Maclaren, Petratos nominated for PFA Awards

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Jamie Maclaren and Dimitri Petratos have been nominated for the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) awards.

Jamie Maclaren, who scored 20 goals last season earning his first call-up to the National Team is nominated for Footballer of the Year award.

Maclaren is also nominated for the Harry Kewell Young Player medal, along with Dimitri Petratos and ex Roar player Jason Geria for the u/23 player of the year with the duo rewarded for their strong form for Brisbane over the last 12 months.

In the Women’s category, there are no current Brisbane players on the shortlist, however former Roar midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight made the cut.

Full list of nominees
Footballer of the Year
Bruno Fornaroli (Melbourne City)
Aaron Mooy (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Jamie Maclaren (Brisbane Roar)
Mat Ryan (Valencia)
Mathieu Delpierre (Retired)
Matthew Leckie (Ingolstadt)

U-23 Player of the Year
Jamie Maclaren (Brisbane Roar)
Dimitri Petratos (Brisbane Roar)
Jason Geria (Melbourne Victory)
Stefan Mauk (NEC Nijmegen)
Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg)
Jimmy Jeggo (Sturm Graz)

Female player of the Year
Emily van Egmond (Wolfsburg)
Lydia Williams (Melbourne City)
Alanna Kennedy (Sydney FC)
Elise Kellond-Knight (Turbine Potsdam)
Caitlin Foord (Sydney FC)

The awards are voted on by the players and the winners will be announced next Tuesday night at a Gala Dinner, held at the Crown Palladium in Melbourne.


Brisbane escape with point in Western Sydney

Western Sydney Wanderers (1) Kusukami 56’
Brisbane Roar (1) Maclaren 18’ (p.k)
11,201 at Spotless Stadium, Sydney

Brisbane Roar have escaped Western Sydney tonight with a point after picking up their third straight draw of the season with a 1-1 draw tonight with the Wanderers. Jamie Maclaren’s 18th minute penalty was cancelled out by Jumpei Kusukami’ first goal in the A-League.

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(Mark Kolbe/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Goals
18’ (0-1) After a heavy touch trying to control a cross from Arana on the right hand side, Jamie Maclaren was clumsily brought down by goalkeeper Jerrad Tyson and referee Adam Fielding pointed to the spot. Maclaren picked himself up and blasted his penalty straight down the middle to open the scoring. The penalty itself was one of those classic 50-50 calls which in this case

56’ (1-1) Western Sydney started the second half in the ascendency and were rewarded for their play when Jack Clisby and Nico Martinez combined down the left hand side, with the left back squaring the ball across the face of goal for Jumpei Kusukami to slot home from close range.

The opening stages of the saw both sides have their chances, firstly with Mitch Nichols’ header going straight at Theo before Manuel Arana linked up neatly with Holman, whose chance was denied by Tyson.

After spending the week in the headlines for off-field reasons Jamie Maclaren found himself in the headlines once again, with the striker winning and then converting a penalty to put Brisbane into the lead. The strike is Maclaren’s 8th in 5 A-League games against Western Sydney for the Roar and his 23rd goal for Brisbane in 33 appearances.

Western Sydney were able to get into the ascendency early in the second half and made their dominance pay off with an equaliser from Kusukami, and probably should won the game as Nico Martinez and Brendon Santalab both going extremely close to a winner.

The final chance of the game fell to Dimitri Petratos, whose free kick was turned past the post by Tyson in goal for the Wanderers.

For the second week in a row Brisbane can thank Michael Theo for coming away from the game with a point, with the five time A-League winner making a string of important saves off the likes of Martinez, Nichols, Jumpei and Santalab. All up Brisbane’s #1 made 10 saves on the night and has justified the faith shown in him by Aloisi after his run of injuries in recent years.

At the other end of the park, Manuel Arana made his first start for Brisbane and while he faded before being substituted after an hour, in the first half he showed signs that has plenty to offer in future weeks, especially the linkup play for the Holman chance early on. While it’s fair to suggest that he switched off on their goal by not tracking Clisby’s overlapping run there’s also others you can point at later in the move, and overall he added to the way Brisbane were trying to play with his direct style.

