Brisbane Roar have signed Spanish wingier Manuel Arana Rodriguez on a one year contract. The deal, first reported by Marco Monteverde in the Courier Mail last night, is yet to be officially announced by the Roar, but was mentioned in their members email regarding the new playing kits this afternoon.
Rodriguez, 31 arrives in Brisbane with considerable experience in both La Liga and the Segunda division in his homeland.
Most recently Rodriguez played for Mallorca in the second division of Spanish Football, scoring 10 goals in 52 appearances.
Rodriguez arrives reportedly as a right winger, but according to various websites he can also play on the left hand side in addition to a central striking position, so he figures to add some versatility to John Aloisi’ attacking options.
If indeed Rodriguez has been signed to play on the right, he’ll be fighting the likes of Brandon Borrello, Dimitri Petratos and Jayden Prasad for playing time.
The signing of Rodriguez takes Brisbane’s squad up to 22 players, with a total of 24 when including scholarship duo Konstandopoulos and Caletti. There is also now only two visa spots available, however all three signed will be eligible for the Asian Champions League campaign due to the AFC’s 3+1 campaign.
Brisbane Roar squad as at 13/09/2016
Goalkeepers– Michael Theo, Jamie Young.
Defenders– Luke DeVere, Daniel Bowles, Jade North, Kye Rowles, Corey Brown, Connor O’Toole, Jack Hingert.
Midfielders– Thomas Broich, Thomas Kristensen, Tommy Oar, Matt McKay, Jacob Pepper, Dimitri Petratos, Brett Holman, Shannon Brady, Manuel Arana Rodriguez, Joe Caletti*, Nathan Konstandopoulos*.
Forwards– Jamie Maclaren, Joey Katebian, Brandon Borrello, Nicholas D’Agostino.
*Denotes Scholarship contract holders.
With the new season set to get underway in just 7 days time, our annual season preview series is here and over the next two weeks we’ll take an in depth look at the 2016-17 tea. Previously we’ve covered the Goalkeepers, the right backs, the left backs, central defenders, central midfielders, attacking midfielders and right wingers, today we’ll look at the left wingers.
If there’s one outfield position that looms as the selection battle to watch over the course of the season it’s on the left hand side of midfield with both Tommy Oar and Thomas Broich having strong claims on the role. Both will likely get their chance over the course of the season and the decision on who starts could well come down to a tactical choice between two different types of wingers.
After playing just a bit part role following his arrival in January, this season figures to see the fringe Socceroo re-establish himself as an important member of the first team squad.
Last season was a disrupted one for Tommy who departed English side Ipswich Town just months after signing for the Championship side, before going on to make just the six appearances late in the season with the Roar.
As a player Oar brings a different style to the left hand side for the Roar, with the 25 year old being a more direct and pacy proposition for defences as opposed to Broich who uses his quick feet to create chances for his teammates. As a duo it could prove to be an effective tandem with coming off the substitutes bench midway through the second half to offer fresh legs and create a different problem should Brisbane be chasing the game.
This year is an important one for Oar, who will be desperate to regain his place in the National Team set-up ahead of next years’ Confederations Cup. In the pre-season Oar has been a regular in the sides before a recent injury which has kept him out of the previous two matches, and perhaps tellingly in the FFA Cup Round of 32 loss to Perth it was Oar who started on the left hand side ahead of Broich.
Having been considered an automatic started since arriving in 2010, this could be the year that Thomas Broich transitions from the starting line-up to a substitutes role.
As mentioned in the above discussion around Tommy Oar, playing time and starting appearances could come down to tactical decisions as much as how either player performs.
Despite all of that however, Thomas is still amongst the most talented players in the league and even with diminished playing time he still figures to have a big impact on the outcome of Brisbane’s 2016-17 season.
This pre-season has seen Thomas feature regularly in the side, although perhaps in a sign of things to come he was dropped to the substitutes bench for the FFA Cup loss to Perth. With his contract up at the end of this season and the recent public comments about winding down, this could be the last season we see Thomas in orange.
While Oar and Broich are likely to command the majority if not all of the playing time on the left, youngster Joseph Champness is another promising young winger waiting in the wings of the clubs youth ranks.
