Season ReviewPosted: April 15, 2013
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll take a look back at the season that was, the success stories, the disappointments and take a brief look to what may lie ahead for next season. Later on we’ll look at different facets of the team and how the squad could be improved for next season, but for today we’ll start with a general overview of the season as a whole.
It was a relatively quiet close season for Brisbane after the immediate shock of losing Postecoglou right after the Grand Final and replacing him with long time assistant Rado Vidosic. New arrivals relatively sparse with just wingers Ben Halloran and Do Dong- Hyun plus defender Yuji Takahashi arriving as fresh faces in the squad. Matt Acton and James Donachie were also rewarded with first team status after impressing in the youth side. The biggest news infact in signing terms was the re-signing of many key contributors to long term extensions just prior to the season. Heading in the opposite direction were Sayed Mohamed Adnan, Issey Nakajima Farran, Andrew Redmayne, Matt Mundy and Kofi Danning.
On the park pre-season against the local clubs was again an enjoyable occasion with results going the way you would expect them too. Against A-League opposition however results were a tad concerning with Brisbane winning just 1 from 4 against their competitors, including a 6-2 thumping in Adelaide.
Round 1: Perth Glory (Mehmet 88’) 1-0 Brisbane Roar
Round 2: Brisbane Roar (Broich 21’, Paartalu 22’, Berisha x2 69’, 93’, Nichols 81’) 5-0 Melbourne Victory
Round 3: Wellington Phoenix (Huysegems 16’) 1-1 Brisbane Roar (Berisha 39’)
Round 4:Brisbane Roar 0-1 Western Sydney Wanderers (Bridge 19’)
The season began with a Grand Final rematch which was moved to Perth by the FFA to cash in on the whole ‘revenge’ angle and crowd wise it worked as Perth got a win late on via Mehmet. This game also saw the debut of both Ben Halloran and Do Dong-Hyun in Brisbane colours. The home opener the week after against Victory was a complete and utter domination from Brisbane as they handed ex boss Ange Postecoglou’ –who was unhappy with the pre-match comments calling them ‘distasteful and disrespectful’- new club their biggest ever defeat. The month was rounded out by a scrappy 1-1 draw across the Tasman, and a disappointing loss to the new kids Western Sydney who scored their 1st ever goal in the game.
Round 5: Brisbane Roar 0-1 Adelaide United (Vidosic 3’)
Round 6: Melbourne Heart (Gerhardt 19’, Garcia 62’, Tadic 70’, Williams 73’) 4-1 Brisbane Roar (Henrique 81’)
Round 7: Brisbane Roar (Broich 29’, Paartalu 32’, Halloran 44’, Berisha 56’) 4-2 Sydney FC (Del Piero x2 41’, 48’)
Round 8: Central Coast Mariners (Ibini 4’, Rogic 81’) 2-1 Brisbane Roar (Murdocca 32’)
November started with back to back defeats, firstly at home to Adelaide when the boss’ son scored an early free-kick, and then a 4-1 mauling by the Heart which saw Brisbane bottom of the table. The poor performance caused boss Rado Vidosic to call the performance ‘garbage’ and he publically questioned the playing groups hunger for future success- a statement which likely played apart in his departure. Brisbane bounced back from that with a vengeance, sweeping aside Alessandro Del Piero and his Sydney FC side at home with a thrilling 1st half display. The game also featured Ben Halloran’s 1st goal fro Brisbane. The month was rounded out with yet another defeat however, as not even a rare Massimo Murdocca goal was enough to keep Brisbane’s record of never losing in Gosford alive.
Round 9: Brisbane Roar (Berisha 39’ pen) 1-0 Newcastle Jets
Round 10: Western Sydney Wanderers (Ono 89’ pen) 1-0 Brisbane Roar
Round 11: Melbourne Victory (Milligan 48’) 1-1 Melbourne Victory (Halloran 24’)
Round 12: Brisbane Roar 0-1 Perth Glory (McGarry 44’)
Round 13: Adelaide United 0-1 Brisbane Roar (Henrique 64’)
December started off better, with a Besart Berisha penalty giving Brisbane the points over the Jets in a match that was remembered more for the bizarre sending off of Thomas Broich. That red card was rightfully rescinded as Brisbane suffered a 2nd defeat against the Wanderers via a late Ono penalty. It was then round II with Ange and Brisbane remained unbeaten against their former mentor, however this time they shared the spoils with Melbourne after Milligan cancelled out Halloran’s opener.