Brisbane Roar- Theo, Hingert, DeVere, North, Brown, Pepper, McKay, Holman, Arana, Broich, Maclaren.
Substitutions- Oar for Arana (63’), Petratos for Holman (73’).
Unused Substitutes- Young, Bowles, Konstandopoulos.
Yellow Cards- Pepper.
Red Cards- Nil.

Western Sydney Wanderers-  Tyson, Neville, Borda, Aspropotamitis, Clisby, Pinatares, Dimas, Nichols, Kusukami, Martine, Bulut.
Substitutions- Baccus for Pinatares (55’), Santalab for Bulut (70’), Lustica for Nichols (89’).
Unused Substitutes- Redmayne, Hamill.
Yellow Cards- Borda, Dimas, Bulut.
Red Cards- Nil.

Up next
Brisbane are halfway through a two game road trip and will be heading to Melbourne for the first time this season with a game against Melbourne City on Saturday night at AAMI Park. Having not beaten Melbourne City –the Heart- since Round 15 of the 2010-11 season, three points away is long overdue.


2016-17 Round 8 Preview- Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar

It’s been an interesting week for Brisbane Roar with off-field striker issues dominating the headlines ahead of this Round 8 fixture.

After the early week saw Robbie Keane linked as a potential January marquee arrival, the last 24 hours or so has been dominated by Brisbane’s current striker Jamie Maclaren whose representatives were unhappy with the contract offer presented them by the Roar.

While the Maclaren contract situation could potentially become an on-field distraction in future weeks, I doubt were anywhere near that stage yet and it’s more likely that Brisbane’s #9 will be hungry to prove a point this weekend.

In terms of the on-field situation last week was a mixed performance for the Roar who fought back into the game after a sluggish against Sydney FC to pick up a point, largely due to Sydney’s inability to take their chances and the goalkeeping of Michael Theo.

The second half performance however was better and showed that Brisbane are once again in contention for silverware this season as they stretched the league leaders in what was the Roar’s toughest test of the season so far.

While tonight’s clash with the Wanderers wont be as big of a test on the field, it’s an important one for a number of reasons. Firstly, a win would send Brisbane into second place on the table for the time being, and perhaps more importantly for John Aloisi’ side they need a win away from home to boost their confidence away from Suncorp Stadium.

So far in the Aloisi era Brisbane have won just four road games, two of which came against Central Coast Mariners so a big win on the road against a perennial finals contender would be a timely boost.

What have they done lately?
Western Sydney are in the middle of a baron run of results so far this season with just one win in their first seven fixtures which sees the Wanderers enter the round clash in 7th place after earlier results this weekend.

A big part of the problem for Tony Popovic’s side has been their form at their home ground where the Wanderers have drawn three straight games at a ground where the atmosphere isn’t as intense as Parramatta Stadium which is in the early stages of its redevelopment.

In addition to their home form, Western Sydney will no doubt be looking for more from their attacking players, with Jumpei Kusukami and Nicolas Martinez both showing signs following their off-season arrivals but are yet to find the mark. The same can be said of Kerem Bulut, with the controversial striker struggling to have an impact so far this season although he was incorrectly ruled offside last week against Melbourne City.

Despite all of that Western Sydney still have their threats about them, and similarly to last season a lot of that starts with Mitch Nichols who lead the team to the Grand Final last year with his performances, and the team played well enough against Melbourne City to suggest they could be ready to turn their form around.

Recent Form
Brisbane-
DDWWW
Western Sydney-
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Top Scorer Brisbane-Jamie Maclaren, Thomas Kristensen (2)
Western Sydney- Brendon Santalab (4)

Team News
Brisbane Roar
1) Michael Theo, 3) Luke DeVere, 4) Daniel Bowles, 5) Corey Brown, 7) Thomas Kristensen, 7) Jacob Pepper, 8) Jamie Maclaren 10) Brett Holman 11) Tommy Oar, 13) Jade North, 15) Manuel Arana, 16) Nathan Konstandopoulos, 17) Matt McKay, 19) Jack Hingert, 21) Jamie Young, 22) Thomas Broich, 23) Dimitri Petratos, 33) Joey Katebian.
*Two to be omitted.

