Season Preview: Strikers

In the lead-up to season 9 of the A-League we’ll be doing an extensive preview of the Brisbane Roar squad position by position examining the clubs options- today we finish the series by looking at the strikers.

The Starter: Besart Berisha.
713106-brisbane-roar Last season was another stellar year for the Albanian marksmen, adding another 14 goals to his tally and in the process becoming the clubs all-time leading goal scorer with 35. Last season his role changed however; he went from playing on the shoulder of the last man making diagonal runs in behind all of the time, to dropping off the front line while Nichols or Nijland made the run in behind. For mine he’s at his best when he’s on the shoulder of the last man and im hoping he returns to that role this year.

Berisha, 28, made 28 appearances last season upfront scoring team leading 14 goals in just over 2500 minutes of game-time. He’s continued the goal scoring form in the pre-season and will once again be right up there in the goal scoring charts this season.

The Back-Up: Unknown
Honestly it could be any of the following- Yeboah, Petratos, Henrique or Borrello and it could come down to whose in form and fit at the time should a backup be required. At a guess I’ll say that Petratos will get the first chance to fill the role, but in truth none of the above would be my preference. If there’s any room remaining in the salary cap then a backup #9 would be by far the biggest need area to fill.

Youth: Brandon Borrello
I don’t actually know a great deal about Brandon other than that he’s a versatile attacker who can play both right wing and upfront, and I cant actually remember seeing him play. He only made the two starts early last season for Sime’s youth side before off the radar, however Mulvey has indicated he’s got a bright future and will train with the first team squad. He’ll likely spend the year in the youth squad. 9-2030401-twb180913roar6_t639

Having the leagues best #9 in Berisha upfront should guarantee you at least 10 goals this season if he stays fit, but the squads problem from last year remains the same. There wasn’t an adequate backup last season, and there still isn’t one. Yeboah is a good attacker, however he’s not a natural striker and wasn’t overly effective against the Mariners, while Henrique and Petratos have struggled as strikers in this league in the past. Mulvey was overruled in his attempts to sign Antonio Murray by the front office, hopefully that decision doesn’t come back to bite them.

Other Previews: Other Previews: Goalkeepers, Right Backs, Left Backs, Centre Backs, Centre Midfielders, Right Wing,Left Wing.

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Season Preview: Left Wing

In the lead-up to season 9 of the A-League we’ll be doing an extensive preview of the Brisbane Roar squad position by position examining the clubs options- today were taking a look at the left wingers.

The Starter: Thomas Broich.
Despite last season being a disappointing one for a lot of reasons, Broich continued to perform at his regular level and was one of the driving forces for the behind the revival last season. When Smith went down with injury, it was Broich who stepped up to lead the side, including in the ACL playoff loss away to Buriram. 932233-thomas-broich

Broich, 32, continued his stellar form for the club- making 30 appearances in all competitions, adding 2 goals and 11 assists to the side in just over 2500 minutes of game-time. He’s been impressive in pre-season action when he’s played, although he has been wrapped in cotton wool in recent weeks to make sure he’s ready for the start of the new season. All signs are however that the clubs marquee man will be at his best for the start of the season.

The Back-Up: Dimitri Petratos 541795_551657311555641_285820580_n
The back-up could actually be nominal defender Corey Brown after his solid showings this pre-season, but new signing Petratos will also be in the mix should something happen to Broich. The Sydney native made 30 appearances for his hometown team –scoring 5 goals- before falling out of favour with then coach Ian Crook. Following his transfer from Sydney to Malaysian side Kelantan around this time last year, he only made the 6 appearances in the AFC Cup, however he reportedly scored 4 goals in the competition. In pre-season he’s shown his versatility playing in a variety of roles, however he’s predominantly been used on the left side. He’s most likely to be seen as an impact sub off the bench this year.


The Back-Up: Julius Doe
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Signed in the January window as a replacement for Rocky Visconte who headed to Western Sydney, Doe struggled to make his mark on the squad. Doe, 18, made just the two cameo appearances off the bench last season in the A-League before being banished to the youth side. He made just the 4 appearances in the youth side before the end of the season, scoring once. He’s got a touch of the Kofi Danning about him imo, in that he’s lively and can beat defenders but the pass, cross or shot is often lacking. In pre-season he’s more been used as a central midfielder on the left side rather than a winger, but I think he’s likely to start down the pecking order, and probably will spend the year in the youth side.

