Roar to play NPL Queensland u/23 All-Stars

(Kevin Farmer- Toowoomba Chronicle)

(Kevin Farmer- Toowoomba Chronicle)

Brisbane Roar will play against an NPL Queensland u/23 all-stars side in preparation for the upcoming A-League season on September 19th at QSAC. The game will be part of a double-header an NPL Finals Series clash featuring the winners of the Queensland a Northern New South Wales divisions also set to be played on the day.

The NPL side will be a fan voted one, with fans able to vote for the players they’d like to see on the NPL Queensland website, with all players aged 23 and under eligible for selection, with the exception of the Young Roar squad and whichever team participates in the NPL Finals series.

The game against the u/23 representative side looms as one of, if not the final hit-out ahead of the new season with the Round one clash away to the Wanderers just 19 days after that. Looking slightly ahead, the game also falls the weekend before a potential FFA Cup 1/4 final -QF’s  to be played Sept 22/23 and Sep 29-30- although there’s a long way to go before that becomes a reality.

This is the first pre-season game to be confirmed, and there figures to be a two or three more games played across Brisbane in the lead-up to the new season.

Brisbane Roar vs. NPL Queensland u/23 All-Stars
Saturday September 19th
Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre, Nathan
Kick-off TBDas


A-League marquee rules set to change

All class ( Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac)

All class ( Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac)

A-Leagues clubs will soon have more flexibility in building their squad, with the FFA set to makes changes to the marquee player system for the upcoming A-League season.

Currently teams are permitted one marquee player from anywhere in the world, in addition to a second marquee player who must be Australian, however that rule is set to change with the system set to be changed to allow clubs to sign two marquee players from anywhere in the world.

That means that clubs who wish to spend beyond the salary cap will now be able to bring in two high priced visa players, which the league hopes will bring more star players to the A-League in the years to come.

In the immediate future, this has no impact on the Roar, who already have their two marquee players signed for this season in Thomas Broich and Matt McKay – plus the owners have vowed not to spend another dollar on the club-.

The rule change is a good -and overdue- one, with very few Australian players currently of marquee stature, I just cant help wondering what would have been if this rule had come in 12 months ago and if it was; would Besart Berisha still be a Brisbane player?


Latest on the ownership saga

Brisbane’s outgoing Chairman Chris Fong has been rather busy in recent days, with an impromptu twitter Q & A with supporters in the aftermath of Saturday’s revelations in which he revealed that the sale of the Roar was ‘close’ amongst other things.

After making no public comment on the weekends development at the time, Fong responded to the news this morning via an open letter to all Brisbane Roar members in which he pointed the finger at the QRU for potentially damaging the sale process, and in effect their chances of receiving the money they are owed.

Here’s the full open letter emailed to members this morning;

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The news continued this afternoon, after it emerged that in a meeting in Jakarta a couple of weeks ago where the ownership group confirmed that they wont spend another dollar on Brisbane Roar as they seek to sell the club.

Given the above revelation in addition to the current circumstances with the QRU launching legal action and demanding payment by August 19th, in addition to the next round of player payments due just days prior; it would seem likely that things are coming to a head shortly.

Hopefully we’re nearly at the end of this saga, because I think I speak for everyone when I say that everyone is sick and tired of it. The sooner, the better.


Ross Aloisi appointed Assistant Coach

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Despite the ongoing financial dramas surrounding the club, Brisbane Roar have this afternoon confirmed the appointment of Ross Aloisi as the clubs new assistant manger.

Ross has a fair amount of coaching experience behind him, with a spell in charge of Adelaide’s W-League side leading to him being named as Alen Stadjic’s assistant at the recent Women’s World Cup in Canada.

As a play, Ross has extensive national league experience with a five year spell – 2003-2007- with Adelaide United spanning both the NSL and the A-League, before he went across the Tasman to finish his playing career with the Wellington Phoenix. Prior to his stint at the Reds, Ross spent a few years abroad in Europe.

Aloisi joins Brisbane as a replacement for the now departed duo of Jeff Hopkins and Rado Vidosic, who left in the off-season as John Aloisi revamped his coaching set-up.

In addition to brother Ross, Brisbane have added Karl Dodd to the coaching staff as strength and conditioning coach. John Aloisi now appears to have his coaching staff together ahead of the new season.


QRU set to sue Brisbane Roar

Just as Brisbane’s much publicised financial dramas seemed to be stabalising, one of the clubs biggest creditors is set to launch legal action to recover their debut.

It was revealed on 7 news tonight –link-, that the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) were set to launch legal action to receive payment on what they claim is a year of unpaid rent.

