In recent times Brisbane Roar have been conducting a poll of members and fans to decide which players have been the best over the course of the opening decade, so today for a bit of fun after a tough week which has seen questions over the clubs future, I thought id break down my selection for Brisbane Roar team of the decade.
When deciding which players are eligible for selection, Brisbane decided that players must have made at least 20 appearances for the first team so I’ll go along with that, while also placing an emphasis on players who played a key role in the side and also were mainstays. I’ll also apply the same rule to managers, meaning that Rado Vidosic (13 games) is ineligible.
So here we go, my pick for Brisbane Roar team of the decade
Goalkeeper- Michael Theo (2010-current)
Clean Sheets- 37
One of the more obvious picks in the XI, with only the four to choose from. Theo wins out on consistency in performance and the five major trophies he’s helped the Roar win. He’s provided a degree of stability and continuity in goals that had been lacking before his arrival. Theo also has more clean sheets than every other Brisbane goalkeeper combined.
Right Back- Ivan Franjic (2009-2014)
Appearances- 119 (3)
Another obvious selection in the side, with the now Socceroos right back one of the real success stories of the league in the opening decade after coming from the VPL originally as an injury replacement for Andrew Packer. Franjic would go on to make the right back spot his own over the next 5 seasons, providing an attacking threat in addition to solid defending. Another who was apart of all 5 trophies won by the club.
Centre Back- Matt Smith (2010-2014)
Appearances- 119 (1)
The rock of Brisbane’s defence in the three champions, in addition to being captain for two- Smith is another obvious selection in the side. His leadership qualities at the back were invaluable to the side throughout his time in Brisbane while he also chipped in with a handy amount of goals.
Centre Back- Craig Moore (2007-2010)
It was a close call with so many candidates, but as the clubs first marquee player, Moore gets into the side. He was a key part of the Roar side which made the finals for the first time in 2008, with his leadership and experience invaluable in what was a young side. The end wasn’t pretty, but he provided valuable experience at a critical time in the teams evolution.
Left Back- Shane Stefanutto (2010-current)
Appearances- 119 (2)
Another obvious selection is at left back, where Stefanutto has made the role his own since arriving in 2010. His marauding runs down the left flank have seen him form a fantastic partnership with Thomas Broich down that side of the park. He’s been injury prone of late, but still an automatic selection when fit.
Central Midfielder- Erik Paartalu (2010-2013)
As a holding midfielder, Paartalu had massive impact on the Brisbane side with his ability to break up counters and start attacks with his simple but effective passing game forming a key part of Brisbane’s play. Big Erik also chipped in with his fair share of important goals, no less important than the equaliser in the 2011 Grand Final deep into extra-time stoppage time. Just edges it over Brattan for pure consistency in performance and being ready to play whenever needed as evidenced by him playing every game of the 2011 and 2012 Championship seasons.
Central Midfielder- Massimo Murdocca (2005-2013)
Appearances- 132 (32)
Another one where I considered other options who may provide a bigger goal threat, but in the end I opted for Murdocca. His longevity here in Brisbane in addition to his endless work rate made him a fan favourite, and he formed a fantastic midfield partnership with Matt McKay over six seasons.
Central Midfielder- Matt McKay (2005-2011 & (2013-current)
Appearances- 178 (1)
Another obvious one, and captain of my Brisbane team of the decade. McKay was there on day 1 against the NZ Knights and still remains today, providing 8 seasons of fantastic service in the midfield. Scored his fair share of goals and set up many others, but it’s his all-round energy and movement which make him invaluable. Lead the side to the teams first trophy in 2010-11 and returned just under 2 years ago to help lead the side back to the top. First name on the team sheet.
Right wing- Henrique de Andrade Silva (2009-current)
Appearances- 83 (36)
Arrived just before the finals in 2008, the Brazilian livewire has been a constant threat over the last five seasons. As a winger, he’s been a constant source of goals, with his 31 leaving him only behind Berisha in the pecking order. Scored the first goal in the 2011 Grand Final to give them a way back into the game before sealing the deal with the decisive penalty, before repeating his heroics with the winner in extra time of the 2014 decider.