Youth: Patrick Theodore
Patrick+Theodore+National+Youth+League+Rd+pcbTSGynF1Ul I didn’t actually see him play a great deal in the youth side last season, in fact I can only remember seeing him play in the two games- both of which he looked lively on the left flank. He’s fairly direct in that gets the ball and heads for goal, and he’s also got a fair bit of pace. He only started the 2 games last season, however he scored 4 goals in his 6 appearances showing his potential. Mulvey has said he’s training every day with the first team squad to accelerate his development, but im not sure we’ll see him this season in the A-League. H

Broich is obviously one of the leagues top players, but after him there’s a significant drop off down to the unproven Brown, Doe and Petratos. It’s more important than ever that Broich remains healthy this year- especially given their horrendous record without him in the side.

Other Previews: Other Previews: Goalkeepers, Right Backs, Left Backs, Centre Backs, Centre Midfielders, Right Wing


Season Preview: Right wing

In the lead-up to season 9 of the A-League we’ll be doing an extensive preview of the Brisbane Roar squad position by position examining the clubs options- today were taking a look at the right wingers.

The Starter: Ivan Franjic.
Not many would have predicted this 12 months ago but after a solid showing in the back end of last season, Ivan will start the season on right side of attack. The versatile right sided player was pushed further forward last season for what Mulvey called the need for balance on the right side of the pitch, and he didn’t disappoint with 3 goals late in the season to help book a finals berth. 939418-roar-goal

Franjic, 26, made 24 starts last season -3 goals- totalling just under 2100 minutes of game-time and he showed his versatility in doing so. Ivan started out as the right fullback in the early rounds before injury and form necessitated him to move into the heart of the defence for a few rounds. All of that before he eventually found himself in the front third as a goal scoring weapon. He’s spent this pre-season playing both wide right in attack, and also at times in the middle of the park- so we should see more of the attacking, goal scoring Franjic this season rather than the fullback version as he looks to get back into the Socceroos squad after his call-ups for the June qualifiers and July’s East Asian Cup.

The back-up: Henrique 929101-15385110-640-360
It might seem harsh to call Henrique the back-up, but after Franjic’s solid showing, and his own injury problems he appears to be on the outside looking in right now. Henrique, 28, didn’t have the best time of it last season, making just the 9 starts -16 appearances in total- for the side last year, with just the 2 goals to his credit and just over 750 minutes of game time. Late in the season under Mulvey he was something of an impact sub off the bench and I think we’ll see more of that this season- if he’s fit. He hasn’t featured in pre-season due to yet another injury and something tells me the slippery fish has got a fight on this season to get into the side.

The Back-up: Kofi Danning ipad-art-wide-Kofi-Danning-420x0
You could also say that Kofi Danning is another option on the right side after his return for Vise in the off-season. However he’s unlikely to feature at all this season due to yet another torn ACL. Originally it was believed that Danning was just rehabbing with the Roar in hopes of earning a contract in either January or more likely next year, however recently Dobson confirmed that Danning is apart of the playing roster for this season. Just don’t expect to see him. My guess is that if he’s fit enough to play in the latter rounds of the NYL he’s probably ahead of schedule. Given that it’s not the first time he’s torn his ACL in this knee, it would be wise for him not to rush back either.

Youth: Kwame Yeboah
Throughout the clubs history there has been something of a production line of quality young attackers coming through the ranks; it started with the Kruse, Oar, Minnieccon and Zullo era, and now there’s a new wave, with the best of the bunch being Yeboah. Kwame started out the last season being an NYL player and he made 14 starts –predominantly down the right side- for Sime’s youth outfit, scoring 4 goals. It could have been 14 if his finishing was better however. 12042_10151867062488536_181100191_n

His impressive form earned him a late call-up to the bench for the Wellington where he made his debut with a late cameo role. He also came off the bench late in the semi-final loss to Western Sydney where he looked lively. While I’ve put Kwame in the right wing preview, he is versatile enough to play both on the left flank, and also upfront should the need arise. Expect Kwame to feature regularly throughout the A-League season, possibly as soon as round 1 against Wellington with his solid pre-season form.

There’s plenty of options hear for Mulvey to choose from, and I haven’t even included youngster Brandon Borrello, or new signing Dimitri Petratos; both of whom can play adequately on the right. In all likelihood however, it’s Ivan’s spot to lose, with Henrique snapping at his heels desperately trying to get back into the starting line-up, with youngster Yeboah also likely to see game-time at various stages throughout the season.

Other Previews: Goalkeepers, Right Backs, Left Backs, Centre Backs, Centre Midfielders


Roar wants McKay back for home opener

Via Marco: Brisbane has today confirmed it’s desire to see Australian Marquee and returning captain Matt McKay play in the clubs 2013-14 home opener against Sydney FC on October 19th. McKay of course is scheduled to head to Europe for the Socceroos upcoming internationals against France in Paris and Canada in London. Brisbane had already accepted that Matt would miss the game against Wellington due to the France game with Wellington also depleted due to the international break. Mulvey and Dobson have expressed their desire for McKay to make his return to the Roar in this game, rather than the following week away to Melbourne Victory at Docklands. Recently Brisbane vice-chairman Chris Fong said that he was furious at the prospect of McKay not being available, saying that the fans have the right to see the best players in every game. It’s a sentiment that manager Mike Mulvey also expressed today.

