2017-18 A-League draw unveiled

Today saw the 2017-18 A-League draw released and for the third successive season Brisbane Roar will take part in the opening game of the season.

After playing Western Sydney and Melbourne Victory in the first game of the two previous seasons, Brisbane Roar will travel to AAMI Park to take on Melbourne City in the first game of the season on October 6th.

Adelaide United will be the opponents for Brisbane in their home opener in round 2 on Friday October 13th. This will be the fourth time that Brisbane will have played Adelaide in their first home game of the season, after previously doing so in 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2014-15.

All up Brisbane will play 14 home games this season and 13 away games, although one of the home games has been moved to Cbus Stadium on the Gold Coast due to Paul McCartney’s concert at Suncorp Stadium on December 9th.

That concert will be the second of five major events at Suncorp Stadium over the summer months which have caused chaos around scheduling home games. In addition to the December 9th concert, there are two additional concerts to be held in March plus the Rugby League World Cup Final on December 2nd and the Global 10’s Rugby tournament in late January.

Here’s the list of upcoming events at Suncorp Stadium in the middle of the upcoming season
October 21- Rugby Union Test- Australia v New Zealand
November 24- Rugby League World Cup Semi-Final
December 2- Rugby League World Cup Final
December 9- Paul McCartney concert
Feb 10-11- Brisbane Global Rugby Tens (projected)
March 20-21- Ed Sheeran Concerts
April 1-15- Commonwealth games venue blackout

Due to that shortage of available dates Brisbane have been allocated just one Saturday night home fixture this season against Adelaide United in Round 22. In terms of marquee fixtures the home games against Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers within the space of 72 hours in early January, while the home game against Melbourne Victory is set for Sunday December 17.

The stadium situation here in Brisbane as thrown up all sorts of complications for the A-League draw which is also playing a part in a lack of available dates for National Team fixtures and Brisbane Managing Director Mark Kingsman has used the draw to kick-start a campaign for a second rectangular stadium in Brisbane.

As mentioned just one of Brisbane’s 14 home games have been scheduled for the Saturday night timeslot, with two Friday night games and three Saturday afternoon games scheduled. There are also four game set for Sundays split evenly between afternoon and evening, in addition to two Thursday night fixtures and one Monday game during the Christmas holiday period.

The away games are less spread out in terms of days with three Friday night games, four Saturday afternoon games and five Saturday night games providing plenty of opportunities for away travel. Interestingly there are no currently scheduled games for a Sunday this season, although there is one game scheduled against Western Sydney on a Tuesday night in Round 26, however the venue is yet to be confirmed.

With the new TV deal coming into affect this season a greater emphasis has been placed on selecting higher profile games for the Free to Air component, with two of the three Melbourne derbies, Sydney derbies and ‘Big Blue’ fixtures set to appear on Network 10 next year.

Brisbane will appear on FTA five times this season the first of which will be in Round 8 against Sydney FC. Free to air exposure has been shared out evenly with the 10 teams set to appear at least twice over the course of the season. Sydney FC have the most FTA games with 10, followed by Victory and City who have 8 each.

Network 10 have the rights to one game per round, predominantly the Saturday 7.50pm fixture in addition to live coverage of all finals games. Fox Sports will continue to broadcast every game live, including the Finals series.

Here’s the full Brisbane Roar draw for season 2017-18

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Rowles departs as Tiatto returns

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(Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Young defender Kye Rowles time with Brisbane Roar has come to an end today, as he and the Roar agree to part ways.

Rowles, 19, will instead join up with Central Coast Mariners for the upcoming campaign on a one year contract where he will challenge for a spot on the left side of the defence.

After spending a full season in the National Youth League, Kye made his Brisbane Roar debut at left full-back in the round 21 clash against Wellington at home, where he was a second half replacement for Joe Caletti and his performance on the left hand side of defence impressed John Aloisi enough to give him a start three days later away to Ulsan on Matchday 3 of the Champions League.

The return to fitness of Corey Brown on the left and the presence of other players in his natural central defensive position saw opportunities limited however with his only other A-League appearance for the Roar coming as a late sub in Round 27 also against Wellington.

Rowles fourth and final game for Brisbane was in the Champions League away to Muanthong United on Matchday 5 where he once again started at left back before shifting to a central role midway through the second half.

While the Roar squad is currently thin on numbers the one position where there was a full quota was in defence where even with the departure of Rowles there remains seven players contracted.

While Daniel Bowles is on the long term injury list and is unlikely to feature much in the first half of the season at least, there just wasn’t likely to be a great deal of playing time for Kye this season making this decision a good one for all parties.

With Rowles departure Brisbane are back down to 15 contracted players for the 2017-18 season with one marquee spot and three visa spaces open to improve the squad.

A-League rules mandate that a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 23 players are signed so there figures to be a few moves between now and the season kick-off. Out of contract duo Joe Caletti and Jacob Pepper may take the tally to 17 players if they have re-signed as speculated.

Brisbane Roar squad as at 26/06/2016
Goalkeepers– Michael Theo, Jamie Young.
Defenders- Daniel Bowles, Corey Brown, Luke Devere, Jack Hingert, Jade North, Connor O’Toole, Avram Papadopoulos.
Midfielders- Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Shannon Brady, Brett Holman, Thomas Kristensen, Matt McKay.
Forwards- Nicholas D’Agostino.
TBC- Joe Caletti, Jacob Pepper.

Meanwhile as Rowles heads for the exit door a familiar face is returning to the club, with Danny Tiatto set to take up an off field role in John Aloisi’ backroom team.

Tiatto, who made 49 appearances for Brisbane from 2007 through 2010 will take up the Team Manager’s role previously filled by Scott Higgins who is reportedly returning to Canberra to take up a political career.