As mentioned above Jamie Maclaren has been in the headlines this week for his contractual statues but perhaps more importantly he will likely regain his starting place this weekend against Western Sydney side he dominated last season with 7 goals in 4 games.

The question of who makes way to accommodate the return of Maclaren will likely come down to two, with Thomas Broich or Dimitri Petratos the most likely, with Tommy Oar and Brett Holman seemingly entrenched in their starting roles.

The other potential issue to keep an eye on for Brisbane is the fitness of Thomas Kristensen who went off at half time with hamstring tightness. The Danish midfielder, who is Brisbane’s equal top scorer this season, has been named in the squad though and seems set to play. Should he not play however a reprisal of the second half formation against Sydney is likely with Holman, McKay & Petratos as the midfield trio.

Expected Brisbane XI- Theo, Hingert, DeVere, North, Brown, Kristensen, McKay, Petratos, Holman, Oar, Maclaren.
Substitutes- Young, Bowles, Arana, Broich, Katebian

Western Sydney Wanderers
1) Jerrad Tyson, 3) Jack Clisby, 5) Brendan Hamill, 6) Mitch Nichols, 7) Steven Lustica, 8) Dimas Delgado, 9) Kerem Bulut, 10) Nicolas Martinez, 11) Brendon Santalab, 12) Scott Neville, 13) Bruno Pinatares, 14) Jumpei Kusukami, 15) Kearyn Baccus, 16) Jaushua Sotirio, 16) Artiz Borda, 18) Robert Cornthwaite, 20) Andrew Redmayne, 22) Jonathon Aspropotamitis.
*Two to be omitted.

The Wanderers team selection is a little harder to read as there’s potential for Popovic to make like for like changes throughout the spine of his side, however it’s most likely that he will make just the one change with Santalab a likely starter in place of Bulut. That means the likes of Cornthwaite, Baccus and Redmayne will likely have to continue to bide their time.

Expected Western Sydney XI- Tyson, Neville, Borda, Aspropotamitis, Clisby, Pinatares, Dimas, Nichols, Kusukami, Martinez, Santalab.
Substitutes- Redmayne, Hamill, Baccus, Sotirio, Bulut.

Stats, Facts & Figures
Jamie Maclaren has an excellent goalscoring record against the Wanderers, with seven goals in four clashes against Western Sydney in the league last season.

– Brisbane have won just twice in nine trips to Western Sydney in all competitions, which is their second worst record away from home behind trips to AAMI Park to play Melbourne City.

– Spotless Stadium will be the 29th different stadium that Brisbane Roar has played a competitive game in (All Comps), and the 19th different venue they’ve played an A-League match in.

All-Time Record against Western Sydney Wanderers

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Brisbane, Maclaren at loggerheads over extension

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Will he stay or will he go?

Brisbane striker Jamie Maclaren’ future in Brisbane has been a hot topic over the last 24 hours with representatives of the striker and Brisbane Roar publically sparring in the media over a new contract.

The drama started back on Monday before escalating in the last 24 hours with Brisbane making their first offer to the player, which was labelled as insulting by Maclaren’s agent Paddy Dominguez, and the fallout left doubts over the players’ future in Brisbane.

In response to the rejected offer John Aloisi has indicated that if the goal is to maximise the financial gain than Brisbane would be unlikely to meet their demands, with the Roar locked in to marquee deals for Brett Holman and Tommy Oar going forward.

Representatives of both Maclaren and Brisbane are expected to meet in Sydney tonight ahead of tomorrows’ clash with Western Sydney. Adding to the drama this week is the rumours surrounding Robbie Keane, with the former Republic of Ireland international being linked to a marquee role with the Roar over the second half of the season.

