Round 14 preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Wellington Phoenix.

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Happy New Year everyone, hopefully you all enjoyed the beginning of 2013 last night, but its game day and a vitally important one for Brisbane’s chances this season. They take on a Wellington side who’ve been inconsistent at best this season and have struggled to get points on the road.

Likely line-ups:
Brisbane:
Theo, Franjic, Donachie, Smith, Stefanutto, Paartalu, Nichols, Broich, Halloran, Berisha, Henrique.
Subs: Acton, Jurman, Murdocca, Fitzgerald.

 

Wellington: Paston, Bertos, Sigmund, Durante, Lochhead, Sanchez, Muscat, Lia, Fenton, Boyd, Brockie.
Subs:
McMaster, Smith, Totori, Huysegems.

While Boxing Day provided a much needed win, we shall find out tonight if it was the start of a 2nd half run, or just another false dawn. They did play well last week but there’s still some work to be done especially in the final third with movement off the ball. The build up through the lines however was pleasing and looked to be getting back to something similar to what worked so well in 2010/11 and 2011/12. Mulvey made a few interesting comments to the press yesterday about making some tweaks to the system. Hopefully those tweaks are more successful than those of his predecessor.

 

 

Mulvey also hinted at a firm line drawn in the sand regarding last seasons’ success and that being the past. He’s right, but it was interesting to hear him stress the point. In terms of the squad it’s the same XV who played against Adelaide who get the nod so that should provide some certainly. The only question is- will he make any switches to the starting line-up? My guess is no, however Halloran didn’t have his best game and he has started some sort of rotation policy amongst the midfielders.

Wellington for their part arrive in Brisbane on the back of a 3-2 win against an equally desperate Melbourne Heart side who for some reason decided to spend the entire 2nd half camped inside their own 18 yard box while leading 2-0. Their form in Australia has never been overly impressive but they’ve picked up just the two points on their travels this season to date. Their record in Brisbane isn’t a lot better with 6 defeats and two draws in 8 trips to Suncorp.

One of those draws however was last season in a game where they sat deep and hit on the counter to snatch a 1-1 draw at time when Brisbane seemed to be steamrolling the league. They do also have good recent history with Brisbane given they’ve lost just once in the last 4 meetings and scored plenty of goals in the process. The key to Wellington’s success against Brisbane is their ability to get the ball forward quickly exploiting the spaces left by Brisbane’s expansive attacking style.

 

 

They are however missing the pace upfront of Paul Ifill who’s been a key to their play against the Roar. Totori offers the same threat pace wise, but isn’t half the player Ifill is. In midfield they’re more industrial than mercurial and they tend to rely on the width of players like Brockie, Fenton and Bertos to provide the creativity for the strikers.

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