Like Prasad on the right Champness arrived in the Young Roar squad at this time last season following a successful season with Moreton Bay United, and has been a regular in the National Youth League and NPL Queensland campaigns.
Champness made 14 appearances in the NPL this past season, scoring four times playing mostly from the left hand side but he has shown the versatility to play on the right at times.
Over the course of the pre-season, Champness has been in and around the first team squad, appearing in a couple of games but was an unused substitute in the FFA Cup lost to Perth. Champness has also been part of the Young Socceroos squad, scoring the winner in the AFF u-19 Championships and was today named in the squad for the AFC u-19 Championships which double as the qualifiers for next years’ u-20 World Cup in South Korea.
The left wing position figures to be fascinating with an interesting one with two outstanding options at John Aloisi’ disposal, and it’s a luxury that the other nine managers in the league would love to have. With Oar missing a couple of games with injury I wouldn’t be surprised if Broich is preferred in round one, but both will feature prominently.
With the new season set to get underway in just 9 days time, our annual season preview series is here and over the next two weeks we’ll take an in depth look at the 2016-17 tea. Previously we’ve covered the Goalkeepers, the right backs, the left backs, central defenders, central midfielders and the Attacking Midfielders, today we’ll look at the right wingers.
Last season youngster Brandon Borrello cemented his spot as the first choice on the right wing with some high energy performances, acting as a solid foil for striker Jamie Maclaren. This year however his competition has changed with fan favourite Henrique moving on, he’s now got the displaced Dimitri Petratos fighting for his old spot back in addition to a couple of youngsters who are in a similar position to which he found himself in just two years ago.
Last season in his first full season as a starter, Borrello netted a respectable five goals in as a secondary attacking option for John Aloisi’ side, although four of those did come in the opening month of the season.
As is expected with younger players making there way there was a dip in form midseason which resulted in a few weeks out of the starting side before he fought his way back into the side towards the end of the season.
The development of Brandon over the past 18 months or so does raise the question of how long he will remain with Brisbane, with reported interest from both European and Asian suitors before the 21 year old signed a fresh two year contract extension earlier this year. Should he continue to develop as expected over the next year or so, that interest is likely to return.
In terms of what would mark as progress for Borrello this season, playing in all 27 league games –he played 22 last time around- and adding an extra 3-4 goals to his tally for the season –pushing him towards double figures- would put him in the frame for higher honours and a move abroad.
Borrello has been a regular in pre-season occupying his usual right wing position in the games he’s playing, putting in sold if unspectacular performances and is set to start the season as the first choice on the right hand side.
As mentioned in the attacking midfielders preview Petratos spent most of last season playing as the most attacking minded of the midfield trio, although the arrival of Brett Holman could see him lose out in that position as John Aloisi utilises the talents of his big off-season signing.
In that eventuality, Petratos would likely either be limited to a substitutes role where he could cover any of the front four positions in the side, or be in competition for the right wing slot with Borrello.
Petratos of course did arrive in Brisbane to fill that role in 2013 following the departure of Ben Halloran and ended up playing a big part in the teams double winning season on that side, before shifting back into a midfield role the following season under new boss Frans Thijssen.
While Petratos has spent the majority of the pre-season playing that central role, Petratos did spend some time on the right hand side in the weekends game in perhaps a sign that he could be transitioning back to his initial role with the Roar.
Having someone with Petratos’ versatility in both roles is a real luxury for Aloisi as he looks for competition for places all across the side, but he’s also got to fill the massive shoes of Henrique who made that super sub role his own in recent times.
One of the forgotten men in the Brisbane squad, Brady has been rarely sighted in recent months, with the 20 year old not featuring on the team sheet since a NPL Queensland team sheet back in June.
It’s possible that given he hasn’t been sighted that Brady is no longer with the Roar, but there’s been no news of that affect so it’s likely that he’s either injured or completely out of favour.
Brady made just the two substitutes appearances last season, totalling just 25 minutes of game time and hasn’t appeared in any of the fixtures this pre-season, behind closed doors or open to attendance.
Assuming Brady is still with the Roar, that fact doesn’t bode well for him and with the likes of Jayden Prasad and Joseph Champness waiting in the wings as part of the Young Roar side there doesn’t appear to be a future for Brady in Brisbane.