McKay may have wait to make his return to Suncorp

McKay may have wait to make his return to Suncorp

If Osiek as he hinted in his press conference decides to play the experienced players against France, and then experiment against Canada, then there is a chance that McKay could be granted an early release from camp in order to return to Brisbane in time for the Sydney game. Even if he plays against Canada- im sure we’ll see Matty on the park at some stage against Sydney; either starting and being subbed after an hour, or coming on as an impact substitute. There’s a very simple solution to all of this- stop playing games on the international weekends- take international breaks like every other league.


Season Preview: Central Midfielders

In the lead-up to season 9 of the A-League we’ll be doing an extensive preview of the Brisbane Roar squad position by position examining the clubs options- today were taking a look at the central midfielders.

The Starter: Matt McKay 307157_224305887624120_1391507628_n
After two seasons away at Rangers, Busan I’ Park and Changchun Yatai, Matt has returned to the club and is set to play a pivotal role in the middle of the midfield. In Mulvey’s new looked midfield shape McKay should flourish where he will primarily be responsible for getting forward and both creating goal scoring chances for himself and others.

The now 30 year old played 16 games for Changchun this past season as an attacking midfielder – no goals- before agreeing to mutual termination of his contract at the struggling Chinese Super League club. It’s arguably the biggest year of Matt’s career with a spot in the Socceroos World Cup squad in the offing for McKay who’s been an ever-present in the side both at left midfield and latterly left back.

The Starter: Liam Miller 1098142_551655054889200_1982006011_n
Liam was Mulvey’s first signing of the off-season and he’s set to become a key factor in the side’s success or otherwise this season. Obviously he’s got a bunch of experience with some of the biggest clubs in Europe, but he’s also shown his quality in the A-League over the past two seasons helping Perth to two finals appearances and a Grand Final berth.

Miller, 32 made 24 appearances last season for the Glory with no goals and 4 assists totalling over 2100 minutes of game time. Last season Liam started out playing in a central midfield role under Ian Ferguson, however once Alistair Edwards took over Liam moved into an attacking midfield role behind Smeltz where he began to flourish. This season with Brisbane his primary role will likely be to play in the middle to front third, linking with Berisha and Broich, however Mulvey has indicated there will be a large amount of rotation in the middle and front thirds. Early signs from the pre-season look promising with the Irishman contributing goals and assists in the road show matches and he’s continued that into the A-League trials.

The Starter: Luke Brattan 579684_551653844889321_1347556873_n
The third and final expected starter in the middle of midfield, Brattan began to show his quality last season. Once midfield anchor Erik Paartalu departed for the Chinese Super League, Brattan stepped in to fill the void, and despite underdone to begin with he became the key fulcrum to the midfield and formed a solid partnership with Steve Lustica.

Brattan, 23 started out the season on the outer of the side with his chances largely limited to cameo’s off the bench. He ended up with 18 appearances all up -15 league, 2 final, 1 ACL- including 14 starts, and he scored his first goal for the club in the 2-1 win in the Elimination final down in Adelaide. Despite largely playing as a deeper lying midfield anchor last season, Mulvey has hinted that he’ll be given freedom to get forward on occasion via midfield rotations in order to use his creativity in the front third.

The back-up’s: Diogo Ferreira, George Lambadaridis
We could see Ivan Franjic and Jade North getting some game time here, they’re likely to be starting the game in other positions and shunted into the role later in the game. Which leaves Diogo Ferreira as the primary cover for the position with Lambadaridis likely out for the season with a knee injury.
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Rather than write anything extra on Diogo, here’s what I said about him in an earlier preview. Diogo, 23, signed for Brisbane from Melbourne Victory in the close season and is set to fill something of a utility role in the squad this year with his ability to play both as a holding midfielder and a right full-back. Last season Diogo made just the 8 appearances – no goals, 3 yellow cards- for the Victory before falling victim to the Postecoglou revolution in the Victorian capital. Despite being an afterthought in Melbourne last season, Ferreira has 52 A-League games to his credit -2 goals- and 7 games for the Olyroos in their London 2012 campaign. He also has Asian Champions League experience from 2010 and should prove to be a capable back-up when called upon. He could end up being the utility player off the bench if that’s the way Mulvey chooses to operate the bench, but he’ll also probably feature intermittently in the youth side.

