Here we go again.
It wouldn’t be the off-season in recent times without some sort of ownership drama surrounding the Roar. For those unaware, here’s a little bit of a breakdown of what’s happened over the last few days.
Last week the FFA were expecting to hear from Brisbane director Demis Djamaoeddin about the owners plans to take the Roar forward last week, but he returned to Jakarta without doing so.
Amongst the reported concerns of the FFA are the lack of replacement for departed CEO David Pourre who left last month, the ongoing re-capitalisation of the Roar and the general direction the club is heading in.
Yesterday, FFA CEO David Gallop issued a 24hr ultimatum, demanding the Bakrie Group to outline their plans to address the current situation or risk being in breach of the club participation agreement.
Today the FFA confirmed that the Indonesian group required an extra week to respond to the FFA’s concerns. A statement issued tonight by the FFA says that they are considering the request.
The statement issued from the governing body bore similarities to the ones which were released last year during the clubs financial crisis, with deadlines set before backpedalling and allowing more time.
Late this evening –Monday-, Brisbane Roar released a statement of their own, outlining that the FFA had reached out to the clubs owner Nirwan Bakrie and Chairman Rahim Soekasah in relation to their ownership of the Roar.
The statement went on to say that the club is continuing to build towards the 2016-17 season and that the current administration and football department staff have no control over the current discussions.
Both statements have been posted at the bottom of this for those who haven’t seen them.
At the fan forum back in September, Head of A-League Damien De Bohun outlined that it was the FFA’s preference for the Roars current ownership group to remain, provided they met certain criteria along the way.
Despite a successful season on the park and the , the events of the last week have at the very least tested the resolve of the FFA on that point of view, and it may yet have tipped them over the edge.
The successful season the Roar experienced on the park had little to do with the clubs ownership, and the credit for what was achieved should be directed to the playing group, the football department and the front office staff here in Brisbane who worked extremely hard in difficult conditions to lay the foundations for what happened on the pitch.
Off-field things had seemed to stabilise with the repayment of debts rumoured to be somewhere around the 4million mark, while the clubs former CEO David Pourre concluded a deal which will see the Roar’s training and administration base to the City of Logan at a purpose built facility.
The departure last month of CEO Pourre, along with other key staff has been a huge loss, with few staff remaining to keep the club running. Off-field the club has been unable to launch memberships for next season to capitalise on the success of last season.
The Roar’s football department have their own concerns, with the Roar currently operating in something of a holding pattern, with Aloisi and Football Operations Manager Craig Moore unable to plan out their recruitment and preparations for next season as they wait for direction from the clubs owners.
While the scars of past FFA ownership remain for many long term Brisbane fans –massive ticket price increases being the most notable- as things stand it may prove to be the best option, at least in the short term.
They are however still the current owners of the Newcastle Jets as they await the reported sale to a Chinese businessman, something which is no doubt playing on the FFA’s mind as they decide what to do with this situation.
In the end however, it’s time for this to be resolved once and for all. If the current owners have a plan to take Brisbane Roar forward and are fully committed to it, they need to outline that plan immediately and begin to implement it.
It remains to be seen if such a plan exists, or if they will be given the time to create and implement it.
FFA Statement on the situation at Brisbane Roar
“Football Federation Australia have released the following statement in regards to Brisbane Roar and the Bakrie Group.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) has today received correspondence from the Bakrie Group in relation to the Brisbane Roar FC, said an FFA spokesperson.
The Bakrie Group has requested an extension of seven days to address matters raised by FFA. FFA is considering the request for an extension.
FFA last week sought information from the Bakrie Group on the management and financial structure of the Brisbane Roar.”
Brisbane Roar Statement on the Ownership Situation
“In response to media speculation regarding the Brisbane Roar Football Club (BRFC), the club can confirm that Football Federation Australia has sent communications to the BRFC owner (Mr. Nirwan Bakrie) and Chairman (Mr. Rahim Soekasah) in relation to the current ownership of BRFC.