Left Wing- Thomas Broich (2010- current)
Appearances- 140 (1)
Another automatic pick, and by far the most talented player to wear the shirt in the opening decade. Before Broich arrived Brisbane were able to attack sides but lacked the ability to create clear chances to win the games. With the German Brisbane have won five trophies and played some of the best football in the 10 years of the A-League. The best player in the A-League over the first decade, an obvious pick.
Striker- Besart Berisha (2011-2014)
Appearances 82 (1)
An obvious choice upfront, Berisha is by far the best striker to wear the orange shirt in the first decade of the club. His goals to games ratio was sensational, but more than that his work rate upfront, both with and without the ball, in addition to his absolute desire to win make him a must pick. Brisbane have missed him massively this season.
Manager- Ange Postecoglou (2009-2012)
Games- 84 (W 42, D 24, L 18)
2x A-League Championship
1x A-League Premiership
36 game unbeaten run (Aus. Sporting record)
It has to be Ange. Taking over an aging, ill-disciplined side in 2009 with questions about where the side was heading, the start of the Postecoglou revolution had a lot of critics with many key players from previous seasons moved on. The short term results of those changes were an 8th placed finish, the long term implications were beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. Back to back Championships, a Premiership, a 2nd placed finish and 36 game unbeaten run where they revolutionised the way the game was played here in Australia. Brisbane’s success continued post Postecoglou, but Ange was the architect of the clubs recent success.
Liam Reddy (2006-2009)
Clean sheets- 18
A solid goal-keeper who arrived back in the second season, playing a key role in the Frank Farina era. Has the second most appearances as a goalkeeper for the Roar, and the second most clean sheets.
Josh McCloughan (2005-2010)
I thought about throwing Josh into the starting side, his versatility in playing both CB and LB make him perfect for this role however. A solid and tough defender who formed the defensive foundation of Miron Bleiberg’s era before continuing on as a vital cog in the Frank Farina era. Was a big threat from set pieces as well. Missed out on the silverware he deserved by a single season unfortunately.
Mitch Nichols (2007-2013)
Games- 87 (44)
I thought about throwing Mitch into the starting side due to the sheer number of goals scored from midfield, but his inconsistency over the years means he’s relegated to the role of super sub. A home-grown product who improved his all around game over the years, but it was his ability to grab a goal from midfield that makes him so dangerous.
Charlie Miller (2008-2009)
Games- 23 (7)
The big Scotsman wasn’t here in Brisbane for long, but he had a massive impact on the Frank Farina era. Miller scored in his first four games, an A-League record, with 7 goals all up that season before a hernia operation ruled him out. The second season wasn’t as productive, and ultimately he was moved on by Postecoglou as part of his Roar Revolution. A class act however, and well worth a bench spot.
Serginho van Djik (2008-2010)
If it wasn’t for Berisha, van Djik would be a certain starter in this side, with his goal every other game average ranking amongst the best. It was a slow start for the Dutchman with just one goal in 11 games, however 11 in 13 games in the second half of the season showed his quality. He followed that up with 13 goals in 27 games, making him a shining light in what was a difficult 2009-10 season. A top striker.
Reinaldo Elias da Costa, Danny Tiatto, Luke DeVere, Sasa Ognenovski, Sayed Mohamed Adnan, Jade North, Luke Brattan, Michael Zullo, Tommy Oar.
All of those omissions have a strong case for inclusion, particularly the home-grown Luke Brattan who has gone from the youth team, to squad player, to key first team regular over the past five seasons.
Brisbane Roar team of the decade (2005-2015)
Michael Theo, Ivan Franjic, Matt Smith, Craig Moore, Shane Stefanutto, Erik Paartalu, Matt McKay, Massimo Murdocca, Henrique de Andrade Silva, Thomas Broich, Besart Berisha.
Substitutes: Liam Reddy, Josh McCloughan, Mitch Nichols , Charlie Miller, Sergio van Djik.
Manager: Ange Postecoglou