Seven Roar youngsters to join pre-season

Seven of Brisbane’s best young players will take part in pre-season when it kicks off next month as a reward for stellar form in the opening half of the 2016 NPL Queensland season. Joe Caletti, Joseph Champness, Nicholas D’Agostino, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Connor O’Toole, Jayden Prasad and Mark Rodic.

Caletti, 17, joined Brisbane in January as an understudy for Spanish midfielder Corona, although he’s been used sparingly since his arrival with just the three games in the NPL so far this season with his passing range suggesting he has plenty to offer moving forward.

Champness has been one of the best players in the youth side this season since his transfer from Moreton Bay United, with his dynamic performances on the left side of the front three leading to four goals in twelve games so far this season.

D’Agostino has been the standout player of this years youth side, with his goalscoring exploits amongst the best in the NPL. After making his first team debut against Perth in round 5 last season, has scored 10 goals in 11 games so far this season and figures to play a part in the A-League squad this upcoming season.

Konstandopoulos, 19, joined the Brisbane youth setup in March for this seasons NPL campaign where he’s made 10 appearances this season in the midfield. Prior to his time here in Brisbane, Nathan spent time with his hometown side Adelaide United, where he made two appearances back in the 2013-14 season, including one against Brisbane where the Reds scored a late winner.

O’Toole, 19, has made five appearances for the Young Roar at left full-back this season in the NPL following his signing with the first team squad after arriving for a trial period following stints with Adelaide’s youth side and Japanese Football Academy Seiritsu. Given his first team contract which kicks in for the next A-League season, it was a given that he would be apart of the pre-season program.

Prasad, another new signing this season after transferring from Redlands, has been a solid contributor in the attacking third in his first season with the Roar, with four goals in eleven games so far despite spending equal amount of time in both in the starting side and on the bench.

Finally, Rodic, who arrived midway through the last pre-season as a trialist, has been a solid if unspectular member of the backline, with twelve appearances in the NPL this term along with a full season in the National Youth League.

Of the seven players, Champness and D’Agostino have been the best performing players so far this season in the NPL of those selected, however the brief glimpses we’ve seen of Caletti have indicated he has the potential to be a very solid #6.

As always with things like this there are players who are unlucky to be left out, and in this case defender Cameron Crestani and midfielder Jesse Daley are those players in this case. Crestani has been the best defender in the side, while skipper Daley is an all action midfielder whose put in a string of impressive performances this season.

With the seven players mentioned above switching their focus towards the first team’s pre-season space has opened up in the youth squad, with Western Pride midfielder Hayden McHenery joining the side.

While a lot will be made of this, im not sure how much it really means for Brisbane’s 2016-17 A-League squad. This time last season, four players- Luke Pavlou, Mitchell Hore, Abrahim Yango and D’Agostino- were given a similar opportunity, however two of those departed at the conclusion of the pre-season while Hore moved on after the NYL campaign.

Regardless of that however, it’s always promising to see so many good young players get their chance in the pre-season and most likely the FFA Cup campaign which kicks off in August.

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