2017 in Review

It’s been another mixed bag for Brisbane Roar this year as they continued their streak of A-League finals appearances and returned to the Champions League, however there were also some low moments including the start to the current season. So as 2017 comes to an end, let’s look back at the year that was.

A-League 2016-17
2017 started with a home loss to Newcastle Jets way back on January 7 thanks to a late Morten Nordstrand winner, with the first win of the year arriving a couple of weeks later away to Wellington thanks to a late Jamie Maclaren goal.

The January transfer window was a quiet one for the Roar with Dimitri Petratos’ move to Ulsan Hyundai looked to be only activity in the window however when Daniel Bowles picked up a serious knee injury away to Melbourne City, John Aloisi turned to Australian born former Greek international defender Avram Papadopoulos as an injury replacement.

Brisbane rounded out the regular season in third place after a last day come from behind win over Wellington Phoenix at home, which set up an Elimination Final with sixth placed Western Sydney Wanderers in week one of the finals.

In true Brisbane fashion they did things the hard way in that Elimination Final with a second half Jamie Maclaren goal levelling the scores before goalkeeper Jamie Young –who entered the game in extra time due to an injury to Michael Theo- became the hero by saving Jumpei’s spot kick to secure progression to the Semi-Finals.


Jamie Young was the hero on another dramatic finals night at Suncorp Stadium. (Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac)

That Semi-Final would take place in Melbourne against the well rested Victory while a tired Brisbane side from travelling to Thailand midweek arrived with question marks over the fitness of Jamie Young, and it was former Roar striker Besart Berisha who scored the games only goal to send the Victory to the Grand Final and ending Brisbane’s A-League campaign.

Looking to Asia
While Brisbane were busy securing a seventh successive finals appearance on the domestic front, January also saw Brisbane begin a fourth AFC Champions League campaign with a home game against Filipino side Global FC.

Goals from Brandon Borrello and Manuel Arana secured a comfortable win and a trip to Shanghai the following week, while youngsters like Dane Ingham and Joe Caletti made their first team debuts. A week later another Brandon Borrello goal in addition to a second from Tommy Oar secured Brisbane’s biggest result in Asia to date in a 2-0 win which secured a spot in the Group Stage.

That win over Shanghai placed Brisbane in Group E alongside Kashima Antlers, Ulsan Hyundai and Muanthong United, whom Brisbane drew with 0-0 at home on the opening matchday. Losses to Kashima and Ulsan saw Brisbane languishing at the halfway mark of the Group Stage before a home win over Kashima on Matchday 4 ensured Brisbane’s first win at home in the competition proper.

A loss away to Muanthong with an under strength loss due to the A-League Finals campaign ended Brisbane’s chances of progression, with the most notable part of the game being goalkeeper Jamie Young ripping skin from his arm due to a rusty nail on a goal post.

Brisbane’s front line underwent a massive transformation in the off-season with youngsters Brandon Borrello and Jamie Maclaren departing to try their luck in Germany, while Thomas Broich was honoured as the clubs inaugural hall of famer after he completed his seventh and final season with the Roar. Others who moved on included Manuel Arana, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Kye Rowles, Cameron Crestani, Joey Katebian and Tommy Oar which ensured it would be a very different Roar line-up in 2017-18.

That new line-up would be reliant upon experience with ex Victory winger Fahid Ben Khalfallah and former Italian international Massimo Maccarone brought into fill the void in the attacking third. Joining the veteran duo for the new season were Corey Gameiro, Peter Skapetis, Brendan White, Eric Bautheac and Ivan Franjic who returned to Brisbane in October after four seasons away.

The pre-season saw a mixed bag of results with wins over defending champion Sydney FC and a Chinese Olympic side coupled with hefty defeats to Western Sydney and Melbourne Victory. Perhaps most alarmingly was the 5-1 loss in the FFA Cup Round of 32 which saw Brisbane bow out at the first hurdle for the third straight season in a lacklustre performance at Perry Park.

The injury crisis which would hamper the upcoming season was evident from very early on with a number of key players missing big chunks of the pre-season including Avram Papadopoulos, Thomas Kristensen and new signing Fahid Ben Khalfallah.

A-League 2017-18
Brisbane featured in the first game of the season for the third straight time however on this occasion a Bruce Kamau brace made it a first up loss for John Aloisi’ men. Further losses at home to Newcastle and Adelaide followed as Brisbane struggled out of the gate due to injuries and cohesion, with a first win not arriving until a win at home over Melbourne City in mid November.

The season has been a frustrating one to date with little consistency due to the ever growing injury list, however there was a bit of hope in the final game of 2017 with a gutsy 2-1 win over Adelaide United yesterday which could kick start a misfiring campaign.

Milestones and stats
– Matt McKay became the first player to play 250 games in all competitions for Brisbane Roar.

– Luke Devere became the 13th player to play 100 games in all competitions for Brisbane Roar.

– Peter Skapetis became the 9th Brisbane player to score on his competitive debut in the FFA Cup Round of 32 loss to Melbourne Victory. Skapetis is the first since Andrija Kaluderovic back in the 2014-15 season.

– Jamie Maclaren became the first player to score multiple hat-tricks for Brisbane Roar when he scored three times against Central Coast in Round 25. Meanwhile Brandon Borrello became the 7th different person to score three in one game when he did so against Global FC in the ACL Playoff.

– Brisbane set a new longest run with a win when they went 10 games without a win from the ACL Matchday 5 loss to Muanthong April 26 through the Round 6 A-League loss to Melbourne Victory on November 11.

– 16 players made their debut in 2017, including 9 academy graduates. In order: Dane Ingham, Joe Caletti, Cameron Crestani, Kye Rowles, Avram Papadopoulos, Tomislav Bilic, Connor O’Toole, Peter Skapetis, Massimo Maccarone, Mitchell Oxborrow, Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Rahmat Akbari, Eric Bautheac, Corey Gameiro, Adam Sawyer and Daniel Leck.