The claim relates to unpaid rental costs of Brisbane’s former training venue at Ballymore, a venue the Roar called their training base from 2009 until the end of last season.

The claim calls for the Roar to repay the debt, before August 19, or the company ‘Brisbane Roar Football Club Pty Ltd’ will in all likelihood be placed in liquidation.

This news appears to have come out of the blue,  with reports that this months player and staff payments were made on time, however with a long line of creditors it was only a matter of time.

In a statement, QRU chief Jim Carmichael said in a statement:
“It is disappointing that, not for the first time, the QRU is owed money by the Brisbane Roar,” “Maybe the FFA need to examine the ownership model of their A League franchises and now provide some level of comfort to organisations who have supported this franchise over a number of years and through their difficult times off the field.”

Brisbane Roar offered no comment on the matter.

This evening’s development overshadows what was a terrific performance from the clubs youth side, who defeated Moreton Bay Jets 1-0 this afternoon at Perry Park. A 61st minute goal from Samuel Sibatuara was enough to secure an upset win which potentially dents the title hopes of the Albany Creek based side.

The Youth side’s next clash in the NPQ is next Sunday afternoon against Olympic at Goodwin Park.


What did we learn from John Aloisi’ first game?

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While last nigh was obviously a fantastic spectacle for the game here in Brisbane -particularly for the Liverpool fans-, the game was also significant for the Roar as it was John Aloisi’ first in charge of the three time A-League Champions. So what did we learn from it in terms of the way he intends to re-build the club back into title contenders?

Set-up
The first thing to notice is that the team’s formation and shape has remained in tact, with Aloisi opting for a 4-3-3 formation which has served his predecessors so well. Brisbane started with a midfield trio consisting of Petratos on the right side with Brattan central and Lustica to the left, while the front third saw Borrello start wide right, with Broich back on the left and new signing Jamie Maclaren through the centre. The positioning of Broich is always a focal point with previous managers debating his best role in the side, it’s however that despite Broich floating central as the game progressed, Aloisi intends on using the German playmaker out wide from where he helped lead the side to so much success.

Build-up
When in possession, again there was very little change in the way Brisbane looked to create their attacks, with an emphasis on ball retention and playing out from the back and through the lines. There was one subtle change however, with the switches from side to side to side seemingly quicker, while there were also more balls played in behind for Maclaren and Borrello particularly to try and get on the end of. That could however have also been at least in part due to the high energy pressing game Liverpool played with, so we’ll have to wait and see if that continues through the pre-season.

Brattan’s role
One noticeable change however was the positioning of Luke Brattan, and Aloisi confirmed as much in the post game press conference by saying that he wants the midfielder to stop dropping so deep to start attacks. As Aloisi described, his vision for Brattan is to play slightly further up the park, beyond the first line of the opposition press, so that when he has the ball, he has more passing options at his disposal, particularly forward passes and we saw glimpses of that tonight. Given that Brattan has been seemingly pigeonholed into the deep lying midfielder role, where he drops between the two central defenders to help launch attacks, it’s naturally going to take some time for Brattan to get used to his new role in the side.

Clut not starting
One surprise from Aloisi was that emerging youngster Devante Clut started the game on the bench with the new manager preferring to start with Petratos in a midfield role instead, which in truth in hindsight looks to be a solid decision given Petratos’ scored and his overall performance. Clut however was impressive in his cameo off the bench, however it was interesting that he replaced Brattan in the central role, as opposed to Petratos.

Maclaren
Given the failings of last season with replacing Besart Berisha, a lot of eyes were on new striker Jamie Maclaren tonight and I thought that while it was a tough night for him, he acquitted himself reasonably well. It was clear that he isn’t fully fit yet, which probably played a part in why his Brisbane debut was cut short around the hour mark, but that will improve. He was at times inevitably isolated as the Reds put the Roar backline under increasing pressure, but he held his positioning well. He didn’t have a great deal of service last night, but he made a couple of good runs off the ball which his teammates tried to reward, and but for a couple of good interceptions from the Liverpool defenders he could of been in on goal.

Defensive pecking order
Aloisi’ hand was probably made for him, at least in part with injury issues at the back end of last season for both Polenz and Stefanutto probably necessitating a cautious approach to both so early in the pre-season. The interesting point here is that when Stefanutto was replaced, it wasn’t regular replacement Corey Brown coming off the bench it was Polenz, with Hingert shuffling across to the left side. Perhaps more alarmingly for the young left back, Daniel Bowles was also preferred to Brown when Hingert was himself later replaced. It’s only one game, however when there’s a natural left back on the bench, and he’s overlooked twice to fill a hole at left back, it’s not a good sign.