This time last season Prasad was getting to know his new Young Roar teammates having just joined the set-up from Redlands United, Jayden quickly established himself in the startling line-up over the summers National Youth League before further consolidating his building reputation in the NPL Queensland season.
Four goals in Eleven games doesn’t sound like the best return, but when you factor in he missed a third of the season on annual break and playing in pre-season with the first team it’s an impressive tally. Those first team opportunities came early in the pre-season in the two games on the Gold Coast against Sydney and Western Sydney.
Since the conclusion of the Young Roars’ NPL commitments, Prasad has spent time in and around the first team set-up and most recently was part of the Australian side which recently won the Asean Football Federation u-19 Championships.
Stylistically there’s a lot of comparisons to be drawn between Prasad and Borrello, with the two sharing similar attributes playing wise and having their youth team performances overshadowed by highly regarded teammates. In the case of Borrello it was Jai Ingham and Kwame Yeboah, while for Prasad currently it’s Nicholas D’Agostino.
While Prasad is definitely talented, the presence of Borrello and Petratos is likely to limit Prasad’s chances to the Young Roar set-up once again this season, but if he continues to take strides forward similarly to those he has over the past season he could find himself in and around the first team.
There’s a number of options of the right wing position this season, and perhaps importantly for John Aloisi they’re all youngsters with high energy which could offset any potential issues surrounding the elder members of the midfield group alongside them. Borrello will once again be the man to watch, and John Aloisi will no doubt be hoping for further progression from his no.28.
With the new season set to get underway in just 9 days time, our annual season preview series is here and over the next two weeks we’ll take an in depth look at the 2016-17 tea. Previously we’ve covered the Goalkeepers, the right backs, the left- backs, central defenders and central midfielders, today we’ll look at the Attacking Midfielders.
It seems that this season could see a change in the shape of the midfield as John Aloisi introduces a no.10 to the side, a move which will bring about a slight change in the way Brisbane play but one which should add some more control of the game with two deeper lying midfielders.
Apart from some brief flirtations from Frank Farina and Ange Postecoglou at times with a 4-4-2 shape, Brisbane have almost exclusively played a 4-3-3 shape with a midfield trio where three central midfielders have played alongside one another which has allowed for them to control the possession in the vast majority of games. There has however been a few instances where that 4-3-3 has morphed into a 4-2-3-1 shape to accommodate the likes of Charlie Miller and Mitch Nichols in years past.
The signing of Holman following a protracted period of negotiations including the rejection of the former Socceroo as a marquee player outside of the salary cap but adds an extra element to the 2016-17 side from an attacking standpoint.
Holman arrives back in Australia following a 14 year overseas career including stops in Netherlands where he won the title with AZ Alkmaar and one season in the English Premier League with Aston Villa. More recently Holman has been in the United Arab Emirates with Al Nasr before spending last season with Emirates Club.
As a player Holman brings the ability to link up all of Brisbane’s patterns going forward and looms as a vital cog between the midfield duo of McKay and Kristensen, and the attacking trio around him of Maclaren, Borrello and either Broich or Oar.
We’ve not seen a lot of Holman in the Pre-Season with just the one 45 minute cameo in the first half against the NPL Queensland u-23 select side last season, a game in which he looked a little rusty but showed the potential he has to bring to the side this season. It could take a few weeks for Holman to reach peak fitness, but once he gets there the former Socceroo figures to play a big part in the side.
While Brisbane didn’t play with a traditional no.10 last season, it was Petratos who filled that role in the midfield three albeit more on the right hand side as opposed to centrally. The big question over Petratos is his ability to perform at his best consistently over the course of an entire season, with his performances often varying over the season.
Last season ended well for Petratos who was an integral part of the side with impressive performances towards the back end of the season including in the finals series. Seven goals last season was a career best for Dimi and rates amongst the leagues best, however with just 15% of his shots being on target there’s room for improvement which dates back to the consistency issue.
This season will be an interesting one for Petratos with much more competition for places in the side in his positions. With new signing Brett Holman likely to play a key role in that central attacking midfield position, Petratos could be shifted to either the right hand side where Brandon Borrello is an option or to a super sub role similar to that which Henrique occupied in previous seasons.