It’s a shame that Lambadaridis wont be able to feature this season after he tore his ACL in the Albany Creek match earlier in pre-season as the two year NYL midfielder was shaping up for a 562201_370047016383339_1951312221_n breakout season. Last season he made 9 starts for the youth side, scoring just the one goal although he did miss the start of the season with yet another knee injury. With a lack of cover here, it could be a good idea to bring somebody in on an injury replacement deal- possibly Matt Thompson who was with the club earlier in the pre-season or current youngster who is trialing with the club Devante Clut, but that’s just speculation on my part.

Youth: Ben Liftin, Devante Clut, Ross Archibald 560531_551654734889232_1467571950_n
One of last seasons standouts in the youth side for mine was first year midfielder Ben Liftin, who made 16 appearances -10 starts- adding 4 goals from midfield. Ben has been playing with the side in pre-season and with not a great deal of depth could get some playing time. If it’s not Liftin, it could be young Devante Clut who has played in the last 4 pre-season games for the Roar and spent last season with the Wanderers youth side. Devante is also a graduate of the Nike ‘The Chance’ program which of course discovered young Celtic and Socceroos star Tom Rogic. Last season’s NYL player of the year for Brisbane, Ross Archibald also could find himself back in the clubs youth side despite being told there would be no place for him in this years A-League squad. A trial with Melbourne Heart failed to deliver anything and now with Brisbane perhaps short on numbers in midfield his chances may have improved. archibald

Brisbane has three extremely solid and creative players in the middle of the park, however there is a distinct lack of depth in the side with only Ferreira having any A-League experience. With this in mind, it could be a good idea to bring somebody in on an injury replacement deal to provide cover. On the whole however the midfield should be interesting to watch this year with a definite change in shape from the Postecoglou era with no set deep lying anchor type.

Other previews: Goalkeepers, Right Backs, Left Backs, Centre Backs


It Begins [11.10.2013] Are you ready?

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I am proud to say that the Brisbane Roar are out right favorites to win the A-league this season, and everyone knows it.

Going in to this season we could have been looking forward to a 4th straight A-league Championship if it were not for the series of unfortunate events which led to the disappointment of last season. The 2013/14 A-league season  begins 11.10.2013, this marks the club getting back on track to achieving ours goals and potential.

Thing to look forward to:

  • The Return of the King- Matt McKay has returned to the kingdom, his first game back at ‘The Cauldron’ will be a memorable one.602937_10151886431638536_1428854417_n
  • Our Attacking Juggernaut-  We have the most promising, experienced and feared attacking line-up in the league with Berisha, Broich, Miller and Franjic. With the possibility of bringing in another  quality visa player to fill Franjic’s position of Right Wing, we would become even more of a complete team. ( Whether you like it or not, in a team which is in my opinion complete for A-league standard { The Prefect mix of AUS players & International players plus the balance of experience and youth}  Franjic is unfortunately the weak link {I don’t mean this as a bad thing}, due to that he is being played out of position.
  • The Rise to stardom of Luke Brattan-  This season Brattan will be able to make his mark on the league and hopefully maybe even push for a seat of the plane to Brazil.images
  • Berisha’s goal scoring- Berisha is the favorite for the golden boot based on preseason result. I believe the Bess will be able to get back to the high of goals which he scored in his first season with us or even more.
  • The Continued rise of James Donachie-  Donachie was an amazing replacement for our injured captain Matt Smith in the 2nd half of last season. I believed that he was our best player during that period of time, ultimately I would love to see him start every game this season. Depending on how the season runs, by the end of the season the Roar are going to find it very difficult to hang on to him as overseas interest will be presented to him.
  • The FFA Cup- the new cup competition will begin in early February.

I would really like to position what our clubs long term goals should be ahead of this season and beyond.

The Roars Goals 

  • Qualify for the Asian Champions League (This is the most important goal )  (This should be our goal every season and we should be able to achieve this easily)
  • Win the A-league Premiers Plate
  • Win the A-league Grand Final
  • Win the FFA Cup
  • Get out of the Group stage for the ACL
  • ‘Win The ACL’ (Qualify for the FIFA World Club Championships)
  • Preform at the ‘World Club Championship’
  • Maintain an crowd average attendance of 30,000 each season (*In the near future)
  • Promote the game and the club more around Brisbane and the rest of Queensland (Unless other Queensland teams come in the the league)
  • Have the best youth development program in the country and the East Asian region
  • Produce high quality youth products ( 80% of the First team to be youth products)
  • Bring in a Big Name ‘Marquee Player’ (Which will put the club on the international stage)
  • Have our own permanent Club house and Training facilities ( Training Fields, rooms, post game facilities, weights room, function rooms, head offices, media room, etc )

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Current Trialists:

So far them team has a 21 man squad out of a max 26, so there are still 5 spots to fill in which I imagine we will keep at least one spear in case of emergency that may occur.