16-17 Finals Run in

2017 start third straight defeat for Mel Andreatta’s side with a 4-1 loss at home to Melbourne Victory which left Brisbane in a perilous position in terms of qualifying for the finals series. A 3-0 win in the teams’ final home win of the season over the Wanderers provided hope, hover losses to Newcastle and Melbourne City ensured the Roar missed the finals for the second in three seasons.

Ahead of the new season Mel Andreatta reshaped her squad with a number of high profile arrivals, headlined by American midfielder Celeste Boureille and Matildas winger Hayley Raso who helped Canberra United to the Premiership the previous year. American defender Carson Pickett Hong Kong striker Wai-Ki Cheung and midfielder Ayesha Norrie arrived to add quality to the squad.

Going the other way were a handful of first team regulars from the season prior, notably including American midfielder Maddy Evans, Danish defender Nina Frausing-Pedersen and left Back Angela Beard; who travelled the well worn path from Brisbane to Melbourne Victory.

2017-18 Resurgence
Brisbane went into the Christmas break on top of the table and the Roar have been in and around the league’s summit from the very beginning, with a first up win away to Sydney where they took the lead early on and never looked back.


Brisbane have undergone a W-League resurgence in 2017. (Paul Kane/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Five wins out of seven have lead Brisbane’s resurgence, with the away form being a particular highlight with three wins out of three so far this season. In the final home game of 2017 Brisbane broke a 5 game losing streak against Melbourne City, securing their first win over the two time defending Champions with a 2-0 win thanks to Allira Toby and Katrina Gorry.

Brisbane’s final W-League game of 2017 was in a top of the table clash away to Perth Glory and second half goals from Hayley Raso and Allira Toby ensured the Roar would start 2018 two points clear at the top of the table.

Milestones and stats
– Clare Polkinghorne and Tameka Butt became the first and second players respectively to play 100 W-League games for Brisbane Roar.

– Mackenzie Arnold’ 5 clean sheets so far in 2017-18 is the most since Casey Dumont back in season 3 of the competition.

– 6 players made their W-League debut for Brisbane Roar in 2017. In order: Georgina Worth, Carston Pickett, Celeste Boureille, Wai-Ki Cheung, Hollie Palmer and Lucinda Pullar.

2017 for the Young Roar started away to Melbourne City with arguably the biggest win of the season in a 4-0 rout over the eventual Champions thanks to braces for Danny Driver and Joey Katebian. Ultimately however a home loss to Perth and a draw in Adelaide saw Brisbane end the season second in Conference A, two points behind City.

Attention then turned to the 2017 NPL Queensland campaign where a younger than usual Brisbane side finished in 11th place with 18 points. Amongst the more notable results were a 4-3 win over 2017 Champion Western Pride in Round 2 in a game where Brisbane lead 4-0 before a late Pride rally, and a 7-2 home win over Sunshine Coast in Round 18 in one of the sides better performances of the season. Big derby defeats to Strikers however in Rounds 10 (5-0) and 21 (4-1) were amongst the more disappointing results this year.

Rounding out the year for the Young Roar was the start of the 17-18 NYL campaign, which began with a comprehensive loss away to Melbourne City. Wins over Victory and Glory followed before a home loss to Adelaide saw Brisbane drop to third place at the halfway mark before a 3-0 to City leaves Brisbane mid-table.

Player Development
Results aren’t the only important factor for the Young Roar, player development is also vital and in 2017 a number of players got their chance in the first team and proved they belonged.

All up there were 9 first team debuts handed out to players starting out in the academy- amongst the more notable were Joe Caletti and Dane Ingham, who along with fellow youngster Nick D’Agostino went on to establish themselves as regular members of the A-League squad in 2017 with a string of impressive performances.

Ingham in particular who saw a meteoric rise this year, going from the Young Roar, to the first team and then onto the international stage with the All-Whites where he played in the Confederations Cup and was part of New Zealand’s World Cup Qualification campaign.

Others who excelled in the side but are still waiting for their chance in the first team include defender Aaron Reardon, midfielder Emilio Martinez and striker Nathan Yoon.

As always however there are players who slip through the net and 2017 saw two young attackers get their first team debut in the hunter. This year the most notable are Harrison Sawyer and Joseph Champness, both of who moved south to Newcastle. Champness has been a revelation this year for the high flying Jets with two goals in 13 games this season, while Sawyer has been a regular goalscorer for Filipino club Davao Aguilas after leaving the Jets.

In comparison to preseason years’, 2017 was a relatively quiet year off the field for Brisbane with the clubs ownership situation much more stable than in previous years.

It wouldn’t be Brisbane Roar without some rocky moments however and things appeared to be heading the wrong direction in October when Managing Director Mark Kingsman was sacked just weeks into the season. That drama however was quickly neutralised when former Managing Director David Pourre returned to the club to try and sort out the clubs commercial situation.

The big focus off the field in 2017 – particularly lately- is surrounding the training and medical facilities given the lengthy injury list which has hampered the 2017-18 season. The good news on the training ground front however was the beginning of work on the clubs new training & administration base in Logan, a facility which should be ready for use in early 2018.

In addition to training base, the other major development in 2017 has been the launch of the academy, with Drew Sherman coming in to set up the foundations ahead of the first season next year.

2018 Preview
So as we turn to the focus towards 2018 there’s still a lot to look forward to with the A-League potentially set for a second half resurgence and if not there’s still the Champions League qualifiers to come in late January.

In the W-League Brisbane enter 2018 on top of the table and in position to challenge for silverware for the first time in four seasons as the competition reaches the business end.

