Season Preview Part 1- Off-Season recap

With the new season just days away from beginning it’s time for our annual season preview where we take a look at the 2017-18 team. Today in part 1 we’ll look at how the off-season played out with plenty of changes to the playing group along with a mixed bag of results on the field.

Off-Field Stability
In recent years the off-season has been plagued with off field distractions however in 2017 things have been much smoother allowing for the focus to be on the field and the preparations for the new season.

There’s also been limited turnover with the arrival of Danny Tiatto as Football Operations Manager the only change over the closed season as coaching duo John and Ross Aloisi re-committed to the club. W-League head coach Mel Andreatta will also return for a second campaign when the new season starts in November.

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Transfers Out
April 19th- Thomas Broich announces decision to leave
May 17th- Manuel Arana, Cameron Crestani, Joey Katebian & Nathan Konstandopoulos released
May 19th- Jamie Maclaren joins Darmstadt 08
May 27th- Brandon Borrello joins 1.FC Kaiserslautern
June 19th- Tommy Oar joins Apoel FC
June 26th- Kye Rowles departs Brisbane and joins Central Coast Mariners

Brisbane’s biggest name departures were known in advance when Thomas Broich flagged his intention to leave the Roar in the build-up to the Elimination Final against Western Sydney, while attacking duo Brandon Borrello and Jamie Maclaren confirmed their departures in the aftermath of the Matchday 6 Champions League loss to Ulsan Hyundai.

The June departure of Tommy Oar to Cypriot champions Apoel FC was more of a surprise, however the wingers departure did free up a valuable marquee position which would prove crucial in the recruitment efforts.

Re-Signings
June 22nd- Michael Theo and Avram Papadopoulos re-sign
June 30th- Jacob Pepper and Joe Caletti re-sign

As pre-season training drew closer, announcements surrounding the remaining out of contract players were made; firstly with the news that experienced first team duo Michael Theo and Avram Papadopoulos had re-signed for the 2017-18 season.

Following on from that was the news that breakout midfielder Joe Caletti had re-signed for a new season, with back-up utility Jacob Pepper set to join him for a second season in Brisbane.

Transfers In
May 26th- Fahid Ben Khalfallah joins Brisbane Roar
June 4th- Corey Gameiro joins Brisbane Roar
June 6th- Dane Ingham promoted from youth team
June 17th- Massimo Maccarone joins Brisbane Roar
August 4th- Mitchell Oxborrow joins Brisbane Roar
August 6th- Emilio Martinez joins Brisbane Roar as scholarship player
August 9th- Peter Skapetis joins Brisbane Roar, upgraded from injury replacement contract
September 9th- Erik Bautheac joins Brisbane Roar

Brisbane’s first signing for the new season was announced in late May as Fahid Ben Khalfallah joined Brisbane Roar on a one year deal, and he joined James for his first interview as a Roar player on the Brisbane Football Review podcast.

The signing of Ben Khalfallah was followed up by the arrival of former Wellington, Sydney and Melbourne City striker Corey Gameiro, and the promotion of young full-back Dane Ingham to a three year senior deal.

Brisbane’s biggest off-season move was confirmed on June 17 however when the club announced it had signed former Italian international Massimo Maccarone as a marquee player for the 2017-18 season to fill the boots of German bound striker Jamie Maclaren. While the signing of the 37 year old has been questioned by many, his experience in what is an otherwise youthful striking department should prove valuable over the season.

Attention then turned to rounding out the squad as midfield duo Mitchell Oxborrow and Emilio Martinez signed on to provide additional depth. Oxborrow arrived following a brief stint with  NPL Northern NSW side Broadmeadow Magic after his departure from Perth Glory was confirmed, while Martinez signed as a scholarship player after impressing for the Young Roar in their NPL Queensland campaign after arriving from Western Sydney.

While Peter Skapetis was initially signed as an injury replacement for Daniel Bowles, his stellar pre-season form forced the hand of John Aloisi as the former Stoke City junior signed a permanent one year deal in early August.

Brisbane then rounded out their recruitment with a second high profile arrival from Europe in the form of 30 year old French winger Erik Bautheac from French Ligue 1 side Lille. While Bautheac’s arrival has been held up due to visa issues, the French winger figures to play a big part in Brisbane’s 2017-18 campaign and is reportedly set to arrive by the end of the week.

Pre-Season and FFA Cup Games
July 26th- Lions FC 0-2 Brisbane Roar
August 6th- Peninsula Power 2-4 Brisbane Roar
August 9th- (FFA Cup) Brisbane Roar 1-5 Melbourne Victory
August 18th- Western Sydney Wanderers 4-0 Brisbane Roar
August 27th- China u-22 XI 1-2 Brisbane Roar
September 1st- Melbourne Victory 3-1 Brisbane Roar
September 9th- Olympic 0-3 Brisbane Roar
September 16th- Sydney FC 0-2 Brisbane Roar

Pre-season games began at Lions Stadium in Richlands as the Roar paid homage to their roots in the first edition of the Heritage shield, with second half goals from Shannon Brady and Rahmat Akbari giving John Aloisi side a first up win as they experimented with a new 3-4-3 formation.

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Up next was another hit out against Brisbane Premier League opposition in the form of Peninsula Power and after Dean Briggs gave the hosts an early lead Peter Skapetis got the first of many goals over the pre-season to level the scores. Power took the lead again through Thomas Strickland with Brisbane cancelling out that advantage midway through the second half with a Nick D’Agostino strike. D’Agostino was then replaced as Massimo Maccarone made his first appearance in Roar colours and scored less than five minutes after entering the game after he sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot, before an expert second goal just before the final whistle rounded out the scoring.

Attentions then turned to the FFA Cup Round of 32 where the Brisbane were at home for the second straight year and once again they failed to capitalise on that advantage. Victory proved far to good on the night with a Besart Berisha brace, in addition to goals from Mitch Austin, James Troisi and Mark Milligan proving more than enough. Peter Skapetis continued his goalscoring form with a late consolation for the Roar.

Another big loss to an A-League side soon followed with Western Sydney running out 4-0 winners at the tail end of a week long camp on the Gold Coast, before Brisbane returned to Robina to take on a Chinese u-21 side and after a niggly encounter they ran out 2-1 winners thanks to a late Massimo Maccarone penalty.

A trip to Ballarat for a second pre-season clash against Victory followed just days later and despite the score being closer this time around, Melbourne were still too good for an undermanned Roar with Skapetis continuing his form in front of goal.

That form continued as the Roar returned to Brisbane to take on NPL Queensland side Olympic FC and that goal scoring form continued as Skapetis opened the scoring for Brisbane before late goals from Maccarone and Shannon Brady rounded out the win.

Brisbane’s final pre-season hit-out before round one took them to Sydney for a clash with the defending champions and further goals from Maccarone and Skapetis netted John Aloisi’ side a much needed win over A-League opposition ahead of the new season.

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