Season Preview: Brisbane Roar FCPosted: October 2, 2012
Regular Season: 2nd.
Asia: Group Stage.
It was another highly successful season for Brisbane Roar, following on from last seasons’ double and epic grand final victory, Postecoglou got the side off to a fantastic start in the league- going unbeaten in the first two months of the competition to claim the record of longest unbeaten run in any Australian football code. They then proceeded to go on and lose the next 5 matches with key players such as Thomas Broich, Henrique and Matt Smith all missing large chunks of game time. They turned it around on New Year’s Eve with a 3-1 victory over Melbourne which began a stretch that saw them lose just one of their remaining 14 regular season games. Brisbane came ever so close to defending the Premiers Plate on the final day of the season but Central Coast’s 2-1 win across the Tasman meant that Roar’s 2-1 win over Gold Coast became meaningless in the pursuit of the plate, always nice to beat your rivals though.
In the finals they ran into an old adversary in Graham Arnolds’ Central Coast Mariners with the 1st leg being in Brisbane this time around and they got off to a flyer with Henrique giving them the lead very early before Erik Paartalu grabbed a vital 2nd late in the game giving them a good advantage heading into the 2nd leg. That 2nd leg in Gosford was essentially over after just 20 minutes as Broich and Nichols gave them an early lead. Central Coast tried to mount a mammoth comeback levelling the match at 2-2 before Henrique broke clear on the counter to slot home the winner. Brisbane won the tie 5-2 on aggregate and would host the Grand Final again. Central Coast would go on to lose to Perth the following week on penalties.
Grand Final day was beginning to take a similar shape to that of the previous season with the unfancied visitors taking a shock lead- this time instead of Adam Kwasnik scoring from a scrappy corner it was Travis Dodd bursting away down the right before the ball unfortunately deflected off Ivan Franjic and into the net. Just as it looked like being Perth’s day Broich got the ball on the left just outside the box and the rest as they say is history. Berisha headed home, Brisbane were level, Heffernan was sent off for a 2nd stupid foul and then came the talking point. With barely 30 seconds on the clock Brisbane launched an attack through the middle resulting in Broich playing a lovely little pass around the corner to Broich and Liam Miller was adjudged to have brought down Berisha, the referee pointed to the spot as Perth tried in vain to overturn the decision. Berisha picked himself up and after almost doing a lap in celebration at winning the penalty slotted home the winner and that was that.
The Asian campaign wasn’t nearly as successful as the domestic one- 6 games, no wins and just 2 draws to show for their efforts. It was a rough welcome to life in Asian footballs’ continental competition as FC Tokyo and Ulsan Hyundai progressed to the knockout round ahead of Brisbane and Beijing. Many lessons were learned and it should hopefully leave Brisbane in good stead going into our 2nd crack at the competition next year.
The W-League girls had yet another successful season making it into their 4th straight Grand Final before losing to the unbeaten Canberra United in the Grand Final. Coach Jeff Hopkins is now Rado Vidosic’s right hand man and the reins have been handed over to Belinda Wilson. The NYL boys also had a strong showing last season finishing 2nd in their season with Central Coast Mariners taking out the trophy.
Manager: Rado Vidosic
Long-time assistant Rado Vidosic was finally given his chance to shine in the top job when Ange Postecoglou decided that he wanted a new challenge and walked out 48 hours after the Grand Final. Rado has been assistant to Miron Bleiberg, Frank Farina and of course Ange in his time here, but he was also the clubs NYL manager for the 1st two seasons of that competition before returning purely to being the Assistant. He has also managed one match previously in the period following the departure of Frank Farina- a 3-0 home defeat to Central Coast Mariners. Tactically we all know how Brisbane play- and I don’t think too much will be different this season.
1. Michael Theo, 2. Matt Smith, 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matthew Jurman, 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paartalu, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 10, Henrique, 11. Ben Halloran, 13. Yuji Takahashi, 14. Rocky Visconte, 15. James Donachie, 15. Do Dong-Hyun, 17. Mitch Nichols, 18. Luke Brattan, 19. Jack Hingert, 20. Matt Acton, 21. James Meyer, 22. Thomas Broich, 23. Anthony Proia, 24. Nick Fitzgerald, 25, George Lambadaridis, 26. Corey Brown.
Ben Halloran (Gold Coast United), Matt Acton (Brisbane Roar NYL), Do Dong- Hyun (South Korea), Yuji Takahashi (Kyoto Sanga- 1 year loan), James Donachie (Brisbane Roar NYL)
Andrew Redmayne (Melbourne Heart), Issey Nakajima-Farran (AEK Larmaca- Cyprus), Matt Mundy (Rochedale Rovers), Sayed Mohamed Adnan (Al Arabi SC- Kuwait), Kofi Danning (C.S Vise- Belgium)
Key in: Do Dong-Hyun.
South Korean Do has looked very lively through the pre-season on the left side of midfield with his pace and trickery adding an extra dimension to the attack. It also provides the extra benefit of moving Thomas Broich into a more central position which will give him even more possibilities to link up and create the play.
Key out: Sayed Mohamed Adnan.
The only player departing who played a significant role in the run to the championship last season, he had his fair share of critics but did a good job for most of the season. The challenge is now for one of Matt Jurman, Yuji Takahasi or even young James Donachie to step in and form a solid partnership alongside Matt Smith.
Possible starting line-up:
Let’s be honest, where aren’t they strong? They’ve got one of the top keepers in the league, a strong defence capable of launching attacks, midfielders who can play and score goals, and for good measure they’ve got a striker who netted 22 times in all competitions last season. Their biggest strength however is that the core have been together for 2 seasons now with minimal changes and they will always believe in their style of game and play true to it right til the death.
I’ll admit im clutching at straws here but the only potential weakness I see right now is the defensive partner to Matt Smith. Jurman is going to get the 1st crack at filling it and if he doesn’t Takahashi will- but it still remains the only question mark over the side moving forward. That and the question ‘Is Rado up to the top job?’
One to watch: Ben Halloran
The youngster set the league alight last season for an unstable Gold Coast outfit and will undoubtedly be better off in a more stable environment. Could he be the latest youngster to emerge in Brisbane’s ever growing list of attacking products?
Brisbane Olympic 0-5 Brisbane Roar
Ipswich Select XI 1-5 Brisbane Roar
Peninsula Power 0-2 Brisbane Roar
Rochedale Rovers 1-1 Brisbane Roar
Redlands United 4-5 Brisbane Roar
Newcastle Jets 1-0 Brisbane Roar
Adelaide United 6-2 Brisbane Roar
Brisbane Roar 5-1 Sydney FC
Brisbane Roar 0-1 Central Coast Mariners