In the pre-season Dimi has played in both the central role and on the right hand side although it’s worth noting that with Holman available in Saturday’s game with the NPL u-23 select side, Petratos started out on the right wing before switching more central in the second half following Holman’s withdrawal at half-time.
In the FFA Cup loss to Perth, Aloisi opted to move Oar central when chasing the game in the second half and while the team looked better with Oar playing centrally it wasn’t enough to turn the game back in Brisbane’s favour. This was however before Brett Holman was even rumoured as a signing for Brisbane so the addition of the former Socceroo could limit Tommy’s potential playing time in a central role this season. I’ll talk more about Tommy in previews later in the week when we cover his more natural left wing role.
Broich has been deployed centrally in the past with mixed results and is a fourth option Aloisi could call upon. Thomas’ best work centrally however has been as a ‘false 9’ so it’s likely that Broich will be limited to the left wing role where he’s been a fixture since joining the Roar in 2010.
It’s possible that Broich could see some game time in the central attacking-midfield role, although it’s far more likely that following the signing of Holman that he will be utilised on the left in competition with Tommy Oar.
In terms of youth options, there’s so clear standout in this role due to the fact the Young Roar side played mostly with one holder and two men ahead of him. Should they be needed the likes of Nathan Konstandopoulos and Jesse Daley could play in that role –and have at times in pre-season-, while an outsider in the frame would be first year scholar Nicholas Panetta who showed glimpses of promise but is still likely a year away from being in the running. Given the importance of the role however it’s unlikely that any of the clubs youth will be deployed in this role.
The arrival of Holman figures to add some extra quality and experience to a midfield group which also stacked with those attributes, although the question of a starting midfield consisting of two 33 year olds and a 32 year old being two old is a valid one. Holman and McKay however are noted for their energy and work-rate so it’s not quite as bad as it seems.
The change to a 4-2-3-1 will be an interesting one to watch over the course of the season with the likelihood of there being more rigid roles for the midfield trio as opposed to the more fluid roles we’ve seen in years past. However this role plays out, and the influence that Holman has on the team this season will likely go a long way to deciding the 2016-17 teams fate.
With the new season set to get underway in just 11 days time, our annual season preview series is here and over the next two weeks we’ll take an in depth look at the 2016-17 tea. Previously we’ve covered the Goalkeepers, the right backs, the left- backs and central defenders, today we’ll look at the central midfielders.
If pre-season is any indication, it’s the midfield shape which could be set for the biggest shake up heading into 2016-17, with the transition into two deeper lying midfielders behind a genuine no.10. We’ll cover the attacking midfield role tomorrow but here’s the list of options who could play in the deeper lying roles, a group of players who each bring something different to the table.
The club captain had a solid year last time around, remaining in the upper echelon of midfielders in the league with his influence going forward.
Last season McKay ranked amongst the best midfielders in terms of chances created with 37, a number which ranks him amongst the best midfielders in the competition and the signs from pre-season are that it should be more of the same this year.
While McKay remains an integral part of the Brisbane side, his place in the National Team appears to have slipped form his grasp, with Ange Postecoglou preferring different midfield options in recent months.
This pre-season has been typical Matt McKay with energetic performances in the trial games and the FFA Cup loss to Perth, and appears set for a big season in the heart of midfield.
Coming into the midfield as a replacement for the departed Spaniard Corona, Kristensen will be looking to plug a big hole in the heart of the Brisbane engine room.
Kristensen brings different qualities to those of his predecessor, with the Dane’s height bringing a dimension to Brisbane’s midfield that has been missed since Erik Paartalu’s departure in January 2013.
As a player it’s tough to gauge Kristensen as a player given the only time I’ve seen him play was in the game against the BPL Select side last month, a game where he played as a central midfielder alongside Matt McKay. On the night, Kristensen was on the right side of the midfield duo, with one midfielder pressing forward in defence while the other sat.
Since arriving in Brisbane the Roar have eased Kristensen in with the midfielder only making a handful of appearances in pre-season, and he was a late withdrawal from the weekends clash with the NPL Select side.
A recent addition in Brisbane over the off-season, Pepper arrives at his third A-League club following stints at Newcastle and Western Sydney.
Last season Pepper made 11 appearances for the Wanderers, helping them to a second placed finish and a Grand Final defeat.