BRFC administration and football department staff have no control over these matters.
BRFC continues to build towards the 2016-17 Hyundai A-League season. Our current A-League squad will complete their training on Saturday 4th June, before commencing their annual break.
BRFC NPL and Women’s teams continue to play in their weekly respective competitions.”
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll take a look back at the season that was, the success stories, the disappointments and take a brief look to what may lie ahead for next season. Last week we looked at the season as a whole, today we’ll look at six players who were ever presents over the course of the season.
To start this review, we’ll first look at the player who John Aloisi said would bring the quality to the Brisbane midfield in the post Luke Brattan era. To fill that hole John Aloisi went to Spain and brought back Corona, a vastly experienced midfielder who joined the Roar on a two year contract.
Despite arriving just a couple of weeks before the start of the season and not getting a lot of match practice ahead of the new season, Corona started the season as strongly as anyone and continued that right throughout.
Statistically the Spaniard had a very strong first year in Australia, playing in every League and Finals game and racking up the second most minutes on the field (2,555) in the Brisbane squad. One of the great strengths in his game is his superb passing game, and Corona lead the league in both passes attempted (1,848) with an accuracy of over 80% and that creates the platform for the attacking third.
Going forward, while he struggled to find the back of the net himself, Corona was one of the leaders in terms of chances created, with his 63 chances created making him the leader in that category for Brisbane, and only second in the competition to Aaron Mooy. The area where Corona really excelled in the front third however was with his set pieces, with the majority of his five assists come from free kicks or corners, including most notably for Thomas Broich in the Semi Final against the Victory.
Next season will likely be more of the same for Corona, who will start the season in the midfield role starting the play from deeper positions. Perhaps with an eye to the future, a part of his role next season will be to mentor January recruit Joe Caletti who despite being just 16 is one that is on the radar to potentially move into the first team squad next season.
Games- 29 (1)
This was an interesting season for Brisbane’s marquee man, who seemed to struggle at times for form out wide on the left, but still chipped in with two goals and six assists over the course of the season despite claims that his influence was beginning to wane.
A form slump around the start of the year however coincided with the teams drop in form and the culmination of this was when he was dropped for the first time in his Brisbane career for the round 21 trip to Adelaide, a game in which Brisbane performed poorly resulting in a 3-0 loss and Broich was restored to the starting line-up the next week against Western Sydney.
This season has seen calls that Broich dropped slightly from his previously high level this season, and when you compare with two similar players who play in the same position – Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Diego Castro- the argument begins to make sense.
Over the 2015-16 season Broich created 55 chances (6th in the league), 6 assists (5th in the league), 21 shots on target, 75% pass completion and 62 fouls won, numbers which place him amongst the league’s elite.
Those numbers compare reasonably favourably and while it’s probably the case that Broich had a better season overall than the Victory winger, he was certainly overshadowed by the Perth marquee who went on to win the award for player of the season.
Despite that however, Thomas Broich is still a magnificent player, and his impact on the side still allowed the likes of Petratos and Corona space to grow into the creative roles in the midfield, and next season should be more of the same. 2016-17.
The one thing that cannot be questioned about Thomas Broich is that he’s a big game player and he proved that once again this season, firstly with the winner against Newcastle in Round 26 to keep the clubs Premiers Plate hopes alive, before the dramatic stoppage time winner against Melbourne in the finals. That goal takes Broich’s finals record to four goals and seven assists from 13 games, and makes him the most influential player in the A-League Finals over the league’s first 11 seasons.
Next season could be an interesting one for Broich, who enters his seventh season with Brisbane and will be out of contract at seasons end. The recent signing of Tommy Oar will provide tremendous competition for that left wing role and it’s possible his role could change next season in order to get the younger player into his natural position. Regardless of where he plays however, Broich will play a massive part in Brisbane’s attacking plans for the 2016-17 season.
In a season which has seen him become the first player to play 200 games for the club -205 in all competitions- Matt McKay did what he always does, he was a consistent team player whose work rate eclipsed most others.
