Round 1 Preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Perth Glory

It’s back, finally! After the longest off-season in world football the A-League is back tonight with the Melbourne derby and our Brisbane boys will be in the west Sunday evening to take on Perth Glory. Pre-season is finally over and it’s time to get the season started. Here’s the details:

Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar
Sunday 7 October 2012

Venue: Pattersons Stadium, Perth
Local Kick-Off: 2.00pm AWST (5.00pm AEDT)
Referee: Shaun Evans
Assistant Ref’s 1: Rod Allen and Ryan Gallagher
4th Official: Adam Gehrig

n.b: Not 100% sure who the referee is for this game- on Wednesday FFA released their list of referee’s for week 1 and Ben Williams was assigned to the game, however yesterday when the squads went public it was Shaun Evans (as above).

Of course the main backdrop to this game is the whole ‘revenge’ thing after last season’s showpiece game and all the promotional work indicates our friends from the west haven’t moved on. I mean, there was clear contact, they had 0 shots on goal and they were down to 10 men- but hey if painting Berisha as the villain sells tickets more power to them. He’ll no doubt cop a tonne of abuse from Glory supporters but I don’t see it being a vital factor in the actual game, hopefully he’ll give them something new to moan about.

Likely Starting Line-ups:
Theo, Franjic, Smith, Jurman, Stefanutto, Paartalu, Nichols, Broich, Henrique, Berisha, Halloran.
Subs: Acton, Hingert, Murdocca, Dong-Hyun.

Perth: Vukovic, Risdon, Thwaite, van den Brink, Heffernan, Dodd, Miller, Burns, Jamieson, Smeltz, Mehmet.
Subs: Young, Pantelidis, McGarry, Nagai.

Rado Vidosic’s men have gone about their work quietly in the build-up, and the starting line-up seems to be set in stone- for this week atleast. There are however slight doubts over Franjic and Henrique with Groin and Heel injuries respectively. If those two are out the logical replacements would be for Jack Hingert to come in at right fullback and last year’s revelation Nick Fitzgerald in on the left wing. Pre-season results didn’t go exactly to plan, but it’s not worth reading too much into that given you don’t know what each team was trying to achieve in the games.

Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Michael Theo (GK), 2. Matt Smith, 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matt Jurman, 5. Ivan Franjic, 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.

Unavailable: James Meyer (groin – two weeks)

Perth have had a long pre-season including a 3 game tour to South Africa and will no doubt be looking to both i) get some revenge for the Grand Final, and ii) get this season off to a positive start. Much like the Roar it’s been a relatively quiet winter or the Glory with the majority of their big signings being made earlier in the off-season. They’ve strengthened their defence with the addition of Thwaite and of course Shane Smeltz will be a real danger if they can get him the ball. Look out for Travis Dodd down the right flank too- it was his burst that set up the goal on Grand Final day. If all goes as expected Glory will likely line-up in the same 4-4-2 formation as Grand Final day, however there’s also a chance he opts for a 4-4-1-1 with McGarry coming into the side to play just behind lone striker Smeltz.

Perth Glory Squad: 1.Danny Vukovic (GK), 3.Bas van den Brink, 4.Billy Mehmet, 5.Steve Pantelidis, 6.Nick Ward, 7.Jacob Burns (c), 8.Dean Heffernan, 9.Shane Smeltz, 10.Liam Miller, 11.Adrian Zahra, 12.Ryo Nagai, 13.Travis Dodd, 14.Steven McGarry, 15.Brandon O’Neill, 18.Jesse Makarounas, 19.Josh Risdon, 20.Neil Young (GK) 21.Scott Jamieson, 22.Ndumba Makeche, 23.Michael Thwaite

Unavailable: 16.Evan Berger (hamstring – 8 weeks), 17.Chris Harold

The most important thing for both sides in this match will be to settle quickly and get into their style of play and given both sides are largely similar to last season that shouldn’t take too long, and obviously the side that does this quickest and the most effectively stands a better chance of winning the game. We know how both of these sides like to play their football- especially Brisbane with their short passing, high possession style but Rado has hinted at being ‘more direct’ when the situation arises – so in that case look for early balls played wide to the wingers to exploit their pace in behind.

Glory tends to be a tad more direct than Brisbane in their approach but in Liam Miller they’ve got that creative ingredient that they need. Look for Michael Thwaite to begin to implement a slight alteration however given his expertise at playing out from defence. Both Glory and Brisbane will also look to play a high pressing game in order to win the ball back earlier in more dangerous positions as well and whichever team is more consistent in their ability to break the press will have an advantage.

Stat attack:
All-time record against Perth Glory:

Total: Played 22: Won 14, Drawn 5, Lost 3. Goals for 50, Goals against 27.

At Nib Stadium:

Total: Played 11: Won 7, Drawn 2, Lost 2. Goals for 23, Goals against 12.

*1st meeting at Pattersons Stadium



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