IMG_0657So far we have only have 2 two successful trialists, Petratos and Ferreira. There are still alot of NPL players which are trialing which include Jai Ingham (Qlympic FC) who at this stage is most likely to be signed his deal will have to wait until after Olympics NPL Finals Series, he would be a great addition to the team, Chris Lucas and Jarrod Kyle (Palm beach) and Antonio Murray (Brisbane City) who last week was rumored to have signed for the club. Murray is a very good player and I would like to have him at the club but everyone is forgetting that his is English and will count as a visa player. Unfortunately, meaning no disrespect that is a waste of a visa spot.

There is one player who is a possibility, but it has been a bit controversial lately why this play has not been simply invited for

a trial with the club just to show the club what he can do.

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His stats certainly speak for themselves,  33 goals in 23 matches, 6 hat tricks throughout the season. This player is Kado Aoci. Now it does puzzle me why he hasn’t  had a trail yet, 33 goal in any league is amazing. Maybe its because he plays in the Brisbane Premier League and they only want to look at players from the new NPL which is the future of Australian football, which I agree. But come on, does he have to move to a NPL club just to get a trail. I like the NPL alot, but if there are players producing those stats in another league, I would want to take a look at him. This doesn’t just include Kado, but if there is a player which is flying under the radar in a league which isn’t published much and that particular player may benefit our team, then why aren’t the roars scouts out there trying to find them. That is what the scouts are paid for, to find the next big thing.

The New Kits: 

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Once again the Roar will be the best looking team in the A-league. The new kits are amazing and make us look more professional. The kits are of the same style as club like Borussia Bortmund and Newcastle United.

The Home Kit- The new home jersey clearly focuses on the mighty orange of the roar, I like the new neck style is sick. This jersey will be a great icon to get behind at home games.

The Away Kit- The pain white with the orange strips on the sides is beast, should look good at away games.

The 3rd Kit- The first 3rd kit the roar has had is just all style, I like the introduction of the grey and the orange across the chest. It will be interesting to see which games the kit will be used for.

The Clubs Status:

I believe that the Brisbane Roar are greatly under appreciated in the footballing landscape of Australia. If it wasn’t for our 2010/11 and 2011/12 season team, the way the A-league is today would not have been possible. images (1)

There was an interesting fact stated by the commentators during the Socceroos resent World Cup Qualifying game in Sydney, he acknowledge that (from memory) 4 or the 11 starters for the Socceroos were current or former Brisbane Roar Players plus some of the players on the bench. These players were Sasa Ogenovski, Tommy Oar, Robbie Kruse and Matt McKay who started.

This is an amazing statistic and no other A-League team can match it. However, there has been no thanks or compensation from the FFA for our help in producing these players.

Were still waiting………

Predictions

These are my predictions for this season for how the table win look by the end of the season.

(****Please take in mind that even though I am a fanatic Roar supporter, I care about the development of the A-league. So therefor my opinions are mostly from a neutral****)

  1. *Brisbane Roar*
  2.  Western Sydney Wanderers
  3. Melbourne Victory
  4. Adelaide United
  5. Central Coast Mariners
  6. Melbourne Heart
  7. Newcastle Jets
  8. Sydney FC
  9. Wellington Phoenix
  10. Perth Glory

Western Sydney WanderersShinji+Ono+League+Player+Portrait+Session+4m-XcuCaKrRl

After their amazing run of form last season, I still believe that WSW can reproduce there performances and be a challenger for the the title, how ever the might of the Roar will be standing in their way.

Last season WSW were allowed 6 visa spots which gave them a huge advantage over the rest of the competition. I am still in shock and trying to get me head around it after hearing that WSW are allowed 6 visa spots again (up until this moment of time WSW have not signed a 6th visa player). I would Like to know why they are allow it again, no other expansion team has ever had these privileges before.

Melbourne Victory

The old master of our club now at the Victory has a promising season ahead of him.

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The Victory I believe have done very well to cover the crucial players which left their club at the end of last season e.i. Rojas,  Flores, Mullen and Celeski. They have brought in two former roar players Kosta Barbarouses and Mitch Nichols, both will most likely be in the first team and shouldn’t be of a worry to the Roar when we play them as “NICHOLS IS SHIT”.

Just yesterday they have brought in struggling oversea’s Australian James Troisi on a season Loan. Now no matter what people may say, Troisi is a quality player and would be a starting Socceroo player if it were not for him getting no game time for his club Atlanta in the serie A. Troisi can play upfront as a ST or CF and play as a CAM which I suspect will be were he’ll play at Victory.

