Season Preview Part 2- Brisbane

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 2 we’ll look an in depth look at how Brisbane Roar are shaping up ahead of the new season.

Last Season- 3rd

Ins- Erik Bautheac, Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Corey Gameiro, Massimo Maccarone, Emilio Martinez, Mitchell Oxborrow, Peter Skapetis.

Brisbane’s recruitment for the new season has been spearheaded by European imports Eric Bautheac and Massimo Maccarone, who between them have the unenviable job of replacing attacking duo Jamie Maclaren and Thomas Broich.

In addition to Maccarone and Bautheac, John Aloisi has strengthened his attacking options with the arrival of Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Corey Gameiro and Peter Skapetis, ensuring he has more attacking options at his disposal this year.

Outs- Manuel Arana, Brandon Borrello, Thomas Broich, Cameron Crestani, Joey Katebian, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Jamie Maclaren, Tommy Oar, Kye Rowles.

The outs are headlined by fan favourite Thomas Broich, who left the Roar after seven seasons at the end of the 2016-17 campaign. Broich was joined in the departures lounge by young attacking duo Jamie Maclaren and Brandon Borello who both swapped Brisbane for Germany.

Tommy Oar departed Brisbane for the second time to join Cypriot Champions Apoel which freed up a valuable marquee position, while Manuel Arana returned to his native Spain after one season in orange.

Best XI- Graphic and Text

bandicam 2017-10-03 20-57-26-562.jpg

While Jamie Young let nobody down in the finals last season after Theo’s latest injury, John Aloisi is likely to revert back to Theo for the upcoming season as the now 36 year old shot stopper enters his 8th season in Brisbane.

Ahead of Theo figures to be a largely similar backline made up of Jack Hingert, Luke Devere, Jade North and Corey Brown. Both Hingert and Brown have now cemented themselves as first choice full-backs with stellar performances over the past 12 months and will be important parts of the team going forward.

Central defence is a tougher one to predict with Luke Devere, Jade North and Avram Papadopoulos all having strong claims for a starting spot however the combination and understanding that Devere and North have developed ensures they are likely to get first opportunity this season.

Midfield is another interesting area with experienced trio Thomas Kristensen, Matt McKay and Brett Holman the likely starters if all are fit and available, with youngster Joe Caletti breathing down their necks for a starting spot. Having starting midfield trio aged 33 or older is certainly a concern however each performed well last season and still have something left to offer.

Caletti was a revelation last year after getting his chance due to the congested fixture schedule and figures to get plenty of game time in 2017-18 as well, possibly as soon as round one given injury concerns to Holman and Kristensen.

The wide attacking areas have been overhauled ahead of the new season with ex Victory man Fahid Ben Khalfallah arriving early in the off-season. Eric Bautheac would be the nominal starter however his arrival in Australia has been delayed by visa issues which will give the likes of Peter Skapetis and Corey Gameiro an early chance to impress. Once those visa issues are sorted however, a lot will be expected of the former Nice and Lille man as John Aloisi looks to replace influential German Thomas Broich.

The addition of 38 year old striker Massimo Maccarone has been a big talking point over the off-season but the former Empoli and Italian international has looked sharp over the pre-season and figures to be a solid replacement for regular goal scoring threat Jamie Maclaren.

Back-ups
One of the strengths of Brisbane’s 2017-18 roster in comparison to their rivals is the depth of players at John Aloisi disposal. With Jamie Young, Avram Papadopoulos, Joe Caletti, Corey Gameiro and Peter Skapetis, Brisbane have players who are capable of starting for teams around the league and will keep the first team players on their toes.

Add in youngsters like Nick D’Agostino, Dane Ingham, Connor O’Toole, Emilio Martinez and others from the Young Roar squad and proven A-League squad players like Jacob Pepper, Daniel Bowles and Mitch Oxborrow and John Aloisi has more options at his disposal this year than in the past.

Pre-Season Form
It’s been a mixed bag for Brisbane in their preparations for the new season as they collected comfortable wins over local sides Lions, Peninsula Power and Olympic, in addition a 2-1 win on the Gold Coast against a China u-22 select side.

Things were a bit different when it came to clashes against A-League opposition with two losses against the Victory in the pre-season, including a 5-1 loss at Perry Park in the FFA Cup Round of 32. Another loss to Western Sydney -4-0 on the Gold Coast- added to the poor set of results, however a 2-0 win in their final pre-season game against Sydney FC ended things on a more positive note.

Expectations
After two straight seasons of falling just short of qualifying for the Grand Final, the expectations for Brisbane will be to once again be challenging for the silverware in the latter stages of the competition. Injuries to senior players and a potentially crowded fixture list should they qualify for the Champions League will prove obstacles, but this year’s squad is a deeper one than in previous years.

Provided foreign duo Eric Bautheac and Massimo Maccarone live up to their expectations, Brisbane should find themselves in the last four once again, then it will be a matter of learning from previous failings in the finals.

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