Maclaren has been a big part of the success so far in the Aloisi era, with the striker scoring 22 goals in 33 games since arriving from Perth ahead of the 2015-16 season and his form has attracted the interest of both rival suitors and the National Team.

Here’s a few thoughts I had on this today
1) None of this is really surprising if you sit down and think about it, Maclaren is out of contract at the end of the season and it’s getting to the time where players are able to begin negotiations with other clubs. No doubt that Brisbane want to keep him but there’s also likely to be a long list of suitors who would be interested, some of which may like to acquire his services in January. With that in mind it’s no surprise that negotiations have picked up this week.

2) It’s not just with Maclaren that this will be an issue, a quick look at the upcoming free agents from Brisbane suggests that there’s a dilemma upcoming for Football Operations Manager Craig Moore. The likes of Jade North, Joey Katebian, Dimitri Petratos, Luke DeVere, Michael Theo, Nicholas D’Agostino, Manuel Arana and Jacob Pepper will all be off contract at seasons end and the likes of Petratos and DeVere could also attract similar levels of interest on the open market.

3) The situation gets worse when you factor in that Brisbane have already allocated their marquee spots to Tommy Oar and Brett Holman for next season, which will create some additional cap space. The Roar will however have to try and sign up current marquee duo Thomas Broich and Matt McKay within that freed up space, so the advantages might not be as great as expected.

4) I think it’s likely that that Maclaren will remain in Brisbane for at least the remainder of the season given his integral role in the way the side lines up, and the lack of a genuine alternative currently on the roster in addition to the upcoming ACL campaign. After that however seems to be a genuine toss-up for next season and beyond.

5) In previous seasons the January transfer window has been about the arrivals, with likes of Jade North, Steven Lustica (twice), Stef Nijland, Julius Davies, Jerome Polenz, Andrija Kaluderovic and latterly Tommy Oar all arriving. The most notable departures at this time of the season is a shorter list headlined by Mensur Kurtishi after his ill-fated stint at the club, while the likes of Reinaldo, Kwame Yeboah, Yuji Takahashi and Rocky Visconte are others whose departed at the halfway mark in recent years. Heading into this transfer window, instead of trying to add to the squad it could well be a case of fending off interest in the current playing group.

6) From Jamie Maclaren’s point of view, there’s a lot of factors to way up here which could lead this series of negotiations to become more protracted than both he or Brisbane Roar would like. Among the many things that Maclaren and his representatives will need to weigh up are, salary, length & terms of the contract,  is it time to go overseas, is the club the right fit and most importantly playing time with his Socceroos ambitions in mind. Brisbane has been an ideal fit for Maclaren since his arrival from Perth in July 2015, and now he needs to decide if that still remains his best option.


Roar looking to Keane in January?

robbie-keane

According to reports from Dominic Bossi in the Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane Roar could make an approach for Robbie Keane in the upcoming mid-season transfer window.

In the report on the SMH website, Brisbane Managing Director Mark Kingsman suggested that while an approach hadn’t been made, one could be on the way in January when the window opens.

“When you’ve got somebody of Robbie Keane’s calibre and pedigree, I’m sure every A-League club would be interested but we haven’t made an approach yet,” Kingsman said. “We will make the call.” Brisbane MD Mark Kingsman- Talking to Sydney Morning Herald.

Keane, 36, scored 10 goals in 20 games for LA Galaxy in the MLS this season, making 16 starts and helping his side to a 3rd placed finish in the Western Conference before losing to Colorado in the playoffs.

After scoring 83 goals in 125 games for the Galaxy over 5 seasons including two MLS Cup victories, Keane announced he would depart LA at the conclusion of the season making him an option of A-League sides in the second half of the season.

Should Brisbane manage to sign Keane, he would fill the currently vacant high profile marquee position and be a boost to the Roar both on and off the field as they enter the latter stages of the season and the AFC Champions League.

The other option to sign Keane would be as a guest player, which would limit the former Republic of Ireland international to 14 appearances within the A-League.

Here’s a few thoughts I had regarding this news.
1) While a lot of these stories can be dismissed as just general transfer speculation, the addition of direct quotes from Kingsman indicating a bid would be on the way in January adds legitimacy to this particular rumour.

