Premiers!Posted: March 24, 2014
Brisbane Roar wrapped up the A-League Premiership at the weekend with the win over the Victory in typical Brisbane fashion. The late Brattan goal gave the club it’s second Premiership and moves the club level with Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Mariners as the only clubs to have won the trophy on multiple occasions. They’ve wrapped up the plate in equal record pace, securing the silverware with three games remaining- something Melbourne did in the competitions second season. Rather than talk about the weekends game, this is more of a look back at how Brisbane won the plate, and an extremely early –and brief- look forward towards the Champions League.
In his first full season in charge, Mulvey has done a fantastic job managing the squad, and also getting consistent performances out of the playing group. It was clear early on that the hunger that was perhaps missing last year had returned and that we would see some vastly improved performances this season. Across the board, it’s impossible to deny that, with the possible exception of the R20 loss to Melbourne Heart. In a clear sign of their quality of performance this term, they’ve gone down to ten men on three occasions this year, and have outplayed their opponents all three times coming away with two draws and a last minute loss. While it wasn’t really revolutionary from Mulvey in a tactical sense, it was still strong management to get more out of a core playing group that had seemingly grown content with previous successes.
From a playing point of view, it’s hard to fault them. The spine of the championship winning teams –Theo, Smith, Franjic Broich, Henrique, Berisha- all either recaptured their best form this season, or took their games to another level. The newer players in the squad such as Miller, Petratos or utility Diogo Ferreira all did their job in the side, while those retuning for a second stint in Brisbane –notably McKay- provided a massive boost to the side.
Played 24. Won 15. Drawn 3. Lost 6. 40 goals scored. 21 goals conceded. 48 points.
It’s not a record points haul given there are fewer games now – Brisbane already holds that record anyway (61 points from 30 games), but it has been done in record setting pace. The good thing about this season is that every first team player has contributed to the success by getting on the park- with the exception of Julius Doe and the injured George Lambadaridis and Kofi Danning. Youth has also played a big part in securing the premiership with five National Youth League Players taking the park.
The key games:
Brisbane 4-0 Sydney
While I always think it’s important to start the season off with a win when you’re chasing silverware, it was the home opener the week after against rivals Sydney FC that set the tone for the season to follow. A resounding 4-0 win over the Sky Blues, with football played in the now typical Brisbane way culminating in goals from four different players.
Brisbane 3-1 Western Sydney
This was the first of a few times Brisbane played in a top of the table clash, and after coming off a defeat the previous week in monsoonal Newcastle, Brisbane jumped out to a flying start. They put their marker down in that opening twenty minutes and rattled the then league leaders before a late goal sealed the points and the top spot. Brisbane would hold the top spot from then on.
Melb. Victory 0-3 Brisbane
While the win the week before was emphatic, it was this performance that turned heads league wide as Brisbane went to what historically is a tough place for them to go, and trounced the Victory. The game had what was until this weekend considered to be goal of the season by Liam Miller, but Brisbane’s ‘false 9’ system of play saw them run rings around their hosts.
Western Sydney 1-1 Brisbane
Another top of the table clash, this time in Parramatta and although Brisbane didn’t return with the three points, they maintained their sizable advantage at the top of the league and made it virtually impossible for the Wanderers, or anyone else, to catch them. Not a vintage performance, but a courageous one, and an important point along the road.
Brisbane 2-1 Adelaide
After a back to back defeats the gap was closing at the top with Adelaide now threatening to join the fray and contest the Premiership. Brisbane seemingly came out with a point to prove and they did so by controlling the game against a side trying to imitate their style of play in many respects. This wasn’t the day the plate was lifted, but for mine this was the day that guaranteed it would be coming to Brisbane.
Brisbane are offcourse now in the 2015 AFC Champions League, the first Eastern Asia side to qualify, and will be joined by another two Australian, Chinese, Japanese, South Korean and possible Thai and Indonesian sides in the draw at the end of the season. Throughout the winter months we’ll keep you updated on the progress of those leagues and cups to see who Brisbane may play. This will likely, and should definitely, play a part in both their off-season recruitment strategy and also their pre-season campaign, but more on that as the time approaches.