While the Young Roar have been all but eliminated from the NYL Grand Final picture there’s still opportunities for players to press their case for first team opportunities in the latter rounds and also the newly expanded NPL Queensland which is set to kick off in early February.

The start of the NPL will also usher in the first season for Brisbane’s newly formed academy while the clubs current dramas around the training ground will be solved when the new Logan training base opens early in the new year.

There’s also a lot to look forward to on the international front with many of Brisbane’s W-League squad set to test themselves at the Asian Cup in Jordan while of course all eyes will be on the Socceroos as they embark on a fourth straight World Cup campaign in Russia.


Looking back- Home openers v Adelaide United


(Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Brisbane Roar will begin their home campaign for the 2017-18 A-League season tomorrow night at Suncorp Stadium as they take on Adelaide United. This is the fourth time that Brisbane have opened their home campaign against the Reds, so ahead of the that clash, lets take a look back at the three previous home openers against Adelaide.

Round 1- 25/08/2007
Queensland Roar 2-2 Adelaide United
QLD- McKay 45’, Ognenovski 76’
ADL- Burns 8’, Djite 47’
Crowd- 16,828

After an overhaul of the squad in the off-season, Queensland’s season got off to the worst possible start after young striker Nathan Burns gave the Reds a 1-0 lead with a clever finish from outside the box to beat Liam Reddy.

Queensland pushed forward as the first half came to an end with Matt McKay levelling the scores from 25 yards, beating Robbie Bajic after Marcinho’s shot was blocked. The Roar however found themselves behind once again early in the second half after Bruce Djite escaped his defender and headed past Reddy to restore the Reds lead.

Craig Moore was then given his marching orders to bring his Roar debut to an early end after receiving his second yellow card midway through the second half. Despite being down to 10 men Queensland fought on and Sasa Ognenovski headed home Matt McKay’s corner to give both sides a point to start the season.

Round 2- 24/08/2008
Queensland Roar 1-1 Adelaide United
QLD- Miller 48’
ADL- Dodd 8’ (p.k)
Crowd- 12,761

Almost a year to the day since that 2-2 draw to start season 3 of the A-League, the same two sides met again in round two of the 2008-09 season, with Adelaide again getting off to a fast start with a goal inside the opening 10 minutes.

Brazilian striker Cristiano made a run through the Queensland defence before being brought down by experienced defender Josh McCloughan inside the box, with Travis Dodd stepping up to beat Liam Reddy to open the scoring.

Early in the second half it was Queensland who got the fast start however with Hyuk-Su Seo and Sergio van Djik combining to play in Scottish midfielder Charlie Miller who placed his shot into the bottom corner past Eugene Galekovic to level the scores.

Round 1- 12/10/2014
Brisbane Roar 1-2 Adelaide United
BRI- Broich 20’
ADL- Djite 33’, O.G (Donachie) 56’
Crowd- 16,195

Brisbane opened season 10 of the A-League at home as defending champions and got off to a perfect start with German marquee Thomas Broich scoring direct from a free-kick from the left hand side.

Bruce Djite restored parity for the Reds from long range with his powerful shot giving Jamie Young after a quick transition from a Brisbane defensive error. Adelaide then were gifted the three points after James Donachie turned Sergio Cirio’s cross from the right flank into his own net leaving Young stranded.

Things went from bad to worse for Brisbane Roar not long after with captain Matt McKay sent off for dissent after previously being booked making it a far from idea start to the title defence and an unfortunate sign of things to come.

Recap of last night’s Roar Supporters Federation Forum


Last night the Roar Supporters Federation held a fans forum at the Newstead Brewery in Milton with about 50 supporters turning up to hear from Managing Director Mark Kingsman, A-League Assistant Manager Ross Aloisi and Chairman Rahim Soekasah. Amongst the many topics discussed were the recently started Academy, the ownership situation, the W-League side however the night began with a recap of the recent postgame situation down in Adelaide involving Ross Aloisi.

Adelaide postgame story
After being prompted by one of the Roar Supporter Federation hosts, Ross Aloisi began to outline the back-story to the incident, indicating that the Adelaide assistant was both swearing and abusing members of the Aloisi family in Spanish. While Aloisi hinted this dated back to the previous game this season, it was almost constant after Marcelo Carrusca got sent off.

To the incident itself, Ross outlined how John told him to go straight down the tunnel at full-time to avoid any confrontation, however the Adelaide assistant was waiting for him in the tunnel and in the words of Aloisi was moving towards him. Ross admitted to pushing the Adelaide assistant, with Aloisi then confronted by a security guard.

Contrary to reports at the time there was video of the incident in the tunnel in addition to four witnesses –two Adelaide officials, the match commissioner and the security guard- According to Ross the video showed that neither of the two Adelaide officials weren’t in the tunnel at the time, while the match commissioner didn’t offer a comment either way as to seeing the incident. In the end once they just accepted the ban after the initial allegation of a punch was disproven, with Ross humorously saying “Little did I realise you can’t push an official”

Mark Kingsman didn’t add a lot on the incident, only saying that this all stems back to the media reports last season that the Aloisi brothers would be returning to Adelaide, something he said was lazy journalism. Kingsman went on to say that terms were agreed back in September for the Aloisi brothers to re-sign, with the clubs view that stability would give Brisbane the best chance for success. From the sounds of things the contracts are with the lawyers and it should all be confirmed soon.

Ownership stuff
As you would expect the clubs ownership was an area of conversation on the night, with Chairman Rahim Soekasah outlining that he had been assured of financial stability from the clubs ownership group. Kingsman also indicated that the Bakrie Group have been both committed and supportive, with the Indonesian ownership group injecting 24 million over the past seven years.

