichols (84’), Brattan for Murdocca (89’)
Unused subs: Hingert, Acton.
Yellow cards: Jurman, Smith
Red cards: Nil

Melbourne Victory: Thomas, Dilevski, Leijer, Foschini, Traore, Finkler, Bru, Jeggo, Flores, Nabbout, Allsopp.
Substitutions: Markelis for Nabbout (62’), Celeski for Jeggo (63’), Broxham for Dilevski (83’)
Unused subs: Velaphi
Yellow cards: Jeggo, Allsopp, Broxham
Red cards: nil

How good was that? Beating Melbourne Victory at home with the added bonus of our former mentor being the Victory coach. Since im mentioning him now and I don’t want to make this entire thing about him I might as swell get it out the way now- I was a bit disappointed with his reactions post game. The weak hand shake with Rado and running off the field like as if he was in danger was a bit disappointing and distasteful imo, to borrow a phrase. IDK Gary Wilkins felt the need to rush over and be the 1st to shake Ange’s hand though- leave that to the coaches’ imo.

Ok- now that were done with that- onto the game and Brisbane lined up in their customary 4-3-3 shape with Massimo Murdocca coming into the starting line-up to replace Nick Fitzgerald and imo that is the best XI Brisbane has atm- Henrique included. Having the pace of Halloran on one side, the guile and genius of Broich on the other with Nichols’ goal scoring ability and the work rate of Murdocca and Paartalu is the best combination imo. Halloran in particular was outstanding imo last night with his forays down the right hand side and cutting inside- was very unlucky not to score.

Victory for their part were undermanned due to international selections to the point where Postecoglou had to rely on a kid plucked straight out of the VPL for their NYL squad who hadn’t even played for them yet in Andrew Nabbout. Their attack was lead by the perennially out of form Danny Allsopp which shows you just how short of firepower Victory are without talisman Archie Thompson.

Most of Brisbane’s goals were on the simple side with Victory’s defence being exposed time and again for its frailties. The 1st came from a quick throw in to a midfielder not tracked, who cut it back to another untracked midfielder to slot home. The 2nd came from quiet possibly the worst defending at a corner I’ve ever witnessed and the 3rd came from Victory having a high defensive line a simple ball clipped over the top to the onrushing attackers. The 4th came from a cross which Thomas couldn’t claim or clear and Nichols slotted into the empty net while the 5th was generated from a penetrating run inside from Halloran who had his shot blocked before Fitzgerald teed up Berisha. Atleast 4 of the 5 goals could have been avoided with better defensive organisation and im sure Postecoglou was particularly disappointed at that.

That’s not to take anything away from Brisbane and the way they played last night however- it was yet another masterclass from a team who’s dished out several such lessons in the past 2 seasons. What last night did show however is how the attack has been and will be varied under Rado. The dominant and 1st thought is always to play through sides with short passing movements, triangles and interplay but when that’s not on due to defensive pressure- rather than continue to do that at all costs they now look to get the ball forward quicker, either through the air or on the ground. And with a weapon like Halloran in the side why not. From a defensive perspective im sure everyone noticed the pressure Brisbane were putting on Victory last night and it’s going to be a theme against them this year and a problem for Ange to try and solve.


– This was head coach Rado Vidosic’s 1st win as Brisbane Roar head coach, so congratulations Rado.
– It was the 1st time Brisbane Roar has won the 1st match against a former head coach. The only previous Roar coach Brisbane has faced is Miron Bleiberg and the 1st time they faced his Gold Coast resulted in a 3-1 defeat.
– The win makes it 4 consecutive home wins against Melbourne Victory- a side which perennially came up here and took the 3 points how. To find the last defeat at home to Melbourne you need to go back to late 2009.

Via Fox Sports A-League Match tracker.

Player ratings:
Brisbane: Theo 7, Franjic 7, Jurman 7, Stefanutto 7, Paartalu 7, Nichols 8, Broich 8,  Murdocca 7, Halloran 8, Berisha 8, Fitzgerald 7, Brattan 7.

Melbourne: Thomas 5, Dilevski 5, Foschini 5, Leijer 5, Traore 5, Bru 6, Jeggo 6, Finkler 6, Flores 6, Allsopp 6, Nabbout 6, Broxham 6, Celeski 6, Markelis 6.

Up Next:
Brisbane faces a tricky trip across the Tasman to take on an in form Wellington Phoenix side who are currently unbeaten following a 1-1 draw this afternoon with Melbourne Heart.