Brisbane have today confirmed the arrival of two young players- Dimitri Petratos and Diogo Ferreira for the upcoming season. Both players have been training with the team in pre-season and have signed one year deals and they’ll be available for the Roar Roadshow kicking off against Lions on July 16.
Ferreira is a 23 year old utility who can play in the middle of midfield and at right fullback and provides depth to the squad. Diogo made 52 appearances for the Melbourne Victory from 2010-2013 after coming through their youth system before struggling for game time last season under Postecoglou. He’s also got experience in the FC Porto youth system as well as a few appearances for the Olyroos in their London 2012 qualifying campaign Diogo made just the 8 appearances last season before falling out of favour.
Petratos is a 20 year old attacker who can play out wide, in behind the striker and even as a striker if necessary which provides good depth in attack. He started out coming through the Sydney youth system before making 30 appearances for Sydney FC- scoring 5 goals from 2010-12 before being moved on last year. He made a surprising move to FC Kelantan in Malaysia where he apparently played 7 games –scoring 4 goals. He also has represented Australia at all Junior levels including at the 2011 U-20 World Cup.
Both players are in all likelihood back-ups, but they should hopefully be able to provide competition and they add to the squad’s young core. Their additions take the squad size to 19 players, with Kwame Yeboah and Ben Liftin as full time NYL players bringing the total to 21. Brisbane still has to add at least one more player to fulfil the minimum requirement of 20, and can add up to four more (total of 23). They also have one full-time NYL spot free. There are still likely to be a couple more signings to be added to the squad, namely another central midfielder, and probably another striker/attacking player.
Ferreira will wear the #14 shirt previously worn by Steven Lustica and Rocky Visconte last year, while Petratos takes the #23 shirt previously belonging to Anthony Proia. The current free numbers are: 4, 6, 8, 9, 17 and 21.
Current Brisbane Roar squad as at June 27th- by position and number:
Goalkeepers: 1: Theo, 20: Acton.
Defenders: 2: Smith, 3: Stefanutto, 5: Franjic, 13: North, 15: Donachie, 19: Hingert, 26: Brown.
Midfielders: 11: Miller, 12: Davies (Doe), 14: Ferreira, 16: Dong-Hyun, 18: Brattan, 22: Broich, 25: Lambadaridis, ??: Liftin.
Forwards: 7: Berisha, 10: Henrique, 23: Petratos, 29: Yeboah.
It’s been a relatively quite few weeks around the Roar since the arrival of Liam Miller and departure of Ben Halloran. But that should hopefully pickup in the lead-up to the opening Roar Roadshow fixture against Queensland Lions 3 weeks from tonight. Despite the lack of transfer activity, there is a bit of news and rumour around the place, so let’s round up the latest rumours, starting with the moves the club has made official.
In: Liam Miller (Perth)
Out: Ben Halloran (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Mitch Nichols (Melbourne Victory), Steven Lustica (Hajduk Split- loan return), Massimo Murdocca (Melbourne Heart), Matt Jurman (Sydney FC), Stef Nijland (PSV Eindhoven- loan return), James Meyer (Released).
It is also worth keeping in mind that a lot of the planning for next season was done in the January window -with the additions of Jade North and Julius Doe, in addition to loan duo Lustica and Nijland which have since returned to their parent clubs- and this is a point Mulvey made last night on 2MM radio show Soccer Stoppage Time.
There is no doubt however that new signings need to be made, and there have been more than a few names linked in the recent weeks from a variety of places including the local state leagues. Mulvey spoke glowingly about the NPL Queensland last night and reports suggest there has been a few players from the state league at Roar pre-season training in recent weeks. Sunshine Coast FC’s French winger Nico Bechar (pictured), Olympic FC’s Jai Ingram, Brisbane City’s Antonio Murray and Palm Beach duo Jarrod Kyle –ex Sydney striker-, and Chris Lucas all getting their chance to train with the Roar this pre-season. Young Jai Ingram especially has received glowing reports for his performances for the table topping Olympic this season. In addition to all of that, the BPL is not being left out either with Queensland Lions German midfielder Jura Gros also being invited to train in the past week. There have also been a few of last season’s NYL squad at training as well including Fraser Chalmers and Brandon Borello amongst others.
It’s not just local products however that have been on Mulvey’s radar and invited to train with the team, former Sydney FC attacker Dmitri Petratos has been at Ballymore this week and Mulvey indicated last night that he was looking sharp. He also however refused to be drawn on speculation that a deal had already been done, only saying that ‘We may choose to make an offer in the future’. In addition to Petratos, former Melbourne Victory utility Diogo Ferreira has also been training with the team in recent weeks. For those unaware he’s a CM/DM type who has also filled in at RB at times for the Victory, but was largely unsighted last season as the Postecoglou revolution kicked into gear in the Victorian capital. Matt Thompson also revealed last night that he is also training with Brisbane, but he also indicated it was more to keep him fit than anything, with a clear preference to try his luck overseas.