Soekasah said that the ownership is happy with the current staff at the Roar, which prompted a question from the crowd surrounding why this time is different given we’ve heard similar in the past. The response from both Soekasah and Kingsman was that the lines of communication are far more open now, with Kingsman talking about having regular discussions with the clubs ownership.

While talking about more open communication currently, Soekasah talked about the clubs previous regime being let down by the clubs ownership and only hearing from them when more money was required.

Mark Kingsman told a story about the first comments from his conversation with Nirwan Bakrie where the head of the ownership group saying that there doesn’t seem to be as much hate from the fans directed towards them, with #Bakriesout used less recently.

Kingsman also talked about how Aga Bakrie was in attendance for the recent AFC Champions League game in Japan against Kashima Antlers, and while there was initially some resentment from the playing group Aga had a good chat with them. Kingsman also hinted that members of the Bakrie family were set to attend a game in Brisbane in future weeks, wit the implication being that they would be here for the finals series.

Soekasah was also asked why do the Bakrie Group retain control of the Roar despite the money they’ve invested in the club and the criticism they’ve received, with the Brisbane Chairman going on to describe the love of football the family has. Soekasah talked about how the group retains control of a club in Indonesia and one of their big goals is to create pathways for Indonesian players to play abroad and potentially one day for Brisbane Roar.
Youth stuff
The other big theme of the night was on youth development and the recently started academy, with Kingsman describing recently hired Academy Director Drew Sherman as an integral part of the recent links between Gold Coast City and Olympic FC. Sherman, who was part of the Southampton academy system turned down an opportunity back in England with Norwich City according to Kingman in order to start something new out here with Brisbane Roar.

There was a suggestion that Sherman may be in attendance at a future fans forum where the direction of the academy and youth development will be the focus. On the subject of links and relationships,

Kingsman was rather blunt on Brisbane’s failings in this area over the years. “For 12 years MV have built relationships, we break them. You name it, every type of relationship, clubs, players, staff, fans, grassroots, sponsors, we’ve done the lot”-

Ross Aloisi went on to give some specifics on players, beginning with Joe Caletti whom he described as an impressive player. According to Aloisi however Caletti was forced to play sooner than expected due to injuries, with the 18 year old midfielder debuting two months earlier than expected.

When it came to his contract situation however Kingsman was non comitial about the potential of re-signing Caletti (or any of the clubs out of contract players), only saying that a lot goes into those decisions including finding the best combinations, ect.

There was also a suggestion that the club wouldn’t be able to keep hold of all the young players who’ve emerged over the last few months, and that it isn’t a bad thing to be developing players for other clubs.

Ross Aloisi also talked about the need for game time for young striker Nicholas D’Agostino in order to continue his development, while now Newcastle Jets striker Harrison Sawyer was being groomed to be involved in the Roar’s ACL campaign before he opted to move to the Hunter.

Both Aloisi and Kingman went on to talk about the difficulties to find game time for the clubs younger players due to the relative lack of games each season, with Kingsman underlining the importance of being in the AFC Champions League as a way of underpinning success of the academy.

Rahim Soekasah repeated a story told at the ‘blood bath’ forum back in September 2015 of Nirwan Bakrie’s view on the importance of youth development and his desire to see a team predominantly made up of players from the Brisbane area.

Ross’ Role
Ross Aloisi was then asked about his role in the first team set-up, with the older Aloisi outlining that he oversees both the planning and implementation of the training drills, in addition to doing large parts of the video analysis and set piece work.

Ross also takes control over the defensive work, with John coaching the attackers, and while John seeks guidance from the rest of the staff on tactics the final decision on all tactical decisions always rests with him. Ross also spoke about how much time he –and the rest of the coaching staff- spend getting around watching both the Brisbane Roar youth teams and teams from other clubs to make sure that they’re not missing anyone.

Ross also provided some background on his own coaching history, talking about his work with West Adelaide where he went on a long unbeaten run over the course of three seasons, before transitioning into the women’s game firstly with Adelaide United and then as an assistant to Alen Stajcic at the last Women’s World Cup.

Upon completion of that tournament Ross outlined that he had the opportunity to remain in the National Team set-up as Australian u17 and u-20 coach and as an assistant in the Matildas set-up, in addition to an offer as an assistant from a rival A-League club before deciding to take the role as the Roar assistant coach.
Ross was asked about what was behind the clubs unusually high injury toll this year and while he somewhat hinted at a couple of issues he simply said those are in house issues to address. Ross however was scathing of the FFA for not moving the Melbourne City away game which fell inside the mandatory 72 hour window between games, with Aloisi citing the season ending injury to Daniel Bowles as an example of the failings.

Aloisi also talked about the logistical dramas of getting to the ACL games with the team taking over 24 hours and two separate flights to get to South Korea for the Ulsan game.

Roar Supporters Federation
There was a question surrounding the Supporters Federation and where that process is at given the apparent lack of news since the initial announcement, with those involved outlining that the board is going through the process of formalising the structure of Federation. The other main point that was made is that the Federation will not fall in under the clubs umbrella and instead will be alongside it.

5 year plan
Towards the end of the form Kingsman was asked about Brisbane’s long term plan, to which the Managing Director outlined that while previous regimes had talked about such plans he was more interested in getting in and delivering on the clubs plan.

Kingsman citied endeavours such as the Logan training facility, the recently started academy program in addition to the Roar active program and the Brisbane Roar School of Football as examples of the clubs plan being rolled out.

The W-League side was brought up towards the end of the forum, with Kingsman announcing that he recently signed off on the biggest W-League budget the club has had.

Attention then turned to departed coach Belinda Wilson, who left the Roar ahead of the 2016-17 season despite a finals appearance in 2015-16, with Ross outlining that John is trying to implement a way of playing that is consistent across every team under the Brisbane Roar badge and without saying it in as many words Ross implied that both Wilson –and former youth coach Josh McCloughan- didn’t fit that.

