Match Preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Central Coast Mariners

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This is a massive game at both ends of the ladder, with Brisbane scrapping away for a lower ranked finals berth, while the Mariners remain a slim chance of stealing the Premiership away from Western Sydney.

 

Squads:

Brisbane:

1. Michael Theo (gk), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matt Jurman, 5. Ivan Franjic, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 9. Stef Nijland, 10. Henrique, 11. Ben Halloran, 13. Jade North, 14. Steven Lustica, 15. James Donachie, 17. Mitch Nichols, 18. Luke Brattan, 19. Jack Hingert, 20. Matt Acton (gk), 22. Thomas Broich (c), 25. George Lambadaridis, 26. Corey Brown (Four to be omitted)

 

 

Central Coast:

1. Mathew Ryan (Gk), 2. Daniel McBreen, 3. Joshua Rose, 4. Pedj Bojic, 5. Zachary Anderson, 6. Patrick Zwaanswijk, 7. John Hutchinson (c), 8. Adriano Pellegrino, 9. Bernie Ibini, 11. Oliver Bozanic, 13. Brent Griffiths, 14. Michael McGlinchey, 15. Brad McDonald, 16. Trent Sainsbury, 17. Anthony Caceres, 18. Nick Montgomery, 19. Mitchell Duke, 20. Justin Pasfield (Gk), 21. Mile Sterjovski, 29. Nick Fitzgerald (Five to be omitted)

 

 

Expected starting line-ups:

Brisbane: Theo, Hingert, Donachie, North, Stefanutto, Brattan, Lustica, Franjic, Nijland, Broich, Berisha.
Subs: Acton, Halloran, Nichols, Henrique.
Omitted: Brown, Jurman, Murdocca, Lambadaridis.

 

Central Coast: Ryan, Bojic, Sainsbury, Zwaanswijk, Rose, Montgomery, McGlinchey, Hutchinson, Sterjovski, McBreen, Ibini.
Subs: Pasfield, Anderson, Bozanic, Fitzgerald.
Omitted: Pellegrino, McDonald, Griffiths, Caceres, Duke

 

 

Form:
Brisbane: DWDWL
Central Coast: LLWLW

 

 

Top scorers:
Brisbane: Besart Berisha (12)
Central Coast: Daniel McBreen (15)

 

Season results:
Round 8: Central Coast Mariners (Ibini 4’, Rogic 81’) 2-1 Brisbane Roar (Murdocca 32’)
Round 19: Brisbane Roar (Berisha x2- 49’, 69’) 2-2 Central Coast Mariners (McGlinchey 8’, McBreen 80’)

 

Just like every match at this phase of the season, this is a massive one for both sides, more so Brisbane than Central Coast because atleast the Mariners are guaranteed finals football. Brisbane’ form in recent week has been rather impressive, with Mulvey’ side unbeaten in four since his long term appointment, meanwhile the Mariners have lost 3 of the past 4 and all but lost their grip on the top spot. Despite Brisbane’ impressive run of form in recent weeks, they are still out of the finals places with just three rounds to go, games are beginning to run out quickly.

Brisbane’s base for their recent success has been built on a solid defence with just one goal conceded since the 2-1 defeat away to Sydney FC. While the back 4 have rightly been getting a lot of plaudits for their work, the two screening midfields, and Ivan Franjic on the right getting back and tracking the midfield runners has also made a big impact. Jade North’s recent form has also been recognised with a Socceroos call-up- Congratulations to him, but it does cause an interesting dilemma for Mulvey. More on that next week however.

In attack, Mulvey has highlighted the combinations now in the wider areas that weren’t there previously and that’s defiantly helped create more chances for the side. They’ve still however only scored the 28 goals for the season -3rd lowest in the league-, so they will need to start converting some of those chances to lock up a finals berth. They’ll also need to get more out of Nijland, he’s making space well for Broich and others but it’s just not clicking for him atm.

Central Coast have had a difficult time in recent weeks, with three losses in 4 in the A-League, and they’re also winless in two games in their ACL campaign. Add the poor form to the travel they’ve done and there’s a lot of reasons to like Brisbane’ chances this weekend. Central Coast however have been using something of a rotation policy with 1st team regulars Pedj Bojic, Josh Rose, Mile Sterjovski and top scorer Daniel McBreen all rested from the midweek ACL fixture.

 

Despite their recent dip in form, the Mariners are still an extremely strong side. They’re very well organised on the defensive side of the ball with everyone knowing their job. Typically they defend from the halfway line with the strikers peeling wide and the defence and midfield compact, allowing them to win the ball and hit sides quickly on the counter. In attack they’ve got the league’s top scorer in McBreen and the pacey Ibini who’s a constant threat. Their best player since the turn of the year however has been Michael McGlinchey, who’s recently added goals to his game and is quietly becoming one of the leagues premiere midfielders playing in the slightly advanced role formerly held by Rogic at times.

 

The two previous meetings this season have by and large gone Mariners way, with the Gosford side finally getting a home win over Brisbane (1st in their history) and a draw up here in January. In the 1st game Brisbane were in the midst of their disintegration that ultimately saw Rado replaced by Mulvey, and they made some really poor decisions that day. The second game in January was a much improved performance- in attack atleast with Berisha getting a brace that really should have secured the win. Due to some poor defending however Brisbane would have to settle for a point. Hopefully Brisbane can lean on their great historical record at Bluetongue stadium and secure a vital 3 points on Sunday afternoon.

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