Statistically it was another typical Matt McKay season, with the midfielder once again showing the proficiency of his passing game, with his 1568 passes for the season placing him sixth in the league, and only behind Corona and North for Brisbane players. McKay’s 81.3% passing accuracy also places him 6th across the players ranked inside the top ten of overall completed passes.
It’s not just the number of passes or the accuracy of them which need to be taken into account however, it’s the chances that come from them, and on this score McKay also fares rather well. If we remove Aaron Mooy, who is an outlier with 104 chances created, Matt compares rather well with other creative attacking midfielders across the league. The 37 chances that McKay created over the season sees him fall just outside the top 10 in the league–Romeo Castelen is 10th with 45 chances created-, however it sees Matt in third amongst Brisbane players with just Corona (63) and Thomas Broich (55) with more.
The defining moments of the season for McKay came against the same opposition and just six days apart with a couple of chances which drastically changed the fortunes of the season as a whole. After missing a golden chance to secure an early lead in the must win round 27 clash with the Victory, McKay then levelled the scores for Brisbane in the Elimination final barely a minute after Berisha had given the visitors the lead. While it’s far to simplistic to blame the events of Round 27 at the feet of McKay, it was a fantastic moment of retribution for a player whose offered so much, both this season and in years gone by.
A big part of the season for Matt in recent times has been his national team commitments, and again this season he missed three games for Brisbane due to his participation in Australia’s 2018 World Cup Qualification campaign. That campaign has been progressing well, however McKay’s involvement and influence in the squad is beginning to wane, with the likes of Mooy, Rogic and Luongo now seen as ahead of him in the pecking order.
That obliviously would be a disappointment for McKay should this recent trend continue – he was a late addition to the recent WCQ’s vs. Tajikistan and Jordan, before being included in the England game but not the Greece Friendlies- it would be a massive boost to Brisbane to have their captain available for games played on international weekends.
While his national team future is perhaps in some doubt, McKay’s future with Brisbane is in no doubt, with another season as club captain and a key role in the clubs midfield. 2016-17 is a contract year for McKay, whose two year contract which was announced in December 2014, and while it’s a near certainty he will be retained beyond this upcoming year, it could be the final season for which Matt occupies one of the clubs two marquee spots.
As the only player to play every minute of every game this season for Brisbane, the consistency and reliability of Jade this season has been a valuable part of the Roars’ success this season. That consistency has been invaluable for John Aloisi in his first season of management given the lack of experience surrounding North in the backline.
A big part of Brisbane’s play for a number of years now is playing out from the back, and Jade was a big part of that this season 1466 completed passes (88% completion) helping to launch attacks for the Roar. Going forward Jade also chipped in with some crucial goals, including the equaliser in Round 19 against Newcastle.
His primary job however is to defend, here’s his defensive stats for the 2015-16 season:
Tackles- 25 of 31 (80%)
Duels- 96 of 184 (52%)
Aerial Duels- 45 of 86 (52%)
When comparing those stats to some of the league’s defenders- for this I looked at Dylan McGowan, Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Patrick Kisnorbo who all were at the heart of defence in teams who made the top four- North is slightly lower in comparison but is still a similar range, and it can be explained by Brisbane’s more expansive style of play making the defence more open.
After contractual negotiations wrapped up recently resulting in a fresh one year deal keeping Jade in Brisbane, next season looms as more of the same as he continues his role as the leader of the back four. With Daniel Bowles, Kye Rowles and the injury prone Luke DeVere as the options to play alongside him, it will be more important than ever for North to provide consistency and leadership at the heart of Brisbane’s defence.
Games- 16 (1)
The season started somewhat strongly for Stef, who played in twelve of the first 15 matches of the season, before a fifth yellow of the campaign saw him miss the round 16 home clash with Adelaide. Niggling injury then kept Shane on the sidelines for a further three rounds, before a return to the side in round 20.
