Brisbane sign Massimo Maccarone on marquee deal

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(Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images Europe)

Brisbane Roar have found their replacement for departed striker Jamie Maclaren, with former Italian international Massimo Maccarone arriving on a one year deal as the clubs new marquee player.

Maccarone, 37, brings a large degree of top level experience with him to Brisbane, having played in the Serie A with Parma, Siena, Palermo, Sampdoria and Empoli in addition to spending four seasons in the Premier League with Middlesbrough back in the mid 2000’s.

After starting out with Serie C club Prato, Maccarone moved to Empoli in 2000 where his 26 goals in 68 appearances saw him earn a call up to the National side despite playing in Italy’s second tier.

A move to the Premier League with Middlesbrough soon followed and the Italian played a role in their 2004 League Cup triumph and their run to the 2006 UEFA Cup Final.

As a marquee player Maccarone joins a short list of players to fill that role at the Roar, following in the footsteps of Craig Moore, Thomas Broich and Matt McKay. Brett Holman is set to join Maccarone as the other marquee player for the upcoming season. Tommy Oar was set to fill one of the two outside of the cap spots this season before his departure to APOEL FC which opened up the possibility of signing Maccarone.

Maccarone then returned to Italy in 2007 to play in the Serie A for the first time in his career, where he joined Siena. Additional moves to Palermo and Sampdoria followed before Maccarone returned to Empoli in 2011 with the goal of returning the club to the Serie A.

In his second spell at the club Maccarone scored 63 goals in 176 appearances over six seasons, helping the club back to the Serie a back in 2013-14. Last season was a bit of a down year however for both Maccarone and Empoli, with the striker netting just the 5 goals in 28 appearances last season as Empoli was relegated back to the Serie B after a three year stay in the top tier.

As mentioned Maccarone was called up to represent the National side back in 2002 ahead of the World Cup making the two appearances for Italy, the first of which was as a substitute against England.

The one thing that Maccarone brings above anything else to the Roar squad is experience, although how he fits in as a replacement for a younger, more mobile striker in Jamie Maclaren will be interesting. How the 37 year old deals with the heat and humidity here in Australia is also a question.

Maccarone adds some experience to Brisbane’s striking options and figures to start the season as the clubs first choice number 9, with Nicholas D’Agostino and Corey Gameiro in reserve. The big need in the final third is now in the wide areas where options are currently limited to new signing Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Shannon Brady and perhaps Gameiro.

The signing of Maccarone takes Brisbane’s squad to 20 players, with both marquee spaces now full along with three of the five visa spots. Previously John Aloisi hinted that there would be two more signings in the final third with a winger and a striker the priority, so with Maccarone in the bag attention is likely to switch towards the flanks.

Brisbane Roar squad as at 17/07/2017
Goalkeepers– Michael Theo, Jamie Young.
Defenders- Daniel Bowles, Corey Brown, Luke Devere, Jack Hingert, Dane Ingham, Jade North, Connor O’Toole, Avram Papadopoulos.
Midfielders– Joe Caletti, Brett Holman, Thomas Kristensen, Matt McKay, Jacob Pepper.
Forwards- Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Shannon Brady, Nicholas D’Agostino, Corey Gameiro, Massimo Maccarone.


Dane Ingham elevated to First Team squad

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(Chris Hyde/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Following a breakout season which saw him go from playing youth league football to the World stage at he Confederations cup, Brisbane Roar have elevated young full-back Dane Ingham to their first team for the upcoming season.

Ingham 19, has reportedly signed a three year deal and will now look to continue his development at full-back having only made the shift a year ago from a wing role.

It was almost a year ago that Dane’s meteoric rise began where after starting the 2016 NPL Queensland season on the right wing he moved back into the defensive role in the final rounds of that competition.

A solid season at right back in the National Youth League followed before a first team debut beckon in the ACL qualifier at home against Global FC.