While Pepper is nominally a central midfielder by trade and his primary role on the 2016-17 side is to act as back-up to Thomas Kristensen, he could also fill a duel role as a utility similarly to that of Diogo Ferreira in 2013-14.
Pepper might not be the most talented player in the squad, he will however fill an important role in the side over the course of the season in multiple positions of the team.
Arriving from Adelaide just prior to the start of the 2016 NPL Queensland campaign, Konstandopoulos earned a chance with the first team with solid performances over the first half of 2016.
After continuing to impress in the pre-season Nathan made his full debut off the bench in the August FFA Cup loss to Perth Glory, and has featured in most of Brisbane’s pre-season fixtures.
Looking ahead to the season it’s likely that Konstandopoulos will start the season as a depth option for John Aloisi, possibly starting the season on the bench but most likely just on the fringes of the matchday squad.
A young midfielder signed in January by John Aloisi from the FFA Centre of Excellence in January and has been rarely sighted in Brisbane colours since arriving, making his first appearance with the senior side in yesterdays win over the NPL select side.
This season it’s likely that Caletti will find himself more involved in the Young Roar set-up while also being involved in junior National Teams, but an A-League debut still seems to be a while off.
The Young Roar captain is another option who could add depth to the 2016-17 side following a strong season in the NPL Queensland. The midfielder fulfilled a box to box in the youth side this season, but in his sole first team appearance this pre-season he played in an attacking midfield role showing his versatility. It’s most likely that Daley will be restricted to the National Youth League this campaign but it does appear he is on John Aloisi’ radar.
Brisbane’s midfield seems to be the most balanced with a good mix of experienced and young options and a blend of attacking and defensive minded players. The starting duo of McKay and Kristensen looks to be a strong combination, although that could well depend on the availability of Kristensen whose been eased through pre-season. The depth in the midfield is also arguably stronger in this position than anywhere else with the likes of Pepper and Konstandopoulos the first to get a chance
Brisbane Roar (3) Broich 24, Maclaren 35’, 83’.
NPL Queensland u-23 select (1) Duckworth 58’
Brisbane Roar have competed their pre-season campaign for 2016-17 with a 3-1 win over an NPL Queensland u-23 select side at QSAC on Saturday afternoon.
A brace from Jamie Maclaren and a third from Thomas Broich secured the win for Brisbane, with Western Pride’s impressive striker Joseph Duckworth getting a goal for the select side.
1) Thomas Broich 24’ (BRI)- Brisbane’s marquee man opened the scoring for Brisbane midway through the first half with a bullet header reminiscent of his effort in the semi-final win over Melbourne. The goal was one of a few efforts on goal from Broich on the day, with the left winger seemingly more intent on taking a strike on goal this season.
2) Jamie Maclaren 35’ (BRI)- New signing Brett Holman linked up with Petratos on the right hand side, before a cut back found Jamie Maclaren free in the box to finish from close range and double the lead.
3) Joseph Duckworth 58’ (NPL)- The young NPL select side got a goal for their hard work around the hour mark when Olympic midfielder Sam Cronin played in Western Pride attacker Joseph Duckworth who calmly beat the onrushing Young and slotted it in at the far post
4) Jamie Maclaren 83’ (BRI)- Maclaren got his second of the game late on to secure the win for Brisbane following a defensive mishap which left Sunshine Coast goalkeeper Sam Nickolls, with Maclaren left with the simple task of tapping into an open goal to get himself a brace.
Brisbane’s big off-season signing Brett Holman made his first appearance for the club since signing earlier this month, playing the opening half and showing glimpses of the talent which saw him have a successful European career.
The other big buy of the off-season however was a surprising no-show, with Thomas Kristensen a late scratching from the Roar with John Aloisi not prepared to take any risks ahead of round one.
As is now accustomed in these pre-season games, some of the clubs talented youngsters got their chance to show what they can do. Defensive duo Mark Rodic and Aaron Reardon both looked assured against the best of the NPL side and showed they could be useful if counted on, particularly Rodic on the right hand side where there’s a lack of options.
That lack of options saw Daniel Bowles deployed on the right with regular RB Jack Hingert shifted over to the left in perhaps an eye towards testing out plan B if required this season, although neither Bowles nor Hingert looked overly comfortable in their new roles.