That however was to be the last game of the Rado Vidosic era as just days later the club announced that he had been ‘promoted’ to the role of Technical Director’. The managerial position was taken by Melbourne Victory W-League and former QAS and Gold Coast United boss Mike Mulvey. The announcement was something of a surprise with most fans expecting the long-time assistant to get longer to turn things around. The new boss however was only an interim appointment until the end of the season.
Mulvey’s 1st game just so happened to be a grand final rematch with Perth this time managing to hold a 1-0 win at Suncorp, thanks in part to two spurned chances by Berisha. Brisbane rounded out 2012 with a 1st win for Mulvey down in Adelaide with Henrique and Mitch Nichols combining nicely for the games only goal. The result meant that Mulvey got his 1st win as Brisbane boss in the same fixture Postecoglou did some 3 years earlier.
Round 14: Brisbane Roar (Berisha 14’, Halloran 57’) 2-1 Wellington Phoenix (Brockie 35’)
Round 15: Melbourne Heart (Williams 13’, Tadic 35’, Fred 53’) 3-2 Brisbane Roar (Berisha x2 74’ pen, 76’)
Round 16: Newcastle Jets (Griffiths 48’) 1-0 Brisbane Roar
Round 17: Brisbane Roar (Nichols 22’) 1-2 Western Sydney Wanderers (Bridge 65’, Hersi 69’)
Round 18: Perth Glory 0-1 Brisbane Roar (Meyer 15’)
There were no big celebrations on new years for Brisbane, with a new years game at home to Wellington and goals from Halloran and Berisha kick started 2013 with 3 points and back to back wins for the first time this season. It was however a false dawn with Brisbane going on to lose their next 3 matches –away to Heart, away to Jets and home to Western Sydney- before rounding out the month with a 1-0 win away to Perth courtesy of a James Meyer thunderbolt.
It was a month of change however with plenty of comings and goings in the transfer market. Mainstay of the championship winning seasons headed off to Chinese club Tianjin Teda following months of speculation. The big man departed with 85 games, 11 goals, a premiership and two championship winners’ medals from his two and a half year stay in Brisbane. Other departures included young winger Nick Fitzgerald who returned to the Central Coast Mariners, Rocky Visconte who headed south to the Western Sydney Wanderers, defender Yuji Takahashi saw his loan deal terminated early and young striker Anthony Proia was released before signing for NSWPL side Marconi.
Coming into the club were four new signings as Mulvey attempted to re-shape the playing roster. His first signing was that of central defender and sometime Socceroo Jade North from J League side Consadole Sapporo and he followed that up with young attacker Julies Doe from Melbourne Victory. Mulvey also opted for two loan signings with young midfielder Steve Lustica who worked with Mulvey previously at Gold Coast, and PSV attacking midfielder Stef Nijland brought in to provide more balance and attacking options in the midfield.
Round 19: Brisbane Roar (Berisha 47’, 69’) 2-2 Central Coast Mariners (McGlinchey 8’, McBreen 80’)
Round 20: Sydney FC (Del Piero 7’, Triantis 69’) 2-1 Brisbane Roar (Berisha 45’pen)
ACL play off: Buriram United 0-0 Brisbane Roar (Buriram won 3-0 on penalties)
Round 21: Brisbane Roar (Lustica 32’, Berisha 43’) 2-0 Wellington Phoenix
Round 22: Newcastle Jets 0-0 Brisbane Roar
February began with a match against CentralCoast which saw Brisbane turn on the style in attack but leave the back door open for the Mariners to get a draw out of the contest. Brisbane then took on another of their former managers for the first time with Frank Farina having taken charge of Sydney FC, and the former Roar boss got some revenge against the club who sacked him with a 2-1 win. Brisbane rounded out the month on the domestic scene with a 2-0 home win over Wellington and 0-0 draw away to Newcastle which saw Jade North incorrectly have a goal ruled out for offside.