While the plan was no doubt to go out on a high note, and possibly with silverware, things didn’t pan out that way for Stefanutto, with his final appearance of the season coming in the 3-2 win over Western Sydney in round 22. Following that game, in which Stefanutto made a costly slip to allow Castelen in to score the goal which sent the visitors 2-1 in front, Aloisi opted to bring Corey Brown back into the side and his consistent run of form meant that Stefanutto ended his playing career outside the matchday squad.
Things didn’t pan out as hoped, but it’s easy to forget the amount of football Stef played this season, with 17 appearances for the season in all competitions. Statistically it wasn’t the greatest year of his career, however when fit he was still a weapon going forward with 33 crosses and 10 chances created over the course of the season. Defensively, his declining pace was beginning to tell with pacy opponents getting the better of him, however he still won just under 50% of his defensive duels -39 from 79- and 62% of duels in the air – 18 from 29-.
It was all but confirmed by John Aloisi in the days prior to the season, but this was Shane’s final season with the Roar, with the now 36 year old announcing his retirement from professional football in the days following the season. Stefanutto departs the Roar after 138 appearances for the club –sixth most all time- and is just one of 10 players to play 100 games for the club. There is talk that a role in either the clubs football department or front office awaits, which would be a solid appointment and help keep some experience within the club.
Clean Sheets- 7
Rounding out this part of the review is the goalkeeper who was expected to be the understudy but inside of two seasons has gone on to become the first choice keeper. Despite making 30 appearances in the 2014-15 season and steadily improving his game, Young found himself back on the bench to start the new season with the fit again Michael Theo reclaiming the no.1 shirt. That however would only last for the opening two weeks before yet another injury opened the path again for Young to get a game, and the shot-stopper went on play in the next 13 games.
In that stretch of games Young had some strong performances and was perhaps unlucky to be dropped for the fit again Theo after Brisbane’s 4-0 loss away to the Victory in round 15, with Young keeping five clean sheets in that run, including three successive games. His time out of the side however would prove to be a brief one, with Young reinstated to the starting line-up for the round 23 clash with Victory, and he went on to play the last five league games and both finals.
Those five games were exciting but despite the high scoring nature of the majority of those games, Young kept a further two clean sheets along the way; both of which somewhat ironically came against the Victory.
Statistically this season has been a solid one for Jamie, with his seven clean sheets on the season putting him equal third across the league, tied with Andrew Redmayne and behind Eugene Galekovic (13) & Vedran Janjetovic (8).
Distribution has been a criticism constantly labelled at Young since his arrival in Brisbane, and while it’s still has room for improvement it’s certainly getting there with a 65% pass completion from over 500 attempts this season. That puts him on par with Michael Theo for the season, while the player voted keeper of the year –Adelaide’s Eugene Galekovic- had a passing accuracy of just over 70%.
While distribution has long been the problem, shot stopping has been the big strength that was on show once again this season, with a save to shot ratio of 72% which places him second on this measure, with Galekovic leading the field on 80%.
Due to his strong finish to the season it’s likely that Young will enter the new season as the clubs first choice goalkeeper which signifies progression, however the experience of Theo can never be counted out provided he’s fully healthy and ready to go. Given his newly signed two year contract extension back in February, it’s likely he’ll be given a shot at making the #1 position his own.
The six players mentioned have been some of the key players of Brisbane’s 2015-16 season, and aside from Stefanutto they’ve regularly been amongst the teams top performers. Tomorrow we’ll look at Brisbane’s young players who’ve developed into first team contributors and regulars.
Brisbane defender Jade North has signed a one year contract extension, which will keep him with the Roar through the 2016-17 season.
“I would like to thank John and all of the coaching staff for having so much faith in me. I look forward to once again playing my part next season, helping the team improve and have continued success”, North said to the clubs official website.
North was an ever-present for Brisbane last season, starting and playing every minute of every game in the clubs League, Cup and Finals campaigns and it should be more of the same next year.
Since arriving in January 2013, North has provided stability at the back for Brisbane, making 87 appearances over the past three and a half seasons. That puts Jade 14th all time in appearances, and in line to become the 12th player to play 100 games for the Roar –Jack Hingert will in all probability be the 11th-.
