Crestani joins Western Pride

CAMERON-CRESTANI-700x700

(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

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Arana headlines Roar departures

Brisbane Roar have released four players as John Aloisi reshapes his squad ahead of the new season. Spanish midfielder Manuel Arana heads the list, along with fellow midfielder Nathan Konstandopoulos, defender Cameron Crestani and striker Joey Katebian.

Arana, 32, arrived late in the pre-season from Spanish club Mallorca and took time getting up to speed here in the A-League. All up just two goals from 23 appearances wasn’t enough to force his way into the starting line-up,

Young midfielder Konstandopoulos played only a bit part role in the side for Brisbane this season, with his only start coming on Matchday five of the AFC Champions League against Muanthong United. All up the former Adelaide midfielder made four appearances over the season.

Katebian, 21, only played a bit part role in the first team this season with just the two starts, both of which came in the Champions League. Injuries, and the emergence of Nicholas D’Agostino made it difficult for the former Melbourne man to make his mark.

Youth team captain Cameron Crestani was elevated to the senior squad after another stellar season for the Young Roar and made six appearances for Brisbane, including playing an important role in the backline for much of the Champions League campaign.

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Crestani finally made the breakthrough from the youth team this season. (Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Joining the quartet in departing the Roar are star striker Jamie Maclaren who officially informed the Roar of his decision yesterday, and fan favourite Thomas Broich who announced his intention to move on back in the lead-up to the Elimination Final against Western Sydney Wanderers.

Maclaren, 23, departs Brisbane after two stellar years upfront where he became the first ever Australian striker to score 20 or more goals in two straight A-League seasons. That form has seen Maclaren become a hot property on the transfer market, with clubs in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands all vying for his signature. All up Jamie scored 43 goals in 61 appearances, which ranks second behind only Besart Berisha – 49 goals from 83 appearances- on Brisbane’s all-time goal scoring charts.

Broich, 36, arrived in Brisbane after falling out of love with the game in his native Germany and quickly became a key cog in Ange Postecoglou’s Roar Revolution, with Brisbane going on to win the double in his first season. All up in his seven year stay with Brisbane Roar, Broich made 203 appearances for the club –second most- and scored 21 goals –eighth most- in club history.

Add in the personal accolades which include being the only two time winner of the Johnny Warren medal as the League’s best player, a Joe Marston medallist in the 2014 Grand Final and the only player to win the Gary Wilkins medal for Brisbane’s player of the year on three occasions. Not to mention he was honoured as the first inductee to the clubs Hall of Fame over the weekend at the awards night.

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(Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac)

With the departure of Arana, Katebian, Crestani, Broich, Maclaren and Konstandopoulos, Brisbane’s squad currently sits at sixteen players signed up for next season, with two marquee players –Tommy Oar and Brett Holman- and one visa player –Thomas Kristensen. Midfield duo Jacob Pepper and Joe Caletti, in addition to defender Avram Papadopoulos are as yet uncontracted for next season, however their exclusion from this list indicates it’s likely the trio will be part of the squad for 2017-18.

Brisbane Roar squad for 2017-18 as at 17/05/2017.
Goalkeepers
– Michael Theo, Jamie Young.
Defenders- Daniel Bowles, Corey Brown, Luke Devere, Jack Hingert, Jade North, Connor O’Toole, Kye Rowles.
Midfielders- Shannon Brady, Brett Holman, Thomas Kristensen, Tommy Oar, Matt McKay.
Forwards- Brandon Borrello, Nicholas D’Agostino.

Unknown- Joe Caletti, Avram Papadopoulos, Jacob Pepper.
Released- Manuel Arana, Thomas Broich, Cameron Crestani, Joey Katebian, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Jamie Maclaren.

Manuel Arana
Player Number-
121
Debut- Round 5, 2016-17 (Melb. City-H)
Games- 11 (12)
Goals– 2

Nathan Konstandopoulos
Player Number
– 117
Debut- 2016 FFA Cup Round of 32 (Perth Glory- H)
Games- 1 (3)
Goals- 0

Cameron Crestani
Player Number– 124
Debut- Round 20, 2016-17 (Perth Glory- A)
Games- 5 (1)
Goals– 0

Joey Katebian
Player Number- 120
Debut- Round 3, 2016-17 (Central Coast- A)
Games- 2 (4)
Goals- 0

Jamie Maclaren
Player Number- 112
Debut- 2015 FFA Cup Round of 32 (Western Sydney- A)
Games- 57 (4)
Goals- 43
Honours- 2x A-League Young Player of the Year, A-League Golden Boot (2016-17), 2x Brisbane Roar Golden Boot winner

Thomas Broich
Player Number-
69
Debut- Round 1, 2010-11 (Gold Coast-A)
Games- 192 (11)
Goals- 21
Honours- 3x A-League Champion, 2x A-League Premier, 2x Johnny Warren Medallist, 1x Joe Marston Medallist, 3x Gary Wilkins Medallist, Brisbane Roar hall of famer.

