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.

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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 Free Agency- Part one

The 2016-17 free agency window opened on December first which means that out of contract players can now negotiate with rival clubs to secure their futures. In part two we’ll take a look at players from the nine rival clubs, but today we’ll focus in on Brisbane’s group of upcoming free agents.

Brisbane had 13 players set to test the market as of December first however Tuesday’s news of club captain Matt McKay brings that number down to 12. All of that means that Manager John Aloisi and Football Operations Manager Craig Moore will be busy over the coming weeks as they shape the 2017-18 Brisbane Roar line-up.

Brisbane’s list of free agents includes a wide ranging group of players, who’ve both played a big part in the squad over the past seasons and are about to enter their prime years. It’s a substantial group of players out of contract, and there’s no doubt that more than a few of them will be highly sought after by rival clubs in the coming months which will make it tough to retain them.

The coaching situation
Before we get into the free agent players we need to address the coaching situation, with both Head Coach John Aloisi and his assistant and brother Ross both coming to the end of their two year contracts.

Given everything that the duo have been confronted with off the field, the results have been strong which has made the duo a popular pair with Brisbane supporters.

Unsurprisingly reports of interest from rival clubs has began to emerge, with Adelaide reportedly looking at bringing one or both of the brothers back to their hometown should Guillermo Amor move on at the end of the season.

The ageing veterans
Thomas Broich
Since arriving in Brisbane having admitted to falling out of love with Football, Broich has gone on to become the best player in the history of the A-League with five major honours to his name.

Having amassed the second most appearances in club history -182 in all competitions- time is beginning to wind down for the 35 year old, although over the first third of the season Thomas has shown that he’s still got a bit left in the locker and remains an important part of the Brisbane attack.

The big complication surrounding Thomas is that similarly to the recently re-signed Matt McKay he will need to downgrade from his current marquee position to fit within the salary cap.

There’s no doubt that it’s entirely possible to find room for Broich within the salary cap going forward, however this decision is likely to –and absolutely should- be solely one for Thomas to decide if he wishes to continue his career or transition into his post playing days.

If Thomas Broich decides he wants to play on, there absolutely should be a spot on the roster for him, while if he does decide to retire it will no doubt be a sad day, but his legacy as the best player in the history of the A-League is already entrenched.

Jade North
As the leader of the backline, Jade provides a great degree of experience amongst what is a youthful group of central defenders around him. In addition to the vast experience North brings to the table, the now 34 year old is still near the top of his game and has formed a solid pairing with Luke DeVere over the first third of the season.

Similarly to Thomas Broich the decision will likely come down to if he wishes to continue on, although if he does play on there’s a good chance that he remains with the Roar.

Michael Theo
Having made just 15 appearances in the past two seasons, this was always going to be a big season for Michael who’s seen his place as first choice goalkeeper challenged by Jamie Young.

Theo has gone a long way to re-establishing himself in goals this season, with a string of impressive saves ensuring that he’s played in all nine games so far.

Given that Theo has regained his first choice status it’s likely that a new deal will be agreed at some point, particularly given that he seems to be settled in Brisbane, running an academy for children through the school holidays.

The prime year players
Luke DeVere
After missing the entire 2015-16 season with a serious thigh injury, Luke has returned to the side and barely missed a beat in the opening nine rounds. Having formed a strong partnership with Jade North, DeVere has become one of the most important players on the current roster.

Looking ahead it seems unlikely that DeVere would depart Brisbane for a rival club in the league, although if Luke still has ambitions of playing overseas in either Asia or Europe this could be a good time for him to try his luck once again.

Further complicating the decision for Luke is a potential appearance at the 2018 World Cup, with Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou a noted fan of the central defender.

Given all of his injury concerns however, and the loyalty that Brisbane Roar and John Aloisi have shown him, the desire to repay that faith and the regular playing time on offer will likely be enough to see him re-sign.

Jamie Maclaren
The free agency of Jamie has already been in the headlines for the past few weeks and it’s likely that we’ll see plenty more headlines before the Socceroos striker makes his decision.