The Victory’s Marquee player who arrived in the country yesterday is a player which we should all look out for this season, former Chilean International Pablo Contreras. Contreras, 35, has played for some big clubs throughout Europe including Monaco, Osasuna, Sporting CP, Braga, PAOK and most recently Olympiacos in the Greek Super League were he was apart of the team which beat Arsenal in last years Champions league group stage.

Like us he Victorys youth is very good, with the likes of Ansell, Nabbout, Geria (former roar player, biggest mistake the club made) and Connor Pain who will  be most likely to start for the Victory.

When Postecoglou can in for the Victory last season, I had feared that he would bring in players that would be better then ours. However, he brought in players like Adama Traore, Bru, Coe and Guiherme Finkler who I thought might have been the new Broich but due to an early season injury stopped him from showing the league what he could do. Finkler is a player which may break out this season, so I will be on the look out. Also now with Traore gaining AUS citizenship the Victory have another free visa spot which they may fill which another quality player before the season starts.

I don’t believe the Victory can go all the way but they will be fighting up the top of the table the whole season.

 Adelaide United 

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Like the last few seasons, there hasn’t been must preseason speculation about Adelaide. However, like they did last season I think they win be strong from the first whistle. With the signings of the two Argentines Neumann and Carrusca last season who were both good players, they have now signed to Spanish Barcelona Academy rejects Isaias and Cirio who are both quality players that have played with the likes of Messi and some other current Barcelona  players.

Apart from these to signings there isn’t a lot more to say about Adelaide, they win be strong for most of the season but win drop off in some parts. So therefor, they won’t really be in contention for the title.

Central Coast Mariners

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The Grand Final winners of season past, they finally did it. But that will be it for the Mariners now for awhile, I simply cannot see that they can make up for the amount of quality players they lost at the end of the last season e.i.  Bojic, Ryan, Bozanic, Zwaanswijk and McBreen (who is on a half season loan in China and will be back half way through the season. But will it be to late by then?).

With the signs of Flores, the resigning of Matt Simon, former troublesome Roar Goalkeeper Liam Reddy and Dutch Defender Marcel Seip to replace Zwaanswijk. I don’t believe that these players are enough to make the Mariners title contenders again.

Melbourne Heart

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For me, the Heart will be the most interesting team to watch how they go. With former Socceroos great John Aloisi at the helm, the heart will make a significant improvement from last season.

They’ve brought in some great players this season including former Roar legend Massimo Murdocca, Behich on Loan from Turkey,  quality  Australian defender  Patrick Kisnorbo from Leeds, Dutch Back Rob Wielaert and quality striker who happens to be the national Malta captain Michael Mifsud. The Heart Marquee signing is former dutch international Orlando Engelaar who was unfortunately injured in a preseason game against the roar and will miss the first half of this coming season, therefor the Heart were allow to bring in a replacement. Italian Andrea Migliorini who will be a the heart for the first half of the season on loan.

Not forgetting, the Heart also have the Kewell factor in their hands, this season it will be interesting to see whether Harry still has it.

Its good to see that the Heart have gotten rid of alot of their dead weight players such as Thompson, Bolton, Fred and Garcia. This will enable a new bread on Heart players to flourish.

The Heart still have alot of problems which the need to be address this season, so they will still struggle this season. However, I believe that they can do enough to make the finals for the first time this season.

Newcastle Jets

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On paper, the Jets don’t have a very attractive roster (apart from Heskey, but its Heskey so……) the Jets youth players are going to play a huge part in how well they go this season. With their break out players last season Goodwin and Birighitti, they will have to preform well again if the are to be competitive. With the make up of their youth players making up the u21 national team, players like Connor Chapman, Joshua Brillante, Andrew Hoole and Adam Taggart all put in amazing performances for the national u21’s, they will have to do the same for the jets.

The older players will have to step up and guide these youth players, Bridges, Heskey, Burns and new dutch back Kew Jaliens will have to mentor the youth squad.

The Jets may qualify for the finals, however I see them this season just missing out.

Sydney FC

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Sydney in my opinion are the biggest embarrassment to our league, they have been given so much help by the FFA over the previous seasons to make them once again a title contender and to be the face of the A-league. All they have done is bring in the biggest name to ever play in the A-league ADP, his meaning means shit all if you cant form a team around him which will make the team strong again. ADP knows this and I dont blame him for wanting to leave, and he will if Sydney doesn’t chance. Former Roar coach Frank Farina is currently the head coach, but I cannot see that he has made any improvements to their team.  The best thing they’ve done so far is make ADP captain and demote Terry McFlynn ( who is shit). They’ve brought in so far former Roar back Matt Jurman, Garcia, Nick Carle (Back form loan), Yairo Tau (back again for another shit season), Tiago ( the worst players in the a-league) and Australian u21 Corey Gameiro, who is a very good player but it will be interesting to see how he goes. They also signed former Mariner full back Pedj Boic, good player how ever what mad him an influential player was the rest of the quality mariners back line which Sydney don’t have. They have also sign  Serbian midfielder  Nikola Petkovic, however I haven’t been able to find any footage of him playing as well as its hard to find may stats on him, so who knows what he’ll be like?