Best of luck to Manuel, Nathan, Cameron, Joey, Jamie and Thomas on their future endeavours.


2016-17 Season Preview- Central Defenders

With the new season set to get underway in just 14 days time, our annual season preview series is here and over the next two weeks we’ll take an in depth look at the 2016-17 tea. Previously we’ve covered the Goalkeepers, the right backs and the left backs, today we’ll look at the central defenders.

If there’s one position which could define the 2016-17 season for Brisbane Roar it’s likely to be at centre back where John Aloisi has a range of options at his disposal, most however have questions over them going into the new season.

Jade North

2015-16 Appearances– 29
2015-16 Goals– 3

Last season was another typical Jade North season, playing in all bar one of Brisbane’s games, providing stability and experience to an otherwise youthful back four.

Defensively last season, North once again rated amongst the league leaders in Duels won, clearances and interceptions, while on the other side of the ball he added a goal-scoring knack to his game finding the net on three occasions, including two on set pieces where Brisbane were stronger last season than in the past.

With question marks next over his partner next to him Jade will once again need to be the leader of the back-line in 2016-17, where regardless of who is next to him will be a younger player be it DeVere, Bowles, Rowles or Crestani.

Luke DeVere
2015-16 Appearances– 0
While there’s no doubt surrounding the talent of DeVere, there’s a bunch of questions over his durability over the course of a six month season given the long list of injuries that have plagued his career.

Constant knee problems forced a return to Brisbane in January 2015 and after getting himself fit he was played in a post season friendly against Villarreal in May, a game where he would tare his groin off the bone in the opening minutes.

That injury would ultimately see him miss all of last season –aside from two 45 minute cameos in the NYL- and he’s only just returned to first team action in recent weeks in the clash against the BPL select side.

In that game DeVere got through unscathed and looked assured in the role at the back and according to reports played 70 minutes against Perth in Sydney yesterday. It’s likely he will still be regaining sharpness by the time round one rolls around, but he should be ready for his first game in the league since the rescheduled round 18 game against the Victory in April 2014.

As mentioned there’s no questioning his talent when fit as evidenced by his inclusion in the Socceroos setup by Ange Postecoglou after just a handful of games back in March 2015, it’s just a matter of keeping him fit.

If John Aloisi and his coaching staff are able to do so, they’ve got a top central defender at their disposal who could alter the fortunes of the 2016-17 side, if he does however succumb to further setbacks the options as cover look a little bleak.

Daniel Bowles
2015-16 Appearances– 22
2015-16 Goals– 1

After spending most of his first season back in Brisbane either at right back or on the sidelines, last season saw Daniel Bowles given his first taste of regular first team action in central defence and the results were mostly positive.

Adding height to an otherwise short backline, Bowles played in 22 games last season and showing glimpses of the potential to form a strong partnership alongside Jade North at the heart of defence.

Despite that however there were some dips in form throughout the six month campaign and those issues saw Bowles benched midway through the season and the 23 year old struggled to win his spot back as the finals series approached.

Going into the new season it seems likely that Bowles will start on the bench and act as the first defender called in to plug any holes over the back four, with the now fit again Luke DeVere set to partner Jade North in the heart of defence.

Despite the likelihood of not being in the side to start the season, Bowles is likely to play a big part in the 2016-17 side given the injury concerns surrounding DeVere and should see major minutes over the course of the 30 week season.

Kye Rowles
2015-16 Appearances– 0
Rounding out the quartet of central defenders in the first team squad is 18 year old Kye Rowles, who arrives in Brisbane as a youngster with tremendous promise.

Rowles, who emerged on the scene last year at the U-17 World Cup where his performances helped the Joeys progress to the Round of 16 in Chile.

Since joining Brisbane officially in May, Rowles is yet to play in the first team squad, although he was on the bench in the FFA Cup loss to Perth and has featured on a handful of occasions in the NPL Queensland.

This season is likely to be one of learning for Rowles, who figures to get most of his football in the National Youth League unless an injury crisis necessitates his debut in the A-League.

Rowles is also likely to be one of a few players called away for U-20 World Cup Qualifying when it begins next month in Bahrain.

The likes of Connor O’Toole, Jayden Prasad, Joey Champness, Jayden Prasad and Nicholas D’Agostino have all joined Rowles at various times with the Young Socceroos in recent months and could be involved in qualifying.