For the NPL Select side the standout was undoubtedly Duckworth, who goal aside worked hard and put the Brisbane backline under pressure for most of the game.
The likes of Sam Cronin and Finn Beakhurst also impressed on the day and they along with the full 18 man NPL select side now will be waiting to see if they can follow in Harrison Sawyer’s footprint and use the game to catapult themselves into the Young Roar squad.
Duckworth however could elude the clutches of the Roar with the young striker included in the NPL National pathway program where one lucky player will win a contract with Sydney FC for the upcoming National Youth League season.
Brisbane Roar XI- Young, Bowles, North, DeVere, Hingert, Pepper, McKay, Holman, Petratos, Broich, Maclaren.
Substitutions- Konstandopoulos for Holman (46’), Rodic for North (46’), Caletti for McKay (68’), Reardon for Bowles (70’).
Unused Substitutes- Theo, Kristensen, Katebian, D’Agostino.
Yellow Cards- Pepper 64’, 90+1’
Red Cards- Pepper 90+1’
NPL Queensland u-23 select- Vitikangas, Lyvidikos, Smith, K. Halliday, Brix, Pavlou, Cronin, Litfin, Hore, Duckworth, Beakhurst.
Substitutions- Nickolls for Vitikangas (46’), Capelo for Brix (62’), Halliday for Beakhurst (62’), Pavlou for Walker (62’), Thomas-Remijo for Cronin (62’), Sibatuara for Hore (75’), Nucifora for Duckworth (80’)
Yellow Cards- Lyvidikos (76’)
For the Roar this is the teams last organised game ahead of the round one clash with Melbourne Victory, so expect a strong starting XI and high intensity as players fight for a spot in John Aloisi’ team.
Tommy Oar and Jamie Young missed the clash with Perth midweek due to injury and it’s unlikely either will be risked ahead of the season opener, while Brett Holman who also missed the clash with the Glory is set to make his first appearance since joining Brisbane earlier this month.
As this is the final game of the pre-season it’s likely that Aloisi will test his full strength side for atleast the first half before mass changes either at half time or throughout the second half in order to give the everyone a run out ahead of the first round.
Due to the Brisbane Strikers progression in the 2016 NPL National Finals Series, Jake Marshall, Fraser Hills and Luke Marsh have been withdrawn from the squad as the Strikers travel to Sydney for their semi-final clash with Sydney United.
In their place are Redlands duo Grant Brix and Kai Halliday, while the addition of Brisbane City midfielder Samuel Sibatuara takes the contingent of former Brisbane Roar players to seven.
Sibatuara will be joined by former Young Roar teammates Benjamin Lyvidikos, Luke Pavlou, Sam Cronin, Ben Litfin, Mitchell Hore, and Jaiden Walker in the 18 man squad.
Last year the likes of Jayden Prasad and Harrison Sawyer all earned a berth in Brisbane’s National Youth League side with strong showings in the clash so the opportunity is there for somebody to earn a spot in the youth side or perhaps even the first team with vacancies currently.
NPL Queensland u-23 Squad
1. Shane Vitikangas (Gold Coast City FC), 2. Benjamin Lyvidikos (Gold Coast City FC), 3. Kai Smith (Brisbane City FC), 4. Kai Halliday (Redlands United FC), 5. Grant Brix (Redlands United FC), 6. Luke Pavlou (Brisbane City FC), 7. Sam Cronin (Olympic FC), 8. Ben Litfin (Gold Coast City FC), 9. Joseph Duckworth (Western Pride FC), 10. Mitchell Hore (Brisbane City FC), 11. Finn Beakhurst (Moreton Bay United FC), 12. Scott Halliday (Brisbane City FC), 13. Matthew Capelo (Moreton Bay United FC), 14. Cameron Nucifora (FNQ FC Heat), 15. Jaiden Walker (Gold Coast City FC), 16. Samuel Sibatuara (Brisbane City FC), 17. Bonventure Thomas- Remijo (Western Pride FC), 18. Samuel Nickolls (Sunshine Coast FC).
Brisbane Roar v NPL Queensland Under 23
Saturday, September 24 | 3:00PM
Queensland Sport & Athletics Centre, Brisbane