Ross also explained that there’s integration to some degree between the A-League coaching staff, new youth coach James Robinson and W-League coach Mel Andreatta attending A-League training sessions with members of the A-League staff attending W-League sessions.

One of the more publicised facts to come out of the meeting last night was the new badge that was unveiled last night. Amongst the details tweaked include the legs, mane and the tail, while the FC was dropped from the badge because ‘people now know who we are’.

Here’s the before and after comparison of the badge.


To wrap this up, here’s some dot points on some of the other stuff that came from the night.

– Kingsman talked about the current FFA congress situation, outlining that the A-League clubs are looking for both more representation and more clout at the table.

– Despite the TV deal being signed off clubs are still waiting to see what the annual distribution from the FFA to the clubs will be.

– As things stand if there’s no Free to Air TV deal signed by the end of May, the rights will go to Channel 10.

– Kingsman talked about Brisbane’s hopes for a loan system to be implemented in future seasons as another avenue to get young players more game time.

– Kingsman also confirmed something that Sydney CEO Tony Pignata suggested on social media on Tuesday night with the salary cap increasing by 300k to 2.95million.

– Kingsman also suggested that the minimum salary will increase from 55k to 70k.

– An update on the training facility in Logan was given, with the pitches set to be ready by the start of the pre-season, with the other facilities likely by the end of the year.

– Kingsman acknowledges the Suncorp Stadium playing surface is ‘shit’, although funding to fix the issue is unlikely due to the upcoming Commonwealth games next year.

While no timetable was given, there was a sense that there would be another of these forums around the end of the season.

Thoughts following the signing of Brett Holman

1) After even more off-field drama in recent weeks it’s good to see some positive news in the shape of a signing, particularly a name that brings the experience and qualities of Holman. It remains to be seen how Holman fits in and what he brings to the side, but with everything that has happened it feels like something of a coup to bring Holman to Brisbane given the reported interest from other clubs.

2) Holman does bring versatility with him, it’s pretty clear that he’s been signed to play in the creative midfielder role currently occupied by Dimitri Petratos. In the two games we’ve seen this season there’s been something lacking in that role with both Tommy Oar and Petratos struggling to break down defences so far, although it’s still relatively early in the pre-season playing time wise.

3) While it’s likely that Holman will fulfil a no.10 type role in John Aloisi’ system at the Roar, we’ve seen in the past with both previous clubs and the National Team that Holman brings a bunch of versatility to the side. That versatility could see Holman act as an option in both of the wide positions, or as a false 9/secondary striker should Aloisi decide to change the system.

4) Another positive from the signing of Holman is the competition he offers for a number of the players currently projected to be in the first XI. The obvious candidate here is Dimitri Petratos, who despite have an excellent conclusion to last season has been inconsistent in his time with Brisbane.

5) When the deal was announced yesterday afternoon, it was initially unknown how long Holman had signed on to be apart of the Roar, however last night Marco Monteverde provided clarity in his story online outlining that it his a two year deal. Marco also confirmed that the contract would be back-loaded, with Holman to assume one of the clubs two marquee roles in the second year of his deal. It’s a similar arrangement to a deal which Tommy Oar has which will see him become a marquee in 2017-18 as well, something else Marco confirmed last night.

6) With the announcement yesterday from Marco that Holman and Oar would become marquee players as of next season, the clubs current marquee duo now are now in an interesting position with incumbent marquee duo Thomas Broich and Matt McKay both out of contract at seasons end. That doesn’t necessarily mean that both will depart after the season, but it does mean the duo will need to be given contract extensions that fall within the salary cap which will make for an interesting set of negations when the time arrives.

7) If there’s a downside to the deal, the fact that Brisbane could start the new season with three midfielders aged 32 or older is it. Add in the likes of Thomas Broich, Jade North and either Michael Theo or Jamie Young in goal and there’s a chance that Brisbane could start games with six players aged 30 or old. While the Australian season is less rigorous in terms of intensity and matches in an Australian summer as opposed to the European winter, things could become hectic should Brisbane qualify for the Champions League in the final third of the season. Individually the ages of the midfield isn’t a worry, but collectively it could become one as the season goes on.

8) Currently Brisbane has 22 contracted players –including Full-Time youth player Joe Caletti- meaning the squad is probably very close to being complete. Despite that however, on the pregame show last night John Aloisi let slip that there’s likely to be one final addition to be made. With just two visa players contracted there’s a strong chance that the clubs final signing will be a visa player. That would work well for the clubs roster management and would allow the clubs full contingent of foreigners to participate in the Asian Champions League campaign.

Here’s the current breakdown of the Brisbane squad


9) So if Aloisi is correct and there’s still one player to bring in, which position will it be? Looking at the graphic above there’s only one right full-back on the roster, but with the likes of Mark Rodic and Cameron Crestani waiting in the wings. The most likely option is likely to be another more experienced striking option to provide competition for Jamie Maclaren and allow extra development time for the clubs young striking duo Joey Katebian and Nicholas D’Agostino, who reportedly has returned from a period training with Genk.

10) It’s early days, but the direction of the club in the post Daniel Cobb era seems to be positive. New Managing Director Mark Kingsman has in the limited time since his arrival began to improve the clubs operations with the move to Ballymore finally occurring followed by re-engaging Holman’s representatives to secure the signing. It’s early days, but perhaps things are changing for the better? Time will tell.

Road to Russia 2018- Why is Brisbane missing out?

Tonight the Australian National Team began their final round of qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia over in Perth, but instead of talking about that game I thought id take a look at something that has seemingly gone under the radar- will the Brisbane public get the chance to see the team play in the 2018 World Cup Qualification cycle?

