Mid season player gradesPosted: January 12, 2015
With a mid-season break underway thanks to the Asian Cup, the three week break in the A-League provides time to reflect on the first half of the season, and look ahead to the second. Today, we look back on the first half of the season and hand out grades for Brisbane’s players. The way I’ve done this is by looking at the players performances in all competitions this season so far, and also taking into account what was expected of them.
After getting his chance due to Michael Theo’s wrist injury, and he’s failed to make the grade for the most part. While his shot stopping has been ok, his distribution however has been far worse than what we’ve become accustomed to with Theo. The only thing that saves Young from a lower grade is the couple of good save’s he’s made, and the three clean sheets he’s kept. Overall though, if there was any thought that he was going to push Theo for his starting spot, that has been well and truly put to one side.
Acton: Games: 0
Theo would of obviously played a lot more, if not every game this season if it wasn’t for the injury he sustained in training just prior to the FFA Cup round of 16 clash away to Adelaide. Acton on the other hand wasn’t expected to see much game time after he signed an injury replacement contract to replace Theo, although some fans would of preferred he got some time ahead of time ahead of Young in recent weeks. That was never going to happen however given they only just brought Young in ahead of him. Going forward, Theo will take the gloves back going forward for the rest of this season, and beyond while Acton has now departed Brisbane again.
After starting out the season as the back-up left full-back again this season, due to the injury to Stefanutto and his own solid form, Brown might have now cemented his place in the starting line-up. Since he came back into the side at home to Perth Glory, Brown has been a solid, dependable full-back defensively, notably keeping Bernie Ibini quiet in the game against Sydney FC. Going forward he still has work to do in his play on the ball, but that will come with time. Having seemingly won over new Brisbane coach Frans Thijssen if comments in the press are to be believed, going into the second half of the season it seems like he’s set for a bunch more game time.
Jade has been the ever-present of a defence this season that has seen seven different combinations this season including goalkeepers and the stand in captain from the last two games is one of two players who have started every game. His form has been a bit up and down however, and while given his experience he figures to be a regular in the second half of the year, should a new central defender arrive he could face competition for his spot.
James started the season in an unfamiliar role at right back, largely in my view due to Mulvey’s reluctance and lack of faith in Jack Hingert, and after struggling in a role he’s not suited to he was replaced. In recent times however he’s got his chance in his natural centre back position and both he and Jade North have started to form a solid partnership. Depending on who Brisbane sign in the January transfer window, it could be a brief stint starting in the centre of the defence with North’s experience likely to win out alongside any potential new signing. I almost graded Donachie at a B-, but I knocked him down a rung due to the own goals.
After years of solid and dependable service, it could be that were nearing the end of Shane’s time here in Brisbane with the emergence of Corey Brown in his absence through injury. There’s a chance that through his experience and superior quality going forward that he could regain his starting left back spot, but the indications are that the new coaching staff prefer the younger Brown. In the games he’s played this season, he’s certainly held his own, including a strong showing away to the Jets where his marauding runs forward from defence earned him a pair of assists.
After starting the year out of the side, Daniel has worked his way into the side due to Donachie’s awkwardness at right back and the injury to Jack Hingert. After getting a start away to the Jets, Bowles did reasonably well on the right side defensively, however in the past couple of games there has been a dip in performance, particularly on the ball playing out of defence. With the signing of Jerome Polenz, it’s likely that he will start the second half of the season on the outside looking in once again.
Having only played just about an hour of league football this season, it’s impossible to judge Jack on his season to date. He started out the season as the teams back-up at right back behind Donachie, and it looked like he’d done enough in training to win the favour of Mulvey, before hobbling off injured in round five. Going forward, it’s hard to see where he fits in with new signing Jerome Polenz likely to play on the right, while Corey Brown and Shane Stefanutto will fight it out on the left.
While he hasn’t been as influential this season as last, Luke has maintained his reputation as one of the league’s better central midfielders. The biggest reason why Luke has been slightly below last years performances is the fact that he missed a large chunk of the pre-season with an abdominal injury. Going forward I think we can all expect Luke to get back to his high level.
