Thoughts entering the final third of the seasonPosted: February 29, 2016
There’s just six games remaining in the 2015-16 regular season, and with Brisbane set to play arguably their biggest home games of the season in the next month in the chase for a third Premiership it looms as a big end to the season. Here’s some random thoughts I had about things entering March.
1) John Aloisi made his biggest call to date as Brisbane manager by benching the clubs marquee player Thomas Broich for Saturday’s trip to Adelaide. Based on his performances in recent weeks, it’s hard to argue that it wasn’t a risk worth taking, but it didn’t work and he should be back in for Friday nights clash with the Wanderers.
2) The Adelaide game showed Aloisi is prepared to make big calls on the selection front by leaving Broich out, but perhaps it’s time to go further. Michael Theo, Shane Stefanutto, Matt McKay and perhaps even Corona could be looking over their shoulder this week given the recent run of results. Brisbane have excellent depth with the likes of Jamie Young, Luke DeVere, James Donachie and Devante Clut waiting in the wings; perhaps it’s time to consider giving a couple of them a run.
3) The month of March was always going to be season defining for the Roar with big home games against Western Sydney, Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC to play, and it’s shaping up that way as they will play sides sitting 1st, 5th and 6th on the table while also travelling to take on 4th placed Melbourne City. Entering March Brisbane sit 3rd on the A-League table and are still a chance of a top two finish, but if the recent run of poor form continues, finals are not yet locked in with Perth Glory just 7 points back.
4) As mentioned Brisbane enter March sitting 3rd on the table, just three points behind league leaders Western Sydney who visit Suncorp Stadium on Friday night and it’s a must win game for Brisbane if they’re to mount any sort of challenge for the Premiership. The good thing for Brisbane is that four of their last six games of the regular season are at home, and they’ve got an excellent home record this season. So far this season in 10 home games, Brisbane have won seven and lost just the one, picking up 23 points along the way and scoring 20 goals.
5) This season Brisbane’s road form on the other hand been far from fantastic, with 12 points out of a possible 33 picked up away from Suncorp Stadium. In comparison, when Brisbane won the Premiership in 2013-14 they picked up 22 points out of 39, while even last season when we finished 7th Brisbane picked up 20 points out of 42. This season, even if Brisbane win their final two road games of the regular season, the maximum points we’ll end up on is 18.
6) Since Melbourne destroyed the Roar 4-0 in round 15, Brisbane have picked up just 7 points from a possible 21, while continuing to concede a bucket load of goals. In those 7 games, Brisbane have conceded 20 goals, including hauls of 4 against Victory, 4 and 3 against Adelaide and six against Perth. Going into that round 15 game Brisbane were top of the table and full of confidence, however coping two goals in the opening minutes of the game seemed to drain that confidence out the side and in truth we’ve only briefly regained it since.
7) While today’s signing of Tommy Oar will be a boost as we head towards the business end of the season, it won’t fix the issues that the team have at the other end of the park. Still it’s a fantastic to see a home grown talent like Tommy return to the Roar and with a potential front three of Borrello, Oar and Maclaren long term that end of the field looks in good shape.
8) The impact that the return of Oar will have on both Henrique and Thomas Broich will be an interesting one to watch. Broich was dropped for the 1st time in his Brisbane Roar career at the weekend and while it should be possible to fit both Broich and Oar into the same XI, perhaps the days of Broich being an automatic starter are in the past. For Henrique, who is out of contract in May and has made noises about leaving due to not getting enough game time, today’s arrival is another person to compete with for one of the positions in the front third.