Mid-season review

As we approach the midway point of the season, it seems like a good time to go over the opening three months of the season. In this we’ll look at the success stories of this season so far and some of the challenges faced. Don’t forget that you can also listen to more mid year reviews on the Roar Radio’s mid-season review podcast which was posted the other day.

What’s gone right.

Promotion of youth:
One of the question marks over the Brisbane squad going into the

One of the biggest success stories of the first half(Bradley Kanaris - Getty Images AsiaPac)

One of the biggest success stories of the first half(Bradley Kanaris – Getty Images AsiaPac)

season was over the depth should injures arise. Injuries to Michael Theo, Jade North, Shane Stefanutto, Liam Miller and Besart Berisha has given some of the depth players to step in and they’ve more than proven there is the depth in the squad. Corey Brown and James Donachie have stepped in and played significant minutes in the backline, while other youngsters such as Kwame Yeboah, Matt Acton and Dimitri Petratos has stepped up when required. One youngster who would have joined this group if it wasn’t for a pre-season injury is George Lambadaridis who would have been given the chance to tie down a midfield spot with the injury issues.

Results:
When you’re sitting top of the table halfway through the season obviously the results have been good. The overall record of 9 wins out of 12 games, with 3 defeats is a fantastic foundation leading into the second half of the season. It is however just the foundation of the season. One of the priorities of the season seems to be to make Suncorp a fortress and four wins from five is a strong start to that. Home form will be a crucial factor in the reminder of the season with 9 of the last 15 games to be played here in Brisbane.

Player development:
It’s not just the young players who have shown signs of improvement in the opening half of the season, some of the players who were put into the starting line-up at the end of last season have continued to improve this season. Jack Hingert has made the right back spot his own, Luke Brattan has quickly become one of the leagues best central midfielders resulting in Graham Arnold reportedly wanting to take him to Japan. One of the sides most consistent players in recent times, Ivan Franjic, has taken his game to another level in the midfield adding goals to his game. The youngster such as Brown, Donachie and Yeboah have taken huge steps forward and will continue to do so in the second half of the season

What’s gone wrong:

Injuries:
Not a lot has gone wrong this season to date, however if anything has gone wrong it would be injuries to some key players in the squad. Obviously injuries are part of the game and all teams go through them and the plus side of them is they provide an opportunity for other players to step in and as mentioned above they’ve certainly done that. Here’s a quick rundown of the teams injury issues:
– Theo: Missed two games with a shoulder injury.
– North: Missed three games with a groin injury.
– Stefanutto: Missed seven games with a hamstring injury.
– Miller: Missed five games with a calf injury.
– McKay: Missed two games due to national team commitments.
– Franjic: Missed one game due to national team commitments.
– Berisha: Missed three games with hamstring and hip flexor injuries.
– Lambadaridis: Missed whole season with knee injury.
– Danning: Missed whole season with knee injury.

Liam Miller’s struggles:
As one of Mulvey’s key offseason buys, a lot has been expected of

Miller has been a disappointment to date(Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Miller has been a disappointment to date(Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Liam and in truth he’s failed to live up to the expectations. The injury he sustained in Melbourne that’s seen him miss almost half of the games to date hasn’t helped his cause, however even in the games he’s played he’s struggled to make an impact. He’s improved in the last couple of weeks including playing an OK game against Sydney on Boxing Day, but he’s got a lot of improvement in him. Hopefully we see that in the second half of the season.

Lack of striking depth:
This was another of the concerns raised over the squad following the decision not to sign Brisbane City striker Antonio Murray as cover for Berisha. While Kwame Yeboah was in the squad and was performing well in the pre-season, he was considered more to be a wide player; however he was thrust into the role away to Melbourne Victory. Ultimately over the coming weeks Kwame would prove himself to be a solid attacker in the league; however his departure now has set the striker depth back to square one. It could be Brandon Borrello, it could be Kofi Danning or they could look outside the organisation.

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