There’s plenty of facets to this, with factors such as the Suncorp Stadium pitch in the 2015 Asian Cup, the State Governments seeming disinterest in pursuing a qualifier and the FFA’s dropping of the ball in this market. All of those, in addition to other things will be covered, but first, let’s put into perspective just how long it has been since a qualifier has been held here in Brisbane.

Since the conclusion of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup -for which it must be pointed out Brisbane secured two Socceroos matches, although that was the AFC’s decision and the draw as opposed to the FFA bringing a game here- there has been six games played in Australia with two have been in Sydney, and one in Adelaide, Perth, Canberra and Melbourne. 2016 will be rounded out with qualifiers in Perth –tonight- and Melbourne –October- meaning the Victorian and West Australian capitals will join Sydney with two games since the Asian Cup. Adelaide will also join that group in March next year.

Aside of smaller capital cities Darwin and Hobart, the most glaring absentee from that list is Brisbane, the countries third biggest city and it’s looking like the National Team could go an entire qualification cycle without returning to South-East Queensland.

I should point out here I have absolutely no problem with games being shared around the nation, and the likes of Adelaide, Canberra and Perth have missed out for too long, but for the game to be truly shared around the nation it’s time for a return to the Queensland Capital.

For those who can’t remember the last qualifier in Brisbane, it was June 12, 2012, some 1542 days ago when Japan travelled to Brisbane a game which ended in a 1-1 draw in front of 40,189 spectators.

In fact, if the FFA had their time over, this game would probably never have been played in Brisbane, but due to a pre-draw announcement of the first game of round 4 being in Brisbane the FFA were forced to play their biggest home game of the cycle here as opposed to the bigger stadia in Melbourne or Sydney. For the record, if that situation did occur it’s unlikely Brisbane would of missed out in that round of games, with one of the 2013 qualifiers played up here instead.

While it’s been four years since a qualifier in Brisbane, it’s been even longer since the Queensland public has had the opportunity to meet the players at a fan day, events which the FFA now hold before almost every game played in Australia. The last such opportunity in this region was way back in October 2008, when Pim Verbeeks’ side held an open training session down on the Gold Coast.

Given the FFA’s marketing of the game is based almost exclusively around getting the youth of Australia to put football front of mind through digital marketing and other means, it’s an astonishingly long period of time for the third biggest market in the country to go without.

There’s probably an entire generation of youngsters who’ve not had the opportunity to meet there footballing heroes, get the photo, autographs ect, at a time when the game’s arguably never had more role models. Whichever way you choose to slice it, it’s a massive failing of the FFA, particularly considering the games marketing and promotional direction is to attract the attention of the next generation.

Queensland Government
As mentioned at the start there’s two primary groups to blame for this situation, and while the FFA have to take their share of the blame, the majority of the blame has to go to the State Government who’ve shown absolutely no interest in attracting major footballing events to Brisbane.

Since the Palaszczuk government came to power on January 31st 2015 –ironically the night the Socceroos became Champions of Asia- the state have had just one major footballing event when English giants Liverpool came to Brisbane in July last year –however that deal was done under the term of the previous government-. The opportunity to repeat that with a further exhibition game was passed up this year.

The current Government’s philosophy on Sporting Events seems to be focused almost entirely around Rugby League, with the Government trying to secure the 2019 NRL Grand Final while the Olympic Stadium in Homebush is refurbished, in addition to the 2017 RL World Cup Final and the annual All-Stars fixture.

Other major sporting events the state has its invested in include the potential return of the Indy Car race to join the V8 Supercars on the Gold Coast and the addition of a Day-Night Test Match this upcoming summer.

Funds are also allocated to annual events such as the Brisbane International, the Australian PGA Golf Tournament and Wallabies fixtures. The state is also set to host the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth games, however funding from that is separate to the Tourism and Events Queensland budget.

When asked about the possibility of Queensland missing out on this cycle of World Cup Qualifiers, Tourism & Events Qld (TEQ) GM Megan Saunders simply said that “Queensland deserves to host a game and expects FFA to allow fans in Qld the chance to wish the team well before the World Cup”.

There’s plenty of truth in that statement, however there was no commitment to put in a competitive bid for a game, while the South Australian and Western Australian governments are actively pursuing regular fixtures.

Perhaps if Queensland does deserve a game, Tourism and Events could use some of the $49.9 million dollars allocated to it in the most recent budget in putting a competitive bid in? Maybe? Probably not…

Asian Cup 2015
While this isn’t likely to be a major stumbling block, the shocking presentation of the playing surface at the Continental showpiece in 2015 is probably doing the State little favours in trying to pursue a game.

There’s no getting around it, the field for the Asian Cup was a disgrace. There were was a period of almost two weeks following the most recent match at the ground before the first game of the tournament in Brisbane on January 10th, and the field simply wasn’t up to standard.

Stadium GM Alan Graham blamed the failure of the summer grass to populate the playing surface, and while that may or may not be accurate the Stadium knew the tournament was coming and could of done a lot more. Newcastle for instance had a complete returfing in advance of the tournament given their grounds previous problems with the playing surface.

The surface was slammed by almost everyone who used it, with China boss Alan Perrin and Australian manager Ange Postecoglou the two most critical of the surface. The Asian Cup organising committee was also scathing saying “We hired a venue to present world class facilities and a world class pitch for a world class event, and this should not have happened. The venue has to take responsibility”.

At the end of the day though, Homebush in Sydney has repeatedly dished up sub-par pitches for games, with Postecoglou labelling the playing surface a disgrace for the recent friendly with Greece in June. So does that mean Homebush is also crossed off the list of potential World Cup Qualifier venues?  Highly doubtful given the venue has been used for six qualifiers since the switch to Asia, the most of any venue across Australia.

