Off-Season Review

Plenty has happened while the first team squad have been on their annual break, so with pre-season starting today it’s a good time to take a look back at the events of the off-season.

April
28th– Clut departs Brisbane, joining Newcastle Jets on a 2 year deal.
29th– Roar branded City cat unveiled at South Bank.
29th– Jean Carlos Solórzano announces departure from Brisbane Roar.
30th– Shane Stefanutto announces retirement from professional football.

When the season eventually ended in late April, the early days of Brisbane’s off-season was dominated by the announcement of player departures. Long time left-back Shane Stefanutto retired after six seasons and 138 games for Brisbane, going on to play for NPL side Olympic and take up a position in the Roar media team. While attacking duo Devante Clut and Jean Carlos Solórzano announced their departures as their contracts expired joining Newcastle Jets and Rochedale Rovers respectively.

The other news of the month was the unveiling of the Brisbane Roar branded City Cat which roams up and down the Brisbane River along with ferries representing the cities other sports teams.

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Remember when the off-season consisted of positive news like this?


May

3rd– Javier Hervas and Steven Lustica confirmed as moving on as their contracts expire.
3rd– Roar add Kye Rowles and Connor O’Toole to the A-League squad,
duo sign 2yr deals.
7th– Javier Hervas joins Bosnian side Zeljeznicar
11th– CEO David Pourre announces departure.
11th– Local advisory board announced. David Pourre, Robert Cavalucci, Alicia Ferguson will be on it.
12th– Corona wins Gary Wilkins medal at annual awards night.
13th– Post-season training ends.
17th– Jade North signs 1 year contract extension.
28th– Jamie Maclaren makes Socceroos debut in a 2-1 loss to England.
29th– FFA give Bakrie Group a 24hr window to address concerns over financial and management of BRFC.
30th– Bakrie Group ask for a week long extension to respond to the FFA. FFA consider the request.
31st– FFA give Bakrie group a week to provide FFA a response to concerns over the management and financial position of BRFC.

The month of May began with further changes to the playing squad, with midfield duo Steven Lustica and Javier Hervas moving on as their contracts expired. Lustica ended up taking up a one year deal with Western Sydney, while Hervas returned to Europe with Bosnian side Zeljeznicar. Joining the Roar meanwhile are young defensive duo Kye Rowles and Connor O’Toole on two year deals. Central defender Rowles, 17, joins the Roar from Palm Beach after starring for the Australian u/17 side at the World Cup, while O’Toole, 19, joins from Adelaide’s youth side after a spell in Japan. Meanwhile experienced defender Jade North signed a contract extension.

At the clubs annual awards night Spanish midfielder Corona picked up the big award of the night, taking home the Gary Wilkins medal for winning player of the year. The big winner of the night however was Jamie Maclaren, who took home players’ player, members player, Golden Boot and young player of the year awards. On the women’s side, Angela Beard picked up the two big awards of the night including W-League player of the year, while Emily Gielnik won the Golden Boot.

The middle of May saw the announcement that Brisbane CEO David Pourre would be departing the role, although it was coupled with the announcement that there would be a Brisbane based advisory board on which Pourre would serve. Joining Pourre on that board are former LNP MP Robert Cavalucci and former Brisbane W-League player Alicia Ferguson.

After weeks of rumours surrounded further off-field stability, the FFA released a statement demanding that the Bakrie Group ease growing concerns surrounding the financial status and ongoing management of the club.  It had been reported in the media that the clubs financial situation was heading towards the same situation as last off-season, while Indonesian directors Raheem Soekasah and Demis Djamaoeddin reportedly were unreachable. In response the Bakries asked for a further week in order to respond to the FFA, a request which the governing body eventually accepted.