With Donachie looking likely to move on, North will again have to play the mentor role next season with Daniel Bowles and Kye Rowles likely to be fighting for the spot next to him, while Luke DeVere is also a shout if he’s fit.
That does leave the backline looking a little shaky, particularly if Luke DeVere’s injury struggles continue, so hopefully there’s still something to come in terms of an addition to that group and hopefully that’s James Donachie re-signing given his continual improvement in the past couple of seasons.
North’s re-signing takes Brisbane’s squad to 19 players, with a few players still to be added to the squad for next season. Today’s re-signing leave James Donachie and Henrique as the only two remaining free agents, with Clut, Lustica and Solórzano moving on while Stefanutto announced his retirement.
Brisbane Roar squad as at 17/05/2016
Goalkeepers- Michael Theo, Jamie Young
Defenders- Daniel Bowles, Corey Brown, Luke DeVere, Jack Hingert, Jade North, Connor O’Toole, Jerome Polenz, Kye Rowles.
Midfielders- Shannon Brady, Thomas Broich, Joe Caletti, Corona, Matt McKay, Tommy Oar, Dimitri Petratos.
Forwards- Brandon Borrello, Jamie Maclaren.
Spanish midfielder Corona has taken home the Gary Wilkins medal as Brisbane’s player of the season at the clubs annual awards night. Corona, who beat a field consisting of Jamie Maclaren, Jade North and Jack Hingert to take the award home.
The award is a solid reward for a player who started all 29 games in the League and Finals Series this season and who orchestrated much of the Roar’s attacking based play over the course of the season.
Corona becomes the seventh different person to win the player of the year award after Hyuk Su-Seo, Matt McKay (twice), Craig Moore (twice), Luke DeVere, Thomas Broich (three times) and Besart Berisha.
The big winner on the A-League side of things however was striker Jamie Maclaren, who celebrated his recent call up to the National Squad by taking home a quartet of awards.
His 19 goals throughout the season was more than enough to take home the Golden Boot, to which he added the A-League Players’ Player, Young Player and Members Player of the Year awards.
The W-League awards night was dominated by one player, with Angela Beard taking home both the W-League player and Players’ Player of the year awards. The awards come as recognition for a strong W-League campaign, which saw Angela become an ever-present at left back.
The W-League Golden Boot was taken home by Emily Gielnik, with her four strikes throughout the season enough to win the award.
The clubs National Youth League Player of the Year award and the NYL Players’ Player award weren’t presented on the night, with the awards likely to be presented in future weeks.
Full List of Award Winners
Gary Wilkins Medal- Corona
A-League Players’ Player- Jamie Maclaren
Young player of the year- Jamie Maclaren
A-League Golden Boot- Jamie Maclaren
Members player of the year- Jamie Maclaren
W-League Player of the Year- Angela Beard
W-League Players’ Player- Angela Beard
W-League Golden Boot- Emily Gielnik
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll take a look back at the season that was, the success stories, the disappointments and take a brief look to what may lie ahead for next season. Later on we’ll look at different facets of the team and how the squad could be improved for next season, but for today we’ll start with a general overview of the season.
The pre-season for Brisbane was without question the most traumatic time in the clubs eleven year history, with a host of off-field financial issues threatening to derail the clubs assault on the league for 2015-16.
Without wanting to go through all of the details, we saw the clubs Managing Director, Director of Football, First Team Manager and Assistants all depart early in the off-season, before legal issues surrounding unpaid bills threatened to have the club wound up. There were also monthly concerns surrounding player and staff wages, with the governing body coming very close to stepping in.
With the departures of GM Sean Dobson, Director of Football Ken Stead, Manager Frans Thijssen and his assistants Rado Vidosic and Jeff Hopkins, there were some holes to fill in the clubs senior football department.