Youth- Cameron Crestani
There’s a couple of central defenders in the Young Roar set-up worth mentioning however the best of the group is 20 year old Cameron Crestani, who has been part of the set-up for the past three seasons.

Crestani has been on the fringes of the side for a while now including as an unused substitute in the FFA Cup Round of 32 loss to Western Sydney last season although he’s yet to make his debut.

A good all round defender both with and without the ball, Crestani is capable of playing anywhere across the back four and figures to be amongst the first called up from the youth set-up should an injury crisis hit.

Others who are worth mentioning but unlikely to feature this season are Aaron Reardon and mid-season arrival from Western Pride Hayden McHenery, who formed a solid partnership towards the end of the NPL Queensland campaign and are likely to be given the chance to continue that in the National Youth League.

While collectively John Aloisi has a wide range of central defenders to choose from, there are question marks amongst the group. From the injury history of Luke DeVere or the youth of the depth beyond DeVere and North, the questions are there.

There is however no questioning that should everything pan out for the best, Brisbane would have one of the leagues best defensive pairings in the form of North and DeVere. The depth beyond that, similarly to the depth in the wide defensive positions does look a little shaky.


2016-17 Preview- Right Full-Back

With the new season set to get underway in just 17 days time, our annual season preview series is here and over the next two weeks we’ll take an in depth look at the 2016-17 tea. Yesterday we took a look at the goalkeeper position, today we’ll look at the right full-backs.

Last season the right back position was one of the most stable ones in the side with Jack Hingert establishing himself at the position, and with the question marks over some of the other positions in the back four John Aloisi will no doubt be hoping for more of the same this season particularly given the lack of alternatives.

When you exclude Hingert from the conversation there’s a legitimate argument that there’s no other specialist right full-backs in the first team or the youth set-up, meaning that the likes of Jacob Pepper, Daniel Bowles, Mark Rodic and Cameron Crestani are all in the frame to fill in with their versatility should it be required.

Jack Hingert
2015-16 Appearances– 30

Last season was a massive one for Hingert, 25, who emerged from the shadows of Ivan Franjic to secure his spot in the starting XI ahead of German import Jerome Polenz, with Hingert missing just one game over the course of the season.

Last season Hingert compared reasonably well statistically with the leagues best full-backs from a defensive stand point in a side which was prone to leaking goals at times while from an offensive side he ranked amongst the best in passes completed, crosses and chances created at the position.

This season John Aloisi will be hoping for continued progression from Jack in the role and for his relationship with Brandon Borrello on the right wing to continue to develop.

He’s also be very much hoping that the injury problems which have plagued Hingert in years gone by are a thing of the past as there’s limited options at his disposal should Aloisi need them.

Back-up options
The form and fitness of Hingert is doubly important due to the fact that there’s no obvious candidate to step in should, following the departure of nominal back-up Jerome Polenz who was released in July.

Over the preseason Jacob Pepper has spent some time at right back and could be in line to play a utility role similar that of Diogo Ferreira back in 2013-14, although he’s also the primary cover in the centre of midfield.

Daniel Bowles is a another option in the side and has played some right back in the past although he’s always looked more convincing in a central role, and given the question marks around that part of the pitch as well likely that Bowles will be called on forma stretch of games at some stage.

I suppose having Pepper and Bowles as cover at Right Back could work out well, but it’s entirely dependant on the form and fitness of Luke DeVere in defence and the midfield duo of Thomas Kristensen and Matt McKay.

With the potential of an Asian Champions League campaign at the back end of the season should Brisbane win their qualifier against a yet to be named opponent, that already thin depth could be further tested.

Youth
In terms of youth team options threes two that spring to mind; Mark Rodic and Cameron Crestani.

Rodic, 20 arrived in Brisbane at around this time last season and has been a part of the youth setup for the past year as a right back and a right sided centre back.

Crestani meanwhile is a long serving member of the youth side and has expelled in recent times as a centre back but has shown versatility in the past to play both full-back roles.

The right back position has been a problematic one for the young roar in recent times however with a number of players tried and none really sticking in the role. Depth in the position was also depleted when Jaiden Walker – who had previously been a regular at RB- transferred to Gold Coast City in June.

For the 2016-17 Brisbane Roar side Jack Hingert will be an important part of the puzzle and his performances will need to be of a similar or higher level for Brisbane to be once again competing for the silverware. There’s no doubt that Jack is capable of that given the rise in consistency over the past season, but with less than optimal options beneath him in the pecking order his importance to the side is now higher than ever.