June
1st– FFA Grant Bakrie Group a 1 week extension on deadline.
1st– Medial staff quit over unpaid medial bills.
1st– James Donachie announces departure. Later joins Melbourne Victory.
4th– Shane Stefanutto joins NPL Queensland side Olympic FC.
6th– Bakrie Group pledge to inject 2mil capital and appoint a CEO to keep the licence.
6th– FFA release statement indicating satisfaction at the ownerships response.
7th– Former Roar striker Jean Carlos Solórzano joins BPL side Rochedale Rovers.
8th– Daniel Cobb announced as Brisbane MD and interim CEO.
8th– Reports Bakrie Group set to sell BRFC licence to Melbourne consortium lead by Daniel Cobb.
9th– Season 2016-17 A-League Draw released. Brisbane to play 1st game of season against Melbourne Victory.
16th– Henrique confirms departure from Brisbane Roar.
22nd – 7 Roar youngsters named in Roar pre-season squad.
23rd– Western Pride Youngster Hayden McHenery added to Roar youth squad. Jaiden Walker joins GC City.
24th– Roar W-League assistant coach Jeff Hopkins joins Melbourne Victory as W-League head coach.
27th– Stefanutto joins Roar media team.
30th– Brisbane drawn against Perth Glory FFA Cup Round of 32.

June began where may left off, with the clubs medical department reportedly quitting the role due to some unpaid medical expenses. The off-field situation would receive some more clarity however with the clubs owners committing to inject 2million worth of capital and appoint a new CEO. The developments would prove enough to satisfy the FFA, despite rumours swirling that the governing body would step in and take over the licence.

Just days later the Bakrie Group announced Daniel Cobb as both Managing Director and Interim CEO, however that wasn’t the end of Cobbs involvement in the Roar with the Melbourne based businessman leading a consortium which would eventually buy the licence from the Indonesian ownership group.

Since that date however there has been little news on that front which has lead to ongoing uncertainty. On field it was a month of further departures, with long serving import Henrique and home grown defender James Donachie departing. Both opted not to renew their contracts in Brisbane with Henrique opting for a new challenge and more game time in Malaysia, while Donachie used a mistake in his contract expiry date to join Melbourne Victory.

Another departure from Brisbane to the Victory, with W-League assistant coach Jeff Hopkins taking the head coaching role of the Victory side who missed the finals last season. Hopkins has been involved in both the Roar youth and A-League sides, but it’s with the W-League side where he had the most success with two Championships, a Premiership and four Grand Final appearances in as many seasons.

June was also the month that saw the A-League and FFA Cup Round of 32 draws released, with Brisbane starting their league campaign at home to the Victory in the first game of the season. They also received a home draw in the FFA Cup, with fellow A-League side Perth Glory making the trip East.

Rounding out June was the announcement that seven of Brisbane’s best youth team products would be apart of the pre-season campaign with the first team. Defenders Mark Rodic and Connor O’Toole, midfield duo Joe Caletti and Nathan Konstandopoulos and attacking trio Joseph Champness, Jayden Prasad and Nicholas D’Agostino all joined in training today. With vacancies in the youth side due to the promotions, several members of the u/18 squad joined the NPL setup, as did Western Pride midfielder Hayden McHenery who has impressed this season.

July
1st– FFA refuse to dip into centralised marquee fund to help Brisbane secure Brett Holman.
4th– Clare Polkinghorne, Tameka Butt and Katrina Gorry named in the Matildas Olympics squad.
4th– Brisbane docked 3 NPL points for a mistake on the team sheet.
5th– Brisbane’s FFA Cup clash confirmed at Ballymore. Aug 10th.
6th– Brisbane’s training and admin bases move back to Ballymore.
7th– European interest in Jamie Maclaren returns.
9th– Brisbane sign Jacob Pepper to a one year A-League deal.

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New signing Jacob Pepper

The month began with the announcement of the Matildas squad for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and three of Brisbane’s W-League stars made the cut. Defender and club captain Clare Polkinghorne, and midfielders Katrina Gorry and Tameka Butt making the cut for the tournament next month.

Finally, the off-season ended on a more positive note with the signing of midfielder Jacob Pepper on a one year deal. Pepper adds some depth and a more defensive mindset to a Brisbane midfielder which is stacked with attack minded players.

The off-season is now over and the preparations for next months FFA Cup Round of 32 clash against Perth, and the season proper beginning in October are now underway.  Despite that there’s still plenty of uncertainty around the Roar which is likely to continue for a little while yet, both on and off the park.

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