An early look at next seasonPosted: May 12, 2014
Brisbane won their third Championship 8 days ago now, however now that the season is over, it’s time to take a look forward to the next. This will all be about the squad and where Brisbane may need to strengthen to prepare for their title defence and ACL tilt. For starters; here’s the list of contracted players, and a bit of a depth chart as things stand.
Contracted through 2014-15: Matt Smith, Shane Stefanutto, Liam Miller (fgn), Julius Doe, Matt McKay (Aus Marquee), Luke Brattan, George Lambadaridis, Corey Brown, Brandon Borrello (FT NYL), Ben Litfin (FT NYL), Patrick Theodore (FT NYL).
Contracted through 2015-16: Ivan Franjic, Steven Lustica, Henrique (fgn), Jade North, Jean Carlos Solórzano (fgn), Dimitri Petratos, Devante Clut.
Contracted through 2016-17: Michael Theo, James Donachie, Thomas Broich (fgn) (Marquee).
Out of contract: Diogo Ferreira.
Moving on: Besart Berisha (Melbourne Victory), Matt Acton (TBC).
Obviously the big need area to address right now is upfront with the recruitment of a #9 who cancontribute to the team is the undoubted no.1 priority, even with Solórzano reportedly sticking around for another two seasons and youngsters Brandon Borrello and Jai Ingham scoring for fun in the youth team. Recently the media have linked German striker Mike Hanke, who played with Broich at Borussia Monchengladbach and was a part of Germany’s 2006 WC squad to the role. Mulvey is apparently headed to Europe this week to begin discussions and negotiations with three unknown players.
The news over the weekend however has surrounded the back-up goalkeeper role with Brisbane confirming that Matt Acton would not be offered a new contract after 5 years with the Roar. It was fun watching Matt progress from a young keeper right back at the start of the NYL to making his debut this season, but ultimately the form of Theo made it impossible for him to get regular playing time. While it has no bearing on signing a new striker, Brisbane also have a decision to make regarding Kofi Danning, who’s been regaining fitness in the NPL this season.
In terms of a replacement there were reports over the weekend that Brisbane born, England based keeper Jamie Young is going to be signed on as a replacement. It’s not confirmed as yet, but it does make a bunch of sense given what Brisbane are looking for. There’s also the fact he played in goals for in the Albany Creek pre-season game this past year so he’s already had at least some time playing for Brisbane. If Young isn’t the man, other options could be former NQ Fury and Blackburn Rovers keeper Sebastian Usai –who also trained with Brisbane for some time over the past season- and NYL keeper Fraser Chalmers. For mine, there probably isn’t a great deal between Young and Usai, while Chalmers is better off sticking around as the teams NYL keeper, and hopefully he gets more time this season now that Acton isn’t playing down taking most of the playing time.
Another potential issue to consider for Brisbane is a potential log-jam in the middle of the part with a host of central midfielders under contract. Having that sort of depth is fantastic, however including Julius Doe –who I listed as a left winger on the depth chart-, and FT NYL duo Ben Litfin and Patrick Theodore, Brisbane have up to nine options in the middle of the park. Given the fact he made a grand total of four appearances in the Youth League this season just gone, isn’t playing in the NPL side and wasn’t at the parade last Tuesday im starting to think he’s not going to be around next season. That would make some sense given Lambadaridis will be back fit again by the time pre-season gets underway, and youngster Devante Clut was locked up on a first team contract.
Just to wrap this up, here’s a little list of what areas of the team Brisbane may be looking to strengthen over the coming weeks.
Goalkeeper: A back-up goalkeeper is clearly on the agenda after the departure of Matt Acton over the weekend. Jamie Young seems to be the odds on favourite for the role, while other options may include Sebastian Usai, Justin Pasfield and youth keeper Fraser Chalmers.
Utility Defender: Im calling this the Diogo Ferreira role, and there’s a good chance it ends up being that Ferreira sticks around next season. Regardless, with only seven defenders under contract, having an extra body in the squad capable of covering multiple positions in the defensive third would be a bonus. Former Adelaide and Brisbane youth defender Daniel Bowles was linked in the press a couple of weeks ago after he was released by Adelaide and he would be a reasonable option. Bowles is more of a RB/CB by trade as opposed to the RB/LB/CM that Ferreira has filled in at this past season. Either way somebody to provide competition and depth is important. There is also youth centre back Lachlan Jackson, whose improved gradually every season waiting in the wings.
Attacker: A replacement striker is essential if Brisbane are going to make a successful title defence next season and replacing the goals scored by Berisha isn’t going to be an easy task. Still, Brisbane did play well even without him this season, and nobody is irreplaceable. Who it will be is anyone’s guess, however it seems the rumoured Stein Huysegems and Shane Smeltz won’t be the answer. There is also little depth on the wings, especially if injuries do hit so there is a chance that someone – possibly Ingham?- may be signed on to provide depth n that role.