2) Despite his age, Keane has done a good job in a similar league to the A-League in recent times as evidenced by his 10 goals in the 2016 season and he still likely has something to give in the A-League.

3) In terms of the squad, it can be argued that a back-up striker is potentially an area than can be upgraded, with the likes of Katebian and D’Agostino failing to take their chances and maybe not quite ready yet. A potential front 4 of Petratos, Holman, Oar & Maclaren, with either Borrello or Arana, Broich and Keane on the bench would be the most potent set of options in the league.

4) Speaking of D’Agostino and Katebian however, the arrival of Keane would potentially impact the growth of both, with the young duo likely to be on the periphery of the squad. With the Youth League all but over when this move would happen, and neither being eligible for the NPL squad, they find themselves in a position where they aren’t playing which could spell trouble for one or both with the duo signing one year senior contracts in the off-season.

5) A big question mark for supporters over the ownership is there overall commitment and ambition for Brisbane Roar, and the addition of Keane should it happen would be a sign that they are prepared to invest in the playing squad beyond the A-League salary cap. It wouldn’t fully remove question marks over the Bakrie Groups ownership of the Roar and no doubt there would still be a long way to go to remove doubts, but with expansion and competition in the marketplace potentially on the table in the next year or so, it would be a good step to renewed confidence given the tumultuous last 18 months.

6) With due respect to Craig Moore, Thomas Broich and Matt McKay who have taken up marquee positions with the Roar, the potential signing of Keane would be the first time that Brisbane have brought a big name player into the market, and would be a an interesting case study to see how many extra fans turn up to games.

7) The other possibility surrounding the potential arrival of Keane could be that Jamie Maclaren could be headed in the opposite direction towards either Europe or Asian clubs. Maclaren, who’s scored 22 goals in 33 games for Brisbane is out of contract at the end of the season and while the Roar would no doubt like to keep him, could cash in and use Keane as a short term replacement while scouting for a longer term solution. It’s unlikely, but it can’t be ruled out either.

8) With Brisbane’s schedule likely to get busy in the second half of the year given the possibility of a direct entry into the AFC Champions League, the Roar could be set for anywhere between 10 and 13 A-League games between February and May in addition to 6 (potentially 8 if they get out of the group) in the Champions League. With that in mind additions to the squad would not be the worst idea in the world to fight on both fronts.

9) It’s worth mentioning that signing Keane remains a long shot for a host of reasons, with factors such as the owners genuine willingness to stump up the money, the FFA’s willingness to contribute to the third marquee position and interest from other clubs all potential stumbling blocks. Since the conclusion of the MLS season Keane has been linked with a number of clubs including Shamrock Rovers in his homeland, and no doubt there will be plenty more potential suitors emerging in the coming weeks before he sits down to make a decision.


Former Players Wrap- 21/11/2016

Kaluderovic brace
Andria Kaluderovic scored his 18th and 19th goals of the season for Zalgiris since arriving in July, helping his side to a 2-2 draw with Stumbras. Zalgiris are already Champions for this season heading into the final round, and the Serbian striker is a big reason why. Here’s a highlights package of the weekends clash.

Kyoto qualify for J.2 Promotion playoffs
Yuji Takahashi and his Kyoto Sanga side are one of four sides vying for the 3rd and final promotion spot into the 2017 J-League after their 5th placed finish in the regular season. Kyoto will be battling with Shimizu S-Pulse, Cerezo Osaka & Fagiano Okayama.

Here’s the tables

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2016-17 Round 7 Preview- Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC

Despite the winning streak ending in Adelaide on Friday night, Brisbane made it four games unbeaten in the league and will be looking to move back into second place on the table with a win over the league leaders.

While Brisbane only returned with a point despite leading late into the game, there were more than enough positive signs from the Roar that could of won them the game, but failure to finish off their chances left John Aloisi’ side frustrated.

The build-up has been built on a state of origin style approach, with former Rugby League legends and the traditional Maroon of the state being called upon to try and get fans through the gates. Time will tell if this strategy has a long term impact on crowds.