There has also been some foreign players linked with Brisbane since the last update, starting with FC Utrecht’s Eduardo Duplan. Mulvey reportedly went to Utrecht to scout the teammate of former Roar players Adam Sarota, Michael Zullo and Tommy Oar, however the Frenchman has decided to remain in Europe opting to sign a new deal with the club. Duplan isn’t the only player linked however, with reports emerging a week or so ago that Scottish striker James Keatings is reportedly set to come down to Australia for a trail. The former Celtic striker who was released at the end of the season had a prolific goalscoring record in the clubs academy team, before a serious knee injury saw him miss a large chunk of his development. He’s recently spent time out on loan at St Johnstone and Hamilton.
It’s not just in Europe either where players are reportedly being linked to Brisbane, with four players from Arema FC –owned by Brisbane owners the Bakrie Group- also linked to the club. Kurnia Meiga, Yandi Sofyan Munawar, Victor Igbonefo and Thierry Gathuessi were all named in the Indonesian press as having caught the eye Mulvey and the board on a recent trip. Im not sure that much stock should be put in this story, because last night Mulvey didn’t mention any Indonesians when asked about foreign players- preferring only to mention a player in Costa Rica and another in the Netherlands when asked. He also went on to stress the importance of foreign players having something more to offer than the local players here in Australia.
There is no doubt that new players are needed, and will arrive before the kick off in October, with Mulvey indicating last night that 3-4 positions atleast are available in the squad. He also stressed however that patience would be shown in order to make the best decisions for the club going forward. There does seem to be a clear preference for younger players this season however, with Mulvey talking glowingly of his achievements at the Gold Coast with such a young side.
There’s a couple of possible explanations for that transfer policy, if indeed it does exist- it could be that Mulvey has a preference for working with younger players and bringing out the potential in them, and given his history with the QAS and what he showed at the Gold Coast that would make some sense. It could be that the first XI is largely set in stone and backs are being sought. It could even be an indication that the club are close to the salary cap which would make some sense given the long term contracts handed out last off-season and the recent additions of Liam Miller and Jade North. In truth, it’s probably a combination off all that and more as the club has a history of giving young players with potential a chance- just look at those in the recent Socceroos squad as examples. Regardless, when they do announce some new signings, we’ll bring it to you here.
The Socceroos are going to Brazil! A year from now Australia will compete in a 4th Word Cup, and a 3rd in succession, and both current and former Brisbane players have been crucial to qualifying with no less than 9 players in the squad. It’s not just at the Socceroos level however that Brisbane have been developing players for the national team, so lets take a look through Brisbane’s role in the recent success of the Australian National Teams.
Starting with the Socceroos, Brisbane’s presence in the squad has grown steadily over the past 12-18 months to the point where there was no less than 9 current or former player in the squad. Brosque, Ognenovski, Vidosic, McKay, Kruse, Zullo, Oar, Franjic and Jade North were apart of the recent squad that sealed qualification to Brazil 2014. In addition to that Mitch Nichols, Erik Paartalu and Adam Sarota have all either player or been apart of the extended squad in the World Cup campaign.
In terms of tournament squads, Brisbane had three former players at South Africa 2010, with Dario Vidosic, Craig Moore and Tommy Oar all either making the final 23, or being apart of the extended squad. Expect that number to be atleast doubled in 12 months time. The Asian Cup of 2011 also saw a distinct Brisbane flavour to the squad with the then club captain Matt McKay putting on some standout showings in the midfield. Kruse, Vidosic and Ognenovski all played their parts in the run to the final aswell.
It’s not just at the senior level though, with the U/20 World Cup kicking off in Turkey over the weekend, and Brisbane’s James Donachie will fly the flag for the Roar in a tournament which has seen many young emerging Brisbane players take part. He’ll be joined in Turkey by his former NYL teammate Jason Geria who’s since departed for Melbourne Victory. Through the years players like Danning, Oar and Acton (2011) and DeVere, Nichols, Oar and Minnieccon (2009) have all represented the Roar at the tournament. At Olyroos level Mitch Nichols was the captain for the ill-fated attempts to qualify for London 2012 and was joined at various times by Danning, Visconte, Redmayne DeVere and Fitzgerald, meanwhile in the Beijing 2008 campaign Vidosic, Zullo and Kruse all played a role in qualifying but were left out of the tournament when it came around.
It’s also important to point out it’s not just in the men’s game where Brisbane players are hogging the limelight in the international team, with the Matildas also having a strong Brisbane contingent lead by current captain of the women’s national team Clare Polkinghorne. The women recently played a two game series with New Zealand that saw 9 girls in the squad. (Polkinghorne, Carroll, Alleway, Popovic, Kellond-Knight, Butt, Chapman, Gorry and Gielnik). There were also 7 players in both the 2011 World Cup squad which reached the quarter finals, and the 2010 Asian Cup which they won on penalties in the final.
While other clubs have had their hand in the development of the players aswell down the years, it’s fantastic to see so many either current or former players in the national teams, and as we all look forward to booking our tickets to Rio, there could be more than a couple familiar faces in the squad as we take on the worlds best.