We now move to the FFA, the games governing body who despite the inaction of the State Government have to take some of the blame.

Before we get to that however, it’s important to point out the FFA have been running an open bidding process for these games –with the exception of the Japan game which was designated for Sydney or Melbourne-, so the State Government have been given the opportunity to bid.

The State Governments of South Australia, Western Australia and the ACT have been very proactive in their pursuit of games and have been rewarded with five qualifiers between them so far this cycle.

Despite the lack of a competitive bid from the TEQ, the FFA need to consider more than just the top dollar on hosting rights for these games.

Growth of the game should absolutely be amongst the governing bodies’ biggest priorities and along with taking the national team to all corners of the nation, something which they’ve done better since the Asian Cup.

One of the big selling points of a Socceroos Qualifier here in Brisbane surrounds the coach Ange Postecoglou, who resurrected his coaching career here in Brisbane with back to back titles in 2011 and 2012. Sure Ange brought his Socceroos to Brisbane for the Asian Cup in 2015, but to bring his side back to where he relaunched his career, for a World Cup Qualifier would be a special moment for both the coach and the football community in Brisbane.

Given the current state of events here in Brisbane with so much frustration surround the off-field dramas at Brisbane Roar, a Socceroos World Cup Qualifier could act as both a much needed distracting and event to unite the Brisbane football community, and a conduit to say the FFA does value this market, a claim which has been made many times here and elsewhere in the last 18 months.

Will Brisbane get a game?
At this stage you would have to say the odds on this would be about 50-50 with three of the five home games of this final round of qualifying already accounted for. In addition to tonight’s game against Iraq, October’s game against Japan is pencilled in for Melbourne while March’s home game with UAE is set for the Adelaide Oval.

That leaves just two home games left up for grabs – Saudi Arabia on June 8th and Thailand on September 5th– and at least one of those will go to Sydney who are yet to get a game this round. That game will likely be the Saudi game as part of a Confederations Cup farewell, leaving just the Thailand game in October up for grabs.

Reports in the Courier Mail recently suggested that while the initial plan was for a game in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney in this final round. However the story went on to suggest that the fifth game could well end up in Canberra due to a lack of a competitive bid from the Queensland Government. There’s also the fact that in both the 2010 and 2014 qualification series Sydney received two qualifiers in this stage.

All things considered, if Brisbane does get a game this cycle, it will be the Thailand game in October next year, a game which could prove to be highly anticipated, or largely irrelevant depending on results.

Giving the timing of the Saudi Arabia game – just before the teams departure to Russia for the 2017 Confederations Cup campaign-, you’d say the likelihood of that game being in Brisbane rather remote. A farewell/ send off type occasion at the Olympic Stadium is more likely.

There’s also the question of would the FFA move the Thailand game back to one of the southern states should it be an all or nothing encounter to maximise the potential gate takings, or alternatively would the Brisbane football public be prepared to pay premium prices given everything that’s happened in the past 18 months for a game with nothing on the line and a high likelihood of a second string side taking part.

While this is no doubt a secondary consideration, the Thailand game would be unlikely to allow the time for a fan day to engage the football community , although with a Thursday morning –Australian time- game in the Middle East and a Tuesday night home game there remains a possibility if qualification has already been secured.

In the end though you’d have to say it’s a 50-50 chance that Brisbane secures a game in this World Cup Qualifiers, and for it to happen it seems like one of two things will have to happen; Either the Queensland Government will eventually step up and put in a competitive bid for a game, or the FFA will have to step away from their current desire to take the games to the highest bidder.

Of the two scenario’s it’s tough to say which is the more likely to occur, which makes it even more difficult to say if this situation will be resolved.

FFA- It’s time to step in.

Here we go again. The financial crisis that has engulfed Brisbane Roar over the past 18 months has again got to crisis point with Managing Director Daniel Cobb quitting the role. In a dramatic evening Cobb also confirmed a final bid to buy the licence from the Bakrie Group while also further isolating himself with the Indonesian ownership group by refusing to deny the Roar are trading insolvent.

This past 24 hours has been particularly dramatic with Cobb calling out the clubs ownership over a lack of funds, which he says lead to the late payment of the monthly payroll.

In the midst of all that the FFA and Cobb had a meeting in Sydney, swapped public statements before Cobb also announced he would make a final offer to buy the Roar licence from the Bakries even after quitting his Directors role.

Throughout this entire 18 month saga there has been plenty of anger from Roar supporters aimed at the clubs ownership group, former Directors and Chairman in addition to current MD Daniel Cobb in recent times.

One group which wasn’t included above, but has arguably the most to answer for is the FFA, whom the majority of this will be aimed at.

Over the past 18 months FFA have had multiple opportunities to step in and force change within the clubs ownership structure, and at each opportunity they’ve failed to do so. I’ll save the full recap of the this saga for when it eventually comes to an end, but here’s the key flash points.

The first opportunity to act was back in September 2015 when an ultimatum was issued following a third straight month of late payments to players.

Despite not meeting the deadline set –they were paid in the ensuring days-, the FFA chose not to step in and take control of the licence despite having the power to do so under the competitions rules.

The continued late payment to players in part cost the club the services of arguable its best home-grown talent -Luke Brattan- who used the situation to secured  a move to Manchester City.

That lead to a rather tense fan forum in the weeks leading up to the new season where former A-League boss Damien de Bohun blamed the fortunes of the Roar –and Newcastle Jets- on mistakes both made in 2012. But here we are, four years later and Newcastle are only just recovering from their issues, while Brisbane are yet to be rescued from the structure which created their problems.

On the night De Bohun explained that mechanisms were in place to prevent these issues from occurring, but those mechanisms obviously haven’t worked here in Brisbane. The question of due process when considering the Bakrie Groups ownership application should also come into question.