February however was also the month that Brisbane was to begin its 2013 AFC Champions League campaign, and having seen their automatic qualification spot be taken away by the AFC and circumstances seeing them lose hosting rights, they’d have to travel to Thailand to take on Buriram United. They put up a gritty performance but were outplayed in large parts by their Thai opponents however they dug deep to force the game to penalties. Unfortunately none of Brisbane’s takers could find the mark and Brisbane missed out on a 2nd group stage appearance.
On the way home however the Brisbane board had decided that Mike Mulvey had done enough to warrant the job on a full time basis, announcing a 2 year extension for the under fire boss on arrival back in Brisbane. The decision was greeted with some scepticism from some fans who felt results didn’t justify the new deal, however the board outlined the good work Mulvey was doing behind the scenes as the catalyst for the decision.
Round 23: Adelaide United 0-1 Brisbane Roar (Halloran 82’)
Round 24: Brisbane Roar (Franjic 59’) 1-1 Melbourne Victory (Broxham 11’)
Round 25: Central Coast Mariners (Ibini 33’) 1-0 Brisbane Roar
Round 26: Brisbane Roar (Berisha 12’ pen, Broich 31’) 2-0 Melbourne Heart
Round 27: Brisbane Roar (Berisha 29’, Lustica 51’, Franjic 79’) 3-1 Sydney FC (Del Piero 84’)
March was the month that Mulvey really began to put his stamp on the team, and as the season came to a close you could see the players building in confidence. It all started down in Adelaide when Ivan Franjic moved forward in the formation to right wing in a move designed to create more balance down the right side. It worked, to devastating effect as Franjic had a man of the match performance before Halloran popped up late to give Brisbane 3 precious points. A 1 all draw with the Victory followed which saw Brisbane continue the run of not losing to Postecoglou, before a 1-0 loss in Gosford left Brisbane two games to secure a finals berth.
The first of those against the Heart was dealt with in clinical fashion and the 2-0 result moved Brisbane inside the top 6, and knocked their opponents out of the race. It then all came down to the final game of the season against Sydney FC, and Brisbane produced another solid display to secure finals football for a 3rd straight season, and continue a streak of not losing at home to Sydney which dates back to late 2007. The finals beckoned, and despite only finishing in 5th place and having to do it all on the road this time around, confidence was high as Brisbane were playing their best football of the season.
Elimination Final: Adelaide United (Vidosic 88’) 1-2 Brisbane Roar (Brattan 27’, Franjic 45’)
Semi Final: Western Sydney Wanderers (Kressinger 16’, Ono 71’) 2-0 Brisbane Roar
April ofcourse is finals time and for Brisbane that started down in Adelaide, where their late season charge ironically began about a month earlier, and just like that day Brisbane had no dramas. First half goals from Luke Brattan and Ivan Franjic effectively put the game to bed before Vidosic made it interesting late on, however Brisbane would hold on. But not without paying an injury price with Luke Brattan, Jack Hingert and Thomas Broich all injured in the clash and were in doubt for a semi-final meeting with Western Sydney just 5 days later.
As it turned out, both Broich and Brattan were fit for the Grand Final qualifer at a pacekd Parramatta Stadium ,however with Jack Hingert out Brisbane would be forced to move in former attacker Ivan Franjic back into his old right back spot. The Wanderers were the more clinical and better team on the day and ended Brisbane’s quest for a 3rd successive championship with goals from Dino Kressinger and Shinji Ono giving the new boys a 4th victory of the season against Brisbane and a 1st ever Grand Final berth for them.
It was yet another good season for Brisbane, who played their 200th game of life in the A-League along the way and although it didn’t end in the ultimate success this time around, there were some positive signs late in the season that give hope for next season that Brisbane will once again be right there fighting for the prizes in the finals.