It’s a long held belief of Aloisi for the football department to be filled with former players as it was in his playing days at Ossasuna and this is the latest example of that coming into affect.

Previously the likes of Scott Higgins, Warren Moon, Josh McCloughan, Craig Moore and Chris Grossman have been given various roles within the Football Department in the last year, so the return of Tiatto is just the latest move.


Tommy Oar set for Cyprus move

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(Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Tommy Oar could be set to depart Brisbane Roar for the second time with a bid from Cypriot club APOEL FC having been accepted by the Roar.

Oar is believed to be on his way to Europe to undergo a medical and complete the transfer, although reports tonight suggest that the deal is more incentive based as opposed to APOEL simply meeting his release clause.

APOEL won their 26th Cypriot First Division title last season, finishing four points clear of AEK Larnaca, continuing their domination with their fifth straight championship.

It was in Europe however where APOEL made their biggest impression last season, falling just short of making the Group Stage of the Champions League before falling into the Europa League where they went on a run through to the last 16.

Oar, 25, has seen been something of a mixed bag since his return to Brisbane in February 2016 after five years in Europe with FC Utrecht and Ipswich Town.

In 35 appearances over the past season and a bit, Oar contributed two goals and six assists as he fought for playing time in the wide attacking positions with Brandon Borrello and Thomas Broich.

On the whole however Oar failed to deliver what was expected of him last year and with his elevation to a marquee contract this season in the final year of his two and half year contract the move makes sense.

With the marquee spot opened up Brisbane now have the ability to go out and replace some of their attacking losses with a big name recruit, while for Tommy it’s a chance to return to Europe ahead of a big season with the potential for a second World Cup appearance still a chance.

For Brisbane, this move provided it goes through further diminishes their attacking talent, with the likes of Jamie Maclaren, Brandon Borrello, Thomas Broich, Joey Katebian and Manuel Arana all joining Tommy Oar as attackers moving on this off-season.

Add in Dimitri Petratos who left in January and that’s seven attacking players who have moved on since January, with only former Melbourne Victory winger Fahid Ben Khalfallah heading in the other direction.

Ben Khalfallah joins Shannon Brady, Nicholas D’Agostino and Brett Holman as the only attackers on the Brisbane roster currently. Lots of holes to fill before the season starts, but plenty of cap space, visa spots and now a marquee spot available to help fill them.

Currently Brisbane have 15 players contracted for next season, with one marquee spot and three spots available to strengthen the squad. That number doesn’t include Joe Caletti, Avram Papadopoulos and Jacob Pepper however, with the trio expected to be back next season although there has been no official announcement over their futures.

Brisbane Roar squad as at 19/06/2017
Goalkeepers
– Michael Theo, Jamie Young.
Defenders- Daniel Bowles, Corey Brown, Luke Devere, Jack Hingert, Jade North, Connor O’Toole, Kye Rowles.
Midfielders- Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Shannon Brady, Brett Holman, Thomas Kristensen, Matt McKay.
Forwards- Nicholas D’Agostino.
TBC- Joe Caletti, Avram Papadopoulos, Jacob Pepper.


Konstandopoulos re-joins Reds

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(Tony Feder/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Nathan Konstandopoulos has re-joined former club Adelaide United, linking up with the Reds NPL side for the remainder of the 2017 season according to the Reds official youth team account.

Previously Konstandopoulos made two appearances for the Reds back in 2014 before being released at the end of the 2016 season.

Currently the Adelaide United youth team sit 9th in the NPL South Australia and Konstandopoulos could make his first appearance for his hometown club tomorrow when they take on second placed Adelaide Comets.

Nathan joins former Brisbane winger Rocky Visconte –who plays for Croydon Kings- and Damian Mori – Adelaide City manager- as former Roar players who are involved in the NPL SA this season.

Konstandopoulos joined Brisbane at the start of the 2016 NPL Queensland side, making 10 appearances in the Young Roar side before joining the A-League squad at the start of pre-season.

Things started off well for Nathan in Brisbane when he made his first team debut against Perth in the FFA Cup Round of 32 and his league debut away to Newcastle in round 2, but the form of Thomas Kristensen and Matt McKay, coupled with the emergence of Joe Caletti left his chances limited.

All up Konstandopoulos made four appearances for Brisbane Roar, the last of which came on Matchday 5 of the AFC Champions League in the 3-0 loss away to Muanthong United.

Nathan is the second former Brisbane player to find a new club today, with defender Cameron Crestani linking up with NPL Queensland side Western Pride earlier in the day.


Crestani joins Western Pride

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(Western Pride FC)

Former Brisbane Roar defender Cameron Crestani has joined NPL Queensland side Western Pride for the remainder of the 2017 NPL Queensland season.

Crestani, 21, was recently released by Brisbane Roar at the end of the season after five years as part of the youth set-up.

After patiently waiting for his first team opportunity, Crestani made his senior debut for the Roar as a late substitute against Perth Glory in Round 20.

A first start followed in the next match against Muanthong United in the AFC Champions League, with Crestani going on to make six appearances for the first team last season.

The young defender will not have to wait long to take on his former teammates, with Western Pride playing host to Brisbane Roar Youth tomorrow night at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex in Round 13 of the NPL season.

While Crestani will be going up against his old side, he will be joined in battle by former Young Roar teammates Harrison Sawyer, Joe Duckworth, Hayden McHenery and Dylan Wenzel-Halls, who all made the move to the Ipswich based side in recent times.

When these two sides met the first time back in round two, it was a high scoring game up in Redcliffe, with the Young Roar proving victorious 3-2. Tomorrow night’s game is set to start at 7.00pm.

Western Pride v Brisbane Roar Youth
Saturday June 3- 7.00pm
Briggs Road Sporting Complex