Season Preview: GoalkeepersPosted: October 6, 2014
Last week we took a look at the 10 teams in the competition ahead of round 1 this weekend, this week we’ll take a more in depth look at the Brisbane squad and see where they sit going into the 10th season; starting today with the goalkeepers.
The season hasn’t even started yet and Brisbane already have issues in the goalkeeping ranks
with Michael Theo set to miss at least the first six rounds of the season with a broken bone in his wrist. That injury, and the fact there is no clear youth option at the moment which we’ll get to shortly, has forced the club to look for an alternative in the shape of Brisbane Strikers keeper Michael Turnbull.
The Starter: Michael Theo
Despite the injury, when he returns to fitness it would be a shock if Theo doesn’t reclaim the starting position that he has made his own since 2010. Last year was another solid one for Theo playing in 27 of the clubs 29 games on the way to the double, keeping seven clean sheets along the way and making a host of important saves at big moments. He will have far more competition for his spot this season though, which is no doubt a good thing and will hopefully take his game to an even higher level. Theo may be missing when the season gets underway on Sunday, but as one of the senior players in the group he will once again be a key part of the plan this season.
The back-up: Jamie Young
While Young will get his chance in the opening rounds of season due to the injury to Michael
Theo, it is still expected that he will end up on the bench once again when Theo returns to fitness. One of the new recruits from Hayes & Yeading in the English Conference South, Young made just the 10 appearances last season, but was late to sign with the club after a trial here with the Roar amongst other things. While Young will go into the year as the #2 goalkeeper in Brisbane, unlike in recent years with Acton and Redmayne, Young will provide genuine competition for the shirt and he’s got a great chance early on to stake a claim. He’s also highly rated by Brisbane GK coach Jason Kearton who recommended the club sign him.
In the short term while Theo is out injured, the back-up goalkeeper will be Brisbane Strikers shot-stopper Michael Turnbull who has previous A-League experience with the New Zealand Knights. It’s unlikely this will be anything more than a body on the bench ready to step in if required, but it is a good experience for Turnbull. Who knows what this will end up leading to for Turnbull, perhaps they might keep him around and add him to the Champions League roster or something if he impresses.
The youth: Unknown
It was Fraser Chalmers, but he wasn’t anywhere to be seen in the latter rounds of the NPL Queensland, although there were some murmurings that he was just injured. Hopefully that’s the case because Fraser improved as a keeper throughout the games he did play, and there’s also precious few options to choose from if he’s not around. Denver Crickmore and Brendan White were the keepers in the NPL squad at the end of the season and in truth neither looked overly impressive. The best young keeper in Brisbane going around is probably Brendan Cuminao of Olympic who was a regular in one of the NPL’s better teams this season, however there is no indication as yet he will be apart of the Roar squad going forward. The lack of a clear option here however is a big reason why they’ve had to bring somebody in to fill in on the bench.
Having a goalkeeper like Theo who has been the most successful player over the first decade of the league in goals is a luxury for the Roar, and his experience will be vital once again this season especially in Asia next year. He will however be under more pressure than he has been before for his spot with Jamie Young coming back to Brisbane after a decade abroad intent on winning the shirt, and he’s got a great chance in the next few weeks to state his case. Ideally Brisbane would have a clear cut youngster waiting in the wings for the chance, but that isn’t the case at the moment, and despite the fact there are injury concerns at the moment, Brisbane figure to have the depth required with Theo and Young in goals.