David Pourre, who was serving as the clubs Commercial Manager, was appointed interim CEO, while former captain Craig Moore returned to the club in the role of Football Operations Manager. The managers role was rumoured to be filled by Auckland City boss Ramon Tribulietx, however ultimately the clubs board opted for former Melbourne Heart boss John Aloisi, who was appointed in late May. Aloisi brought his brother Ross with him as an assistant, with foundation Queensland Roar defender Karl Dodd joining as Conditioning Coach.
On the park, the off-season saw the departure of a number of players, with Serbian striker Andrija Kaluderovic and on loan midfielder Adam Sarota amongst them. There were none bigger however than Luke Brattan, who departed Brisbane after five seasons and 112 appearances for Manchester City due to the clubs financial dramas.
Coming in the other direction however was young Perth Glory striker Jamie Maclaren, who headed back East in search of regular first team football, while Spanish midfield duo Corona and Javier Hervas also arrived as the season got closer. George Lambadaridis- who was released in May- also returned to Brisbane in a short term injury replacement capacity to start the season.
The clubs 2015 FFA Cup campaign began at the height of the clubs financial crisis with an away tie to Western Sydney in the Round of 32 in mid August, and after a strong first half showing Gol Gol Mebrahtu won the game for the home side, ending the Roars second FFA Cup campaign at the first hurdle.
Elsewhere in the pre-season Brisbane had hit outs against likes of Melbourne Victory, Newcastle and Central Coast Mariners, with a win, draw and loss coming from the three games. The highlight of the pre-season however came right at the start with a glamour friendly against EPL side Liverpool, and after taking the lead thanks to Dimitri Petratos, the visiting English side fought back to secure a 2-1 Victory.
8th– Western Sydney Wanderers 1-3 Brisbane Roar
18th– Brisbane Roar 2-1 Central Coast Mariners
24th– Wellington Phoenix 3-2 Brisbane Roar
31st Brisbane Roar 3-0 Adelaide United
Brisbane’s 2015-16 season started with an away game to Western Sydney Wanderers, who were looking to rebuild following a tough season, but it was the Roar who got off to the perfect start with a brace from Jamie Maclaren and a third to Daniel Bowles giving Brisbane the first three points of the season.
Following a first home win of the season against Central Coast thanks to a Brandon Borrello brace, Brisbane travelled to Wellington and suffered their first loss of the season after falling on the wrong side of a five goal game. The month was rounded out with a comprehensive home win over a disjointed Adelaide side, which saw Brisbane sit top of the league following the opening month of the season.
6th– Sydney FC 0-0 Brisbane Roar
15th– Brisbane Roar 1-0 Perth Glory
20th– Brisbane Roar 1-1 Melbourne City
28th– Newcastle Jets 1-1 Brisbane Roar
November started with another trip to Sydney, this time to the Sky Blue half of the City with a 0-0 stalemate played out between two sides who took a cautious approach to the clash. The following weeks saw arguably the most heart-warming moment of the season from a Brisbane perspective, with Henrique returning from an eight month injury with a crucial winner from the substitutes bench.
The next week, Henrique repeated the trick against City in John Aloisi’ first clash against his former club to help secure a point in what would be Brisbane’s final home game for over a month with a five game road trip on the horizon. That road trip began with a trip to Newcastle, where Brisbane dropped two points after taking the lead against the Jets.
5th– Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1 Brisbane Roar
12th– Brisbane Roar 2-1 Wellington Phoenix
20th– Central Coast Mariners 0-1 Brisbane Roar
27th Brisbane Roar 3-1 Melbourne City
December saw Brisbane start the month for the third successive time in the Harbour City with a trip to Parramatta amidst fan unrest, however unlike round one this time the Wanderers took the points thanks to a Mitch Nichols strike.
The following week saw one of the highlights of the season, which saw football head to Cairns for the first time though regional round clash against Wellington Phoenix. The weekend was from all reports a big success, with a strong crowd turning out to see the Roar come from behind to secure a 2-1 win.
