Thoughts following the end of the seasonPosted: May 8, 2015
Now that the season has been over for a couple of days, it’s a good time to look back on things. Here’s a few thoughts, in no particular order.
– There’s no question that a lot of mistakes were made at the start of the season, not least of which was recruitment. No doubt Kurtishi was a flop, while Young and Bowles have been ok after shaky starts. January’s recruitment was better, but the work replacing Berisha and Franjic was ordinary and played a big part in the slow start to the season. That doesn’t include the loss of Luciano Trani who’s gone on to do some good work behind the scenes at Melbourne City.
– Injuries play a part in any campaign and they shouldn’t be used as an excuse, but there’s no doubt that they played a massive part in Brisbane’s season. No fewer than 12 players missed time this year with injuries, with 8 of those players missing at least 10 games. Theo tops the list of injured players, missing 30 games due to injury, while Polenz, Sarota, Stefanutto, Lambadaridis, Henrique, North, Danning, Broich, Hingert DeVere, Petratos and Solórzano missed a chunk of games due to injury.
– Teams that go on to have successful seasons invariably have strong starts, and it’s fair to say that Brisbane didn’t have that this year. In the Championship years, Brisbane won at least 50% of their opening 10 games while never losing more than two. This year Brisbane lost their first four, six of their first 10 and won just three, leaving them well down the table and already out of the race for the top 2. The issues in regards to the training and preparation which lead to the philosophy debate and sacking of Mulvey certainly had a huge impact on the season.
– I wont go over the whole philosophy argument again, all I’ll say is that the decision to bring in Frans Thijssen to stabilise things and save the season hasn’t worked out. 11 wins, 5 draws and 12 losses in 28 games, which resulted in a 7th placed finish -adjusted to 6th due to Perth’s salary cap rorting-, a first round finals exit and a group stage exit from the Champions League. Nowhere near good enough to be considered for the job long term.
– One of the big problems for Brisbane in the early years was poor home form, and that returned this season with just 14 points – 4 wins, 2 draws- in 13 games. That’s the lowest points return from home games since season 2 – 12 points-, and that was only 10 home games. If you’re going to compete at the top of the competition, you have to make home ground advantage pay.
– On the Champions League, while it was a more positive campaign than the Roar’s previous incursions there’s still a thought to what might have been. Picking up six points out of 9 on the road should be enough to get you through the group stage, but the Roar only have themselves to blame for not keeping their ACL hopes alive. One point out of nine is nowhere near good enough, and they’ll look back on Matchday one where they played for an hour with a man advantage, only to lose in stoppage time as a game where they could of done better.
– One of the positives to take away from this season has been the elevation of some of the clubs younger players, with no fewer than 9 players who started the season as regulars in the NYL finished the year either playing in the first team or on the bench. Brandon Borrello has now fully established himself as a starting calibre player in the side over the course of the season, while Devante Clut has gone some way to doing likewise in the closing weeks of the season. Other younger players like Shannon Brady, Lachlan Jackson and Patrick Theodore all took their chances when given to them and figure to play a part going forward as well.
– Moving forward this figures to be an interesting off-season, with changes expected up and down the clubs Footballing department. There will be a new head coach next season, with Spaniard Ramon Tribulietx the man most likely to be given the task of steering Brisbane back to the top of the league. A new Director of Football is also now required after Ken Stead announced his departure earlier in the week, however all of that could depend on the budget with reports today claiming the club would cut expenses- although that was quickly shot down.
– On the playing staff, while there figures to be some changes, the new man will be limited in the changes he can make, with five first team players and one FT NYL contracted player out of contract. The out of contract players are: Shane Stefanutto, Adam Sarota (returns to Utrecht), Andrea Kaluderovic, George Lambadaridis, Kofi Danning and Ben Litfin.