Matt has been in and out of the side this season due to national team commitments and his red card in round one when he was sent off for dissent. When he has been available for selection however, he’s been the same old reliable Matt McKay, providing a vital link between the defence and the attack while building up the play. In the second half of the season, when all his national team commitments are completed we should start to see the best of the new captain once again.
Dimi has started every game this season, playing in a combination of both his right wing role from last season, while also spending part of the season playing on the right hand side of a midfield trio after the departure of Liam Miller. Despite starting every game, it’s fair to say that Petratos has struggled to make an impression on the games this season, with no goals and a lack of chances in addition to a steady flow of turnovers. He’s one of the players who will need to improve his performance level in the second half if Brisbane are to move up the ladder.
An ankle injury has interrupted his season, with Brisbane’s marquee man out of action since the beginning of December. It’s not been his best season, but Thomas has still shown his quality in glimpses He’s recently started training once again, with the expectation of returning against Wellington on February 2 when the league resumes, and a big second half from Thomas will be required for Brisbane to salvage the season.
Steven has been a regular in the squad this season, as just one of four players to play in every game. He has however been solid rather than spectacular in his midfield role which has varied from playing in the midfield trio under Mulvey’s setup, to playing as both a sitting midfielder and a no.10 type under Thijssen. It will be a case of more of the same from Lustica in the second half.
It’s probably a bit too soon to grade Adam given that he’s only just returned from a serious knee injury that cost him an entire season. In his limited game time this season to date, he’s been solid but not spectacular. Still, im prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt in the belief that as he gets more game time under his belt, we’ll start to see the best of him.
Games: 0 (1)
These youngsters haven’t had their chance yet this season, with Clut getting a 20 minute cameo against Wellington last weekend. George is still battling his way back from knee injury and will be desperate for a chance with his contract up at the end of the season. These two may have to be content with NYL football and wait for their chance.
Without doubt Henrique has been the team’s standout player this season and things would be far worse off without the Brazilians goals and all-round performances. This has been his best season, hopefully a couple of the other attacking players in the squad step up and take some of the pressure off him.
It’s fair to say that Mensur has been a disappointment to date, with just the one goal to his name –Perth away, R2- and in truth he hasn’t really looked like troubling the scoreboard since. He has now been usurped in the side by both Solórzano and Borrello, and the comments from Thijssen about Henrique being the team’s only goal scoring threat indicate his lack of faith in Kurtishi. If he remains in Brisbane for the remainder of the season, a massive improvement will be needed.
After retuning to Brisbane in January after a difficult time in his homeland, it took JCS a long time to regain his fitness and the sharpness in front of goal we became accustomed to in his first stint in Brisbane. While he hasn’t been consistent as yet, we have seen signs that the old Solórzano is retuning, notably in the Newcastle away game, and the recent 3-3 draw with Central Coast where he netted a brace. Three goals in 5 starts –including FFA Cup- isn’t a bad return, but more will be expected in the second half of the season.
After getting a taste of the A-League last season, Brandon started the season as a young player trying to work his way into the first team on a regular basis and after an impressive first half of the season he’s seemingly done that. Injuries and the departure of Liam Miller opened the door for Borrello to get his chance, and he took it with both hands with a bright showing off the bench against Melbourne City where he scored. That lead to him making a string of consecutive starts in the first team for the first time. In the second half of the season he’ll need to be more consistent in his performances, however the fact that he’s established himself as a regular in the matchday squad is one of the few bring points of the season so far.
Games: 0 (3)
Another who is returning from a serious injury, but he’s struggled to get into the matchday squad with just three cameo’s off the bench. Kofi hasn’t offered much off the bench when he’s got his chance, and I think he may struggle for game time in the second half.
Games: 0 (1)
Made his debut off the bench against Newcastle in round 6 in the 4-0 win, and he looked ok. Shannon has however been a fixture in the NYL side where he’s been one of the better performers. He’s probably not quite ready yet for a regular spot in the first team, but with squad rotation potentially upcoming with the Champions League in mind.
For what it’s worth, I would of given Matt Smith a C for his performances this season, while Liam Miller gets an incomplete grade having failed to feature much before his departure.