Brisbane’s month long road trip was rounded out with a 1-0 win on the Central Coast, before returning to Suncorp Stadium for another clash with Melbourne City. In front of strong holiday crowd, Brisbane turned on the style to run out winners 3-1, with the third a long range effort from Henrique after City went for broke at a corner.
2nd– Brisbane Roar 2-1 Perth Glory
10th– Wellington Phoenix 0-0 Brisbane Roar
15th– Melbourne Victory 4-0 Brisbane Roar
22nd– Brisbane Roar 1-4 Adelaide United
30th– Sydney FC 1-3 Brisbane Roar
January began with another home win, this time over Perth Glory, however following this game young trio James Donachie, Brandon Borrello and Jamie Maclaren headed off to the Australian u-23 squad for the AFC u-23 Championships, missing the next three games. The next week saw Brisbane head across the Tasman, playing out a scoreless draw, despite having a penalty awarded and then taken away.
Next up was a first meeting of the season with defending champions Melbourne Victory, and after Brisbane seemingly suffered a dose of stage fright, the home side jumped out to a 2-0 lead inside the opening 10 minutes before running away 4-0 winners on the night. The next week, Brisbane suffered their first loss of the season at home with a 4-1 loss at home to Adelaide United.
The month rounded out with a trip to Sydney, and returning Olyroo Jamie Maclaren showed how much he was missed, scoring a brace in a 3-1 win. In the Olyroo trio’s absence, Brisbane scored just one goal –a dubious Henrique penalty- in roughly 300 minutes of game time.
6th– Brisbane Roar 4-0 Central Coast Mariners
12th– Brisbane Roar 2-2 Newcastle Jets
20th– Perth Glory 6-3 Brisbane Roar
27th– Adelaide United 3-0 Brisbane Roar
February started with a pair of home games against Central Coast and Newcastle, the first of which was a strong showing against the Mariners. The next week however saw Brisbane drop crucial points for the second time this season against the Jets, with defensive frailties again beginning to show their heads.
If defensive frailties were on evidence in the Newcastle game, they most certainly were on show in the next two weeks where Brisbane conceded a whopping nine goals. First up in the West Brisbane were hit for six by Perth Glory where defending at set pieces was thoroughly exposed, before going to Adelaide the next week and putting in a poor showing in a 3-0 defeat. Those back to back defeats saw Brisbane head into the final six rounds of the competition in a season low position of 4th.
4th– Brisbane Roar 3-2 Western Sydney Wanderers
12th– Brisbane Roar 5-0 Melbourne Victory
18th– Melbourne City 3-1 Brisbane Roar
26th– Brisbane Roar 3-2 Sydney FC
Massive March as it was dubbed began with the first of three high profile home matches against Western Sydney, and it became the start of what would become a run of miraculous late fight backs, with Dimitri Petratos rounding out the turn around following a Maclaren brace. The next week however there was no need for any late goals, with a Jamie Maclaren hat-trick setting up a massive 5-0 win over Melbourne Victory.
Brisbane then travelled to Melbourne for a top of the table clash with City, and after Dimitri Petratos gave the visitors the league, Jack Hingert picked up the Roar’s first –and only- red card of the season. City then pounced on the undermanned Brisbane side, running out 3-1 winners.
The next week threatened to see Brisbane’s Premiership hopes end completely when Sydney FC fought back to grab an equaliser in the 87th minute. That however only set the stage for super sub Henrique to secure the points straight from the kick-off to secure all three points.
3rd– Brisbane Roar 2-1 Newcastle Jets
9th– Melbourne Victory 0-0 Brisbane Roar
15th– Brisbane Roar 2-1 Melbourne Victory
24th– Western Sydney Wanderers 5-4 Brisbane Roar
The final month of the season saw Brisbane play the final home game of the regular season, and after conceding a penalty which threatened to derail the clubs top two hopes, Brisbane scored two goals in seven minutes, with the winner from Thomas Broich his first of the season, sending the Roar to the top of the table with just one road remaining.