I’m predicting a more disappointing season for Sydney unless something changes. ADP will leave Sydney at the end of this season so Roar send him an offer, Im sure Broich would be happy to move to a normal wage so ADP could be our Marquee.

Wellington Phoenix 2013/14 Wellington Phoenix Headshots Session

With coming dead bottom last season, the Phoenix have dismissed former coach Rickie Herbert and have replaced him with former Victory coach the Scot Ernie Merrick. Merrick has been handed the difficult task of reviving the Wellington Club, he has cut away alot of dead weights already including Cernak, Hogg, Smith, Sanchez, Lochhead and Totori which is a good start. So far the Phoenix has brought in former Victory legend Carlos Hernandez which is an important signing for the club. Also another country man for Hernandez from Costa Rica Kenny Cunningham. They also signed youth product Reece Caira from WSW, they have also sign some players from the NPL’s across the nation including Josh Brindell-South  who plays ing the QLD NPL for Moreton Bay United.

The Phoenix will defiantly be in the bottom half of the table this coming season.

Perth Glory 

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There will be no Glory for Perth this season, there is no good way to put it but they are just a terrible team. There only hopes lay on the shoulders of 16 year old Daniel De Silva (which I am very jealous that they have him). De Silva is the future of Australian Football, he have to have a huge season to get the Glory out of the position their in. The still have the New Zealand Striker and all time a-league leading goal scorer Shane Smeltz  , however if last seasons something to go off, Smeltz has lost his prolific goal scoring ability. The Roar have taken their best player Liam Miller and so far they have not been able to replace him. The Glory just don’t have players that can be consistent the whole season. They’ve brought in alot of youth players which include Cameron Edwards, Jake Duncan, Maclaren (from Blackburn Rovers) and Ryan Edward on loan from Reading. And once again they’ve brought back on loan Ryo Nagai, I just want to ask “WHY”?

With a win less preseason tour to South Africa against relatively easy opponents the Glory are going to have a very difficult season unless they make some important transfers before the start of the season. With two visa spots left they are running out of time.

The A-League

I have a few problems with how the A-League is run and coordinated currently.

FFA Bias:

The biggest problem that I have and I hope other share the same view, the bias towards FFA owned clubs and the ‘Big Blue’ clubs (Victory and Sydney FC). This is recently evident in the New A-league season Ads on Tv, were from memory you only see two small snip-its of footage for the Roar compared to the rest of the A-league in particularly WSW, Sydney and the Victory. Some may say that their try to market the A-league to the wide Australian audience by showing more of the Marquee players in the ads, but they only teams that would matter for would be Sydney ( With ADP) and Newcastle (with Heskey) because lets be honest their the only two that the majority of people with know (No offence meant towards Ono but no one had really heard of him before he came to the a-league unless you were familiar with Japanese football). I think its totally unfair to the rest of the A-league as clubs like ours aren’t getting enough publicity. With the Roar and the Mariners being the two leading teams for the past couple of seasons, we have seen absolutely on help or publicity opportunities from the FFA.

E.g.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X66ntfn-MVs&feature=c4-overview&list=UUn6UMS98Ox-B3jkSWlweJ2w (Roar Appears Once)

The Visa player system:

A second problem that I believe the A-league has in the visa system, next season is the 10 anniversary since the inception on the A-league and up until now on A-league club has been able to master the system.

Every year Clubs waste viable visa spots on players who turn out to be worse than Australian players, players that don’t play, injury pron player and young players. The point of the visa player system up till this very day unless something changed then let me know, is to have 5 quality international players which start every game for an A-league team. Unfortunately, the purpose of the visa player has seemed to be lost in translation (it stumps me how).  Now on to the marquee players, it amazes me that every year not every A-league team has a Australian, International or Youth Marquee player in their ranks. The point of the international marquee player is for one out of each clubs 5 visa spot to sign a player which is worldly renown and above the salary cap. Now people may say that some clubs cant afford to sign a player of that magnitude of cash, well I say that is crap. If the owner of an A-league club cannot afford an international marquee player then why do they own the club in the first place. I hear of so many A-league owner that are struggling financially, the solution is simple (you may not like this) either go in to co-ownership with another multi-millionaire or had the licence of the club back to the FFA.