What have they done lately
Sydney have been the best side over the opening six weeks of the new season with the Sky Blues sitting top of the league with both the best attack and defence so far this season.

The big reason for the Sky Blues renaissance this season is the return to form of attacking duo Milos Ninkovic and Alex Brosque, who combined have netted 10 of Sydney’s 17 goals so far this season.

At the other end of the park, the signing of Alex Wilkinson and Michael Zullo from Melbourne City, and the career best form of Rhyan Grant sees the Sky Blues defence looking far more solid in 2016-17.

All of that has resulted in six wins out of six, making Graham Arnolds side just the second to start of the season 100% through six rounds, and they could break Melbourne Victory’s season two record with a win over Sydney on Saturday night.

Recent Form
Brisbane-
DWWWL
Sydney-
WWWW

Top Scorer
Brisbane-Jamie Maclaren (2)
Sydney-
Milos Ninkovic, Alex Brosque (5)

Team News
Brisbane Roar-
1) Michael Theo, 3) Luke DeVere, 4) Daniel Bowles, 5) Corey Brown, 7) Thomas Kristensen, 8) Jacob Pepper, 9) Jamie Maclaren, 10) Brett Holman, 11) Tommy Oar, 13) Jade North, 15) Manuel Arana, 17) Matt McKay, 19) Jack Hingert, 21) Jamie Young, 22) Thomas Broich, 23) Dimitri Petratos, 25) Kye Rowles, 26) Nicholas D’Agostino.
*Two to be omitted.

The most compelling storyline is regarding Jamie Maclaren will the striker start tomorrow night despite playing an hour for the Socceroos on Tuesday night in Bangkok. Aloisi has indicated he’s going to wait until the last minute to decide on who starts upfront, although the injury to Brandon Borrello limits his options.

Should Maclaren start on the bench, Brett Holman will likely reprise his strikers’ role from last week with Thomas Broich coming into the attacking midfield trio for Borrello. Should Maclaren start however he would likely be a straight sway for Borrello with Holman dropping into his normal #10 role and Nicholas D’Agostino coming onto the bench.

The other selection headache for Aloisi in goal where Jamie Young has claims again on the #1 spot following Theo’s less than convincing performance, although it’s unlikely that Aloisi will make the change this week. Another sub par showing tomorrow night and it could be a different story however.

Expected Brisbane XI- Theo, Hingert, North, DeVere, Brown, Kristensen, McKay, Holman, Petratos, Oar, Maclaren.
Substitutes- Young, Bowles, Broich, Arana, D’Agostino.

Sydney FC 4) Alex Wilkinson, 5) Matt Jurman, 6) Joshua Brillante, 7) Michael Zullo, 8) Milos Dimitrijevic, 9) Bobo, 10) Milos Ninkovic, 11) Bernie Ibini, 13) Brandon O’Neill, 14) Alex Brosque, 17) David Carney, 18) Matt Simon, 19) George Blackwood, 20) Danny Vukovic, 21) Filip Holosko, 22) Sebastian Ryall, 23) Rhyan Grant, 30) Mitchell Evans.
*Two to be omitted.

Given the form of Graham Arnold’s team it’s highly unlikely that there will be any changes to the side that beat Perth Glory on Sunday. Should Arnold opt to make a change however it’s likely to be in the front third to accommodate the fit again Bernie Ibini into the side, although the absence of Ibini underlines the current strength and depth of the Sydney side.

Expected Sydney XI- Vukovic, Grant, Wilkinson, Jurman, Zullo, Brillante, O’Neill, Holosko, Brosque, Ninkovic, Bobo.
Substitutes- Evans, Ryall, Dimitrijevic, Carney, Simon.

Stats, Facts & Figures
– Kye Rowles will become the 122nd player to represent Brisbane Roar should he make his debut against Sydney FC.

– Brisbane’s record at home while not wearing the orange kit. Played 3- Won 0. Drawn 1. Lost 2.

All-Time Record against Sydney FC
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