After Adelaide went top the night before, Brisbane needed a win against the Victory away from home in the final round, and despite putting on one of their best road performances of the season, they couldn’t find a way through a resolute Victory side. That draw saw Brisbane end the regular season in third place, one point behind Premiers Adelaide, and behind second placed Western Sydney on goal difference.
That meant that Brisbane’s finals campaign began at home with a second straight clash against the Victory in what was billed as something of a revenge bout following the events of the previous week. The game itself was another classic, with Besart Berisha giving the visitors the lead inside the final five minutes, and just minutes after Jason Geria was sent off. This was however to prove to be the start of another late come back, with Matt McKay scoring barely a minute later to level the scores, before a 94t minute winner from Thomas Broich sent Brisbane through to the Semi-Finals.
That Semi-Final would be against the Wanderers, making this the fifth time the two sides met throughout the year, and the away side got off to a scarcely believable start with the Roar running out to a 3-0 lead after just 23 minutes. That would however prove to be a false dawn with Romeo Castelen leading the fight back for the home side, with his hat-trick helping to vault the Wanderers to a 4-3 lead. Jamie Maclaren then equalised for the Roar to send the game into extra time, before Dario Vidosic won the game for the home side, sending them to Adelaide for the Grand Final and ending the Roar’s season.
While the season ultimately ended with near misses and disappointed in both the Premiers Plate race and the Finals Series, it was remarkable that the club got so close to success given the turmoil of the off-season. All up while the season threatened to be a write off, we were treated to some fantastic moments and the Roar now head into the off-season in a position to build on the season and plan for another run at Silverware next season.
Brisbane Roar have confirmed the signings of youngsters Kye Rowles and Connor O’Toole as John Aloisi begins to reshape his squad ahead of next season.
Rowles, 17, is a Palm Beach Sharks junior who was apart of the Joeys side which went to last years u-17 World Cup and links up with Joe Caletti who was captain of that side.
O’Toole, 19, is a left back who arrives in Brisbane via the Seirtsu Football Academy in Japan and has previously spent time with Adelaide United’s youth side.
Both Rowles and O’Toole have spent the past months training with Brisbane’s A-League side, with O’Toole playing for the NPL side in the weekend’s loss to Brisbane City, while Rowles spent a brief spell on trial in Belgium with Club Brugge.
O’Toole looms as the successor to Shane Stefanutto and will compete for the left back spot with Corey Brown, while Rowles joins a central defensive group which currently includes Daniel Bowles and Luke DeVere.
Both Jade North and James Donachie, who started in the recent A-League finals series are both out of contract, with the football department making noises they’re confident of keeping both.
Going in the other direction are midfield duo Javier Hervas and Steven Lustica, who were told that their contracts would not be renewed.
Lustica, 25, returned to Brisbane Roar in the January transfer window of the 2013-14 season after a brief spell with Adelaide United, and went on to become a valuable member of the matchday squad in the chase for the double.
All up over the course of his two spells with Brisbane, Lustica made 70 appearances for the club, but perhaps tellingly, half of those came as a substitute.
This season saw Lustica’s chances limited further, with just six starts for the season (22 appearances in total). Lustica departs Brisbane after 70 appearances -20th in Brisbane Roar history- and 8 goals to his name, and having played an important part in the clubs 2013-14 double winning season.
Hervas, 26, was a late arrival this season following the naturalisation of Henrique, and the midfielder spent the first half of the season trying to build up his match sharpness.
Perhaps his best moment in his brief Brisbane career came on his debut in round 6 when he assisted the winner for Henrique with his first touch, just seconds after coming on as a sub.
All up Hervas made 17 appearances for Brisbane Roar, with just the two starts which came in rounds 15 and 16. Best of luck to both Javi and Steven for the future, and welcome to both Kye and Connor.
Player Number- 91
Debut- Round 18, 2012-13 (Perth Glory-A)
Games- 35 (35)
Honours- 2013-14 Premiership ,2013-14 Championship
Player Number- 115
Debut- Round 6, 2015-16 (Perth Glory- H)
Games- 2 (15)