That game proved to be the first of seven first team appearances last term, with the defenders attacking nature paying off with his first goal against Perth Glory coming in just his third appearance.

Those games for the first team and interest from Australia were enough for New Zealand manager Anthony Hudson to pounce and include Dane and his older brother Jai in the All-Whites squad for their March qualifiers against Fiji.

After making his debut in the second of those qualifiers Dane has spent the last six weeks on national team duty for New Zealand, firstly at the u-20 World Cup in South Korea where the Kiwis made it to the last 16 before losing to the United States.

A trip to the Confederations Cup quickly followed with Ingham playing the second and third group games against Mexico and Portugal where he put in solid performances against some of the best wingers in world football.

The challenge for Dane now will be to build on the experiences of the past six months and continue to develop his game and hopefully to put pressure on Jack Hingert for the first team spot.

It’s also a big year on the international front for Ingham, with September qualifiers against Solomon Islands coming up before a likely inter-confederation play-off against the 5th seeded team from South American qualifying.

The addition of Ingham should round out the defensive ranks for Brisbane as joins Jack Hingert, Corey Brown and Connor O’Toole as full-back options for the upcoming season in addition to central defenders Jade North, Luke Devere, Avram Papadopoulos and Daniel Bowles.

The elevation of Ingham to a senior deal takes Brisbane’s squad to 19 players with three visa players and one marquee spot available. At training today Aloisi strongly hinted that there would be atleast two more additions in the attacking third, one of which would be a marquee player.

Brisbane Roar squad as at 04/07/2017
Goalkeepers– Michael Theo, Jamie Young.
Defenders- Daniel Bowles, Corey Brown, Luke Devere, Jack Hingert, Dane Ingham, Jade North, Connor O’Toole, Avram Papadopoulos.
Midfielders– Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Shannon Brady, Joe Caletti, Brett Holman, Thomas Kristensen, Matt McKay, Jacob Pepper.
Forwards- Nicholas D’Agostino, Corey Gameiro.


Brisbane sign Corey Gameiro on one year deal

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(Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Brisbane have boosted their attacking ranks today with the signing of striker Corey Gameiro ahead of the 2017-18 season.

Gameiro, 24 joins Brisbane after previous stints with Fulham, Wellington Phoenix, Sydney FC and Melbourne City, although the striker hasn’t played a minute of the two previous seasons due to severe knee injuries.

Infact Gameiro has played just five games in the three previous seasons, with three consecutive ACL injuries stalling what was a promising career.

Last seen Gameiro played five games for City early in the 2015-16 season before an injury. Prior to that he scored two goals in five games for Sydney FC at the start of the 2014-15 season before injury ended his season, taking his tally to four goals from 19 games in his two years at the Sky Blues.

Prior to that Gameiro was contracted to English club Fulham and while he didn’t make a first team appearance for the then Premier League club, loan spells to Hayes & Yeading, FC Eindhoven and Wellington were organised to get first team football.

Before the injuries Gameiro was also a regular in the junior national teams representing Australia at both u-20 and u-23 level, and it’s that potential which Corey will no doubt be hoping to recapture after such a long time out with injury and as things stand there should be plenty of opportunities here in Brisbane for him to do so.

Despite today’s addition of Gameiro there remains considerable work to be done in terms of recruitment in the attacking third, following the departures of Brandon Borrello, Jamie Maclaren, Thomas Broich, Tommy Oar and Joey Katebian all moving on at the end of last season.

Currently Gameiro is just one of two strikers on the books at the Roar with the other being youngster Nicholas D’Agostino who emerged at the end of last season, although there’s likely to be another addition to the goalscoring ranks before the season starts.

The signing of Gameiro takes Brisbane’s squad to 18 players, with three visa spaces and one marquee spot still up for grabs.

Brisbane Roar squad as at 04/07/2017
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, Joe Caletti, Brett Holman, Thomas Kristensen, Matt McKay, Jacob Pepper.
Forwards- Nicholas D’Agostino, Corey Gameiro.


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