Fast-forward to May of this year and after a successful season –all things considered- on the park, things again appeared to be heading south with the departure of the clubs Indonesian directors and CEO David Pourre.

The FFA issued a second ultimatum in early May demanding leadership restored to the club, which was the precursor to the announcement of Daniel Cobb as MD and the leader of a consortium which would purchase the licence from the Bakrie Group.

Cobb’s brief stint with the Roar can best be described as problematic, with his frequent international trips doing little to add the leadership or stability it was said he would bring when appointed.

That lack of direction meant the club was unable to make all the recruitment decisions necessary on the football side, while off the field the club have only just launched their membership campaign some six weeks after the rest of the competition.

That brings us to the events of the past 24 hours including ultimatum number 3, and at this point its abundantly clear that neither the Daniel Cobb, nor the Bakrie Group are the right people to be in charge of this football club.

Throughout this saga we’ve seen late pay and superannuation for players and staff alike, a lengthy list of creditors and a general lack of leadership from the clubs owners, yet despite all of those things FFA has refused to take an active role in sorting the clubs issues out.

I should point out all of this isn’t to absolve the clubs owners, Daniel Cobb or anyone else whose been involved in this saga from blame, but it’s the FFA who could, and should have brought this to an end long before now.

From where this club was in May 2014 when it was celebrating its third Championship in four years to where it is now is a collective failure for all involved.

When you factor in that the Socceroos haven’t been to Brisbane for nearly two years, and it’s over 4 years since a World Cup Qualifier has been held in this city with no game likely for at least another six months.

When factoring all that in, it’s not a stretch to say that football in Brisbane–professionally at least- is in the worst shape it’s been in since the launch of the A-League some 12 years ago.

Whichever way you look at it the FFA have flagrantly let this marketplace down in the last two years, so here’s my final message to those running the game in this country.

FFA, we all know that you just helped the nation’s richest club secure a Socceroos legend. You can keep celebrating that, or you can do something to fix the situation here in Brisbane and make sure he has a meaningful competition to play in. Because as it stands you will have a shadow of a team representing the competitions third biggest market, with fewer spectators, assuming they get on the field at all.

Season Review Part 7- Miscellany

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll take a look back at the season that was, the success stories, the disappointments and take a brief look to what may lie ahead for next season. In this final part we’ll look at a few miscellaneous stats, facts and figures from the previous season.

General Stats
Number of players used- 25
Top Goalscorer- Jamie Maclaren (20)
Number of Goalscorers- (11)
Number of Clean Sheets- (8)
Most Clean Sheets- Jamie Young (7)
Most assists- Dimitri Petratos (7)
Hat-tricks- Jamie Maclaren (1)
Fastest Goal- Jamie Maclaren (5’- R22 v West Sydney)
Latest Goal (Normal time) (90+4’- Henrique R12 v Melb. City)
Roar own goals (3)
Most opposition goals- Romeo Castelen (4)
Penalties Scorer- 4
Penalties Conceded- 3
Home form (Regular season) Played 14. W11, L1, D2.
Away form (Regular season) Played 13. W3, L6, D4.
Home points (35) Equal highest in club history (ties 2010-11 season)
Away points (13) Lowest since 2012-13 & second lowest since League expansion.

Appearance milestones
Matt McKay became the first player to play 200 games for Brisbane Roar, while Thomas Broich became just the third to play 150 games for the Roar after McKay and fellow foundation midfielder Massimo Murdocca.

Corey Brown (57), Brandon Borrello (56), and Jamie Young (51) all played their 50th competitive games for Brisbane Roar over the course of the season.

Jack Hingert -99 games- is just one game shy of reaching the century of appearances for Brisbane Roar, while Jade North (88)and Dimitri Petratos (87) are both also likely to reach the milestone in 2016-17.

Luke DeVere (49) and Daniel Bowles (41) are likely to reach the 50 game milestones in 2016-17, while the likes of Corona, Tommy Oar and Jamie Maclaren could also reach the mark provided they stay injury free.

Over the course of the season, four players made their senior debuts for Brisbane Roar, with Jamie Maclaren, Corona, Nicholas D’Agostino and Javier Hervas becoming the 112th, 113th, 114th and 115th players to represent the Roar respectively.

Discipline and Injury and National Team
Number of Yellow Cards- 45
Number of players cautioned- 15
Players with the most cautions- Daniel Bowles and Jade North (6)
Number of Red Cards- 1
Number of players sent off- 1
Player with most send offs- Jack Hingert (1)
Players who missed games via suspension (2)-  Shane Stefanutto and Jack Hingert

Number of players who sustained injuries- 12
Player with longest run of injury- Jean Carlos Solórzano (17 games)
Most common injury- Quad- (22 games)
Number of different injuries (15)
Games missed via injury- 73
**Injury stats based on the weekly A-League media squad release

Number of players to miss games due to National Team commitments – 5 (McKay, Brown, Maclaren Borrello and Donachie
Most games missed- Maclaren (4)

Number of players used- 20
Top Goalscorer- Emily Gielnik (4)
Number of Goalscorers- (8)
Home form (Regular season) Played 6 W2 L4 D0
Away form (Regular season) Played 6 W3 L2 D1
Home points- 6 (Fewest in club history)
Away points- 10

2015-16 debutants
– 9  players made their debut in 2015-16 (Haley Kopmeyer, Summer O’Brien, Malli Forbes, Gabe Marzano, Sofie Persson, Cortnee Vine, Elise Franco, Kristy Yallop, Carrie Simpson). Players number 56-64 respectively.

– Clare Polkinghorne -90- and Tameka Butt -86- are closing in on the century and could become just the first and second players to ever play 100 W-League games for the Roar.