Visa Spots

Above is the current foreign players in the A-league that occupy visa spots. Look at each club carefully, you can easily pick out at least one player per team they they could go without.

Marquee

These are the current marquee players for each team. Notice all the vacant positions? 

In the next ten seasons of the A-league I’d like to see some changes.

  1. Every club has a big name signing
  2. Every club has an Australian Marquee
  3. Each club has 2 International Marquee’s ( One for over 2 million and one for under)
  4. The National Youth league has a visa system ( 2 or 3 visa spots for each NYL team- e.g. the roars relationship with the Bakrie Group, having 3 promising Indonesian players in our youth side to develop them. The deal would be that when the visa youth player in to the Senior team they wont count as a visa spot. This occurs for all a-league team as it will build relationships with other countries)

 This Article from the ROAR.com backs up what I have said above.

http://www.theroar.com.au/2013/09/24/the-a-leagues-culture-of-marquee-signings/

Expansion In the A-League:

The FFA has stated that there will be a possibility of 2 new team in the A-League by 2015. It will be interesting to see which city’s or regions will get a team.

So far there are a few current bids and possible future bids in place.

Possible New Teams-

  • Canberra ( Canberra United FC)
  • Darwin
  • Townsville ( Bringing back the North Queensland Fury with in the next 5 years- having an NQF NYL side prior to that)
  • Geelong ( The Greater Geelong Galaxy FC – Favorite)
  • New Zealand ( Possible South Island Team or Auckland)
  • Tasmania ( Tasmania United FC)
  • Wollongong
  • Ipswich ( Western Pride FC)
  • Sunshine Coast (Sunshine Coast FC)
  • Gold Coast

The Geelong Bid team are the only resent bid to have provided information on how there team might look.

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It looks quite good in my opinion.


Season Preview: Central Defenders

In the lead-up to season 9 of the A-League we’ll be doing an extensive preview of the Brisbane Roar squad position by position examining the clubs options- starting today were taking a look at the central defenders.

The Starters: Matt Smith. 307772_223879824333393_2130283046_n
The captain had an injury disrupted year missing last third of the season including the clubs ACL qualifier with Buriram, and the 2013 finals series. Before that he saw his central defensive partner chop and change with the ineffective Jurman and the young Donachie splitting time in the role next to Smith.

Smith, 30, played in 14 games last season for a total of 1260 minutes of game time, with no goals or assists. Injury permitting, this season should prove a more successful one for the skipper, who will start the season alongside North and will be desperate to move back into Socceroos calculations with reports circulating that he was going to be selected for the March’s 2-2 draw in Sydney against Oman. His pre-season form has been impressive keeping clean sheets against Heart and Victory.

The Starter: Jade North. 996609_551650811556291_318849941_n
One of Mulvey’s first signings as Roar boss, Jade North came in last season at a crucial role and quickly replaced Smith as the rock at the back for Brisbane, with Donachie being his predominant partner towards the end of the season. North is a vastly experienced defending spending time with two other A-League clubs along with clubs in Korea, Norway and Japan and amassing 41 appearances for the Socceroos over his career.

North, 31 arrived in the January transfer window from relegated J-League side Consadole Sapporo and took some time to regain fitness after the end of the Japanese season. He would eventually make his debut at home to Central Coast and make 11 appearances in total -8 league, 2 final, 1 ACL- totalling just over 1000 minutes of game-time. He’s been predominantly a central defender in the pre-season to date, however in an exercise to examine the possibility and versatility he was tried as a central midfielder in the Central Coast game.

The back-up: James Donachie. 389359_369998443054863_1320725820_n
James rose to prominence in the final round of the 2011-12 season when after the premiers plate was lost, then boss Ange Postecoglou handed the youngster his debut in the final M1 derby where he put in an assured performance. This past season the 20 year old made 19 appearances -18 start, 1 sub- last season -16 league, 2 final, 1 ACL- and formed solid partnerships with Matt Smith and latterly Jade North. His solid form earned him a spot in Paul Okon’s u/20 World Cup squad in Turkey where he played in one of the games. His pre-season form has been strong alongside both Smith and North, however he’ll start the year on the outside looking in but would not look out of place in the line-up.

Youth: Lachlan Jackson.

Lachlan Jackson (Brisbane Roar)

Lachlan Jackson (Brisbane Roar)


Jackson has spent the past two seasons in the NYL squad and has blossomed into a solid defender at that level. Jackson made 7 starts last season for John Sime’s youth side with an additional 4 substitute appearances and the youngster can expect even more football this season. At the recent fans forum; Mulvey hinted that the youngster could even see A-League football this season, and that he would train with the first team squad for experience.

Other Previews: Goalkeepers, Right Backs, Left Backs