Youngsters impress again
As is the case in these pre-season/ exhibition games, the second half turns into a great opportunity for young players to test themselves and make a name for themselves, and once again Brisbane’s young cubs put in a solid display. The likes of Brady, Yango, Clut, D’Agostino and Hore all got game time last night, and just like they did against Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets and Villarreal, they held their own. Defender Lachlan Jackson may have departed the club this week, but there’s still a tremendous group of youngsters waiting in the wings, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see one or two cement their spot in the Matchday squad as the season progresses. By the end of the game, Brisbane had seven players under the age of 23 on the park, all of whom have at least in part been developed through the clubs youth setup, which is a fantastic achievement and further underlines the impressiveness of last nights display.

There was a lot to like about the way Brisbane went about their football last night, but there’s also a long way to go until the Roar will be back challenging for top spot on the table. Last night’s performance against Liverpool however was a good first step, and should provide some optimism as John Aloisi seeks to rebuild the club.


Liverpool edge past Roar

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Brisbane Roar have gone down fighting against English side Liverpool on Friday night, with James Millner’s 75th minute goal enough to separate the two sides.

The majority of the 50k crowd were left silenced after Dimitri Petratos opened the scoring in the 17th minute after some good build up play down the left hand side.

Brandon Borrello’s cut back from the by-line found Petratos on the edge of the area. The attacking midfielder then took a touch past Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel, before placing his shot into the bottom corner of the net past Mingolet.

After going a goal down Liverpool began to assert themselves on the fixture, with a superb one handed save low to his right from Jamie Young all that was to deny Divock Origi his second goal in a week.

Moments later however it was 1-1, with English international Adam Lallana cutting inside from the left past Jack Hingert, before giving Young no chance in the Roar goal by curling his shot into the top corner of the net.

The second half saw the traditional raft of changes, with both sides making a string of changes around the hour mark in order to give both fringe and young players a chance to shine.

Devante Clut, who was amongst those introduced to the game, had the best chance of the second half for the Roar, with his long range shot grazing the top of the net as it went over.

It was however Liverpool with their superior fitness who began to dominate as the second half continued and they got their winner with 15 minutes to play, with new signing James Millner getting his first goal for the club.

There was an element of luck to the goal however, with a cruel deflecting seeing the ball bounce over the head of the onrushing Jamie Young and into the goal.

Brisbane pushed for an equaliser late on, but in truth it never looked likely, with a stoppage time set piece the closest they came to earning what would have been a famous draw.

For the Roar, it’s a first up loss in the reign of John Aloisi, but there were a lot of positive signs to take from the game -particularly the first 45 given the turbulence which has surrounded the club in recent weeks.

There were also some interesting things that happened within the game which could provide some insight into how the new manager plans to re-build the three time A-League champions. More on that in a post to follow.

From Liverpool’s point of view, they weren’t overly convincing tonight, but they got the job done, in large part to the driving force in midfield of Millner and captain Jordan Henderson, whose influence on the game grew as it went on.

The Reds did overrun the Roar in the end due to a gulf in quality, but also in large part to the fact they are much further along in pre-season with the Roar having only began their training a little over 2 weeks ago. Liverpool now travel to Adelaide to take on Josep Gombau’s men on Monday night.

Brisbane: Young, Hingert, North, Donachie, Stefanutto, Brattan, Lustica, Petratos, Borrello, Broich, Maclaren.
Substitutions: Polenz for Stefanutto (46′), Clut for Brattan (57′), D’Agostino for Maclaren (62′), Bowles for Hingert (72′), Yango for Broich (72′), Brady for Borrello (72′), Hore for Petratos (90′).
Unused Substitutes: Crickmore (GK), Brown, Theodore, Pavlou.

Liverpool: Mingolet, Clyne, Skrtel, Sakho, Gomez, Henderson, Millner, Levia, Lallana, Ings, Origi.
Substitutions: Maguire for Gomez (62′), Toure for Sakho (62′), Ibe for Lallana (62′), Kent for Origi (62′), Rossiter for Levia (69′), Lambert for Ings (76′).
Unused Substitutes: Bogdan (GK), Lovren, Moreno, Allen, Wisdom, Markovic, Teixeira, Ojo, Wilson, Cleary, Chirivella.

Up next: The pre-season continues for the Roar, with an FFA Cup Round of 32 clash in Penrith against Western Sydney on August 11th looming as the next game on the calendar. There will in all probability be a few games against the local sides in the interim period given that is four weeks from this coming Tuesday.

Those are yet to be officially announced however, and as always we’ll bring you news on that front, in addition to any potential transfer activity here.