Two weeks ago Brisbane made their first offer to the striker, with his representatives declaring the offer as insulting and there have seemingly been no further negotiations since.

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A lot depends on this man’s decision

With 24 goals in 35 appearances for Brisbane, interest in the striker has unsurprisingly been considerable, with contract offers from both rival A-League and overseas clubs reportedly coming in. The fact that Brisbane have already filled their two allocated marquee positions for next seasons further complicates the situation.

It goes without saying that re-signing Jamie is – and should be- amongst the highest priorities in terms of the players off contract, although the decision is one that could drag on until January as the Maclaren camp seeks overseas offers.

At this stage, it’s unclear yet which way this will end up, though the implications of this decision will shape Brisbane’s 2016-17 side, and the remainder of the free agency decision making processes.

Dimitri Petratos
There’s very few players who’ve divided people’s opinions more than Dimi, although over the past 18 months or so he’s shown signs of adding consistency to his already obvious talent.

Given that he’s approaching the prime years of his career, it’s likely that Petratos will attract a fair amount of interest on the open market, both in the A-League and potentially overseas.

With the demographics of Brisbane’s roster consisting mostly of players either under the age of 23 or over 30, it’s important to keep the few players who fall within those two windows, and Petratos is one of the few who does.

The foreign imports
Manuel Arana
Having arrived late in the pre-season, Arana spent the first part of the season gaining his fitness before making his debut it round 5 against Melbourne City.

While Arana hasn’t seen a great deal of game time yet, in his limited game time he’s shown a direct style and the ability to run in behind defences which is something that has been missing in wider areas.

Any potential negotiations for next season are likely to be put on hold until later in the season until he’s got more minutes under his belt and a more accurate decision can be made. With the likes of Shannon Brady already in the A-League squad, in addition to Joseph Champness and Jayden Prasad in the youth squad as winger options, there could be an internal replacement in place.

Thomas Kristensen
Thomas arrived from Denmark as a replacement for Miguel Corona who returned to his former club in Spain halfway through his two year contract and has fitted in well to the Brisbane way of play.

The role is different to that of Corona given the change of style this season under Aloisi, however in that more defensive minded midfielders role Kristensen has provided good cover for the back four while getting forward and contributing at the other end of the park with two goals so far.

Given how well that Kristensen has fitted in, it would be a boost going forward if Brisbane could secure the 33 year old for an extra season although as is always the case with imports, off-field factors and settling in is an important consideration.
The youngsters
Nicholas D’Agostino
Having shone for the Young Roar side in both the NPL Queensland and the NYL, D’Agostino was rewarded with a one year deal as a Scholarship player.

While D’Agostino has only the one unused substitute appearance to his name this season, his form in the National Youth League has indicated that his game is continuing to improve.

Due to the age of both D’Agostino and Joey Katebian comparisons are easily drawn, and it could well come down to a case of one or the other. Of the two I would suggest that D’Agostino is a little better all-around player and should be the priority, particularly given he’s a player whose grown and developed through the Brisbane youth system.

Joey Katebian
Perhaps a surprise signing after being released from Melbourne Victory at the end of last season, Joey has provided additional depth upfront behind star striker Jamie Maclaren.

So far we haven’t seen a great deal of Katebian in the A-League side with limited minutes off the bench so far, although a hat-trick in the NYL showed his talent.

With Katebian –and also D’Agostino- it could be a case of one or the other as it’s likely that there will only be room on the roster for one up and coming striker, particularly if D’Agostino is no longer a scholarship player.

Nathan Konstandopoulos
After getting a taste of the A-League at his hometown club Adelaide United, Konstandopoulos moved to Brisbane as part of the Young Roar side in the NPL season before being upgraded to a scholarship deal ahead of the new season.

So far this season Nathan has been on the periphery of the side, but in his limited playing time has shown enough to suggest that there’s a role for him on the roster going forward.

Jacob Pepper
Pepper was signed to be a stopgap for a younger player to earn his place in the side while providing depth to the first team roster as we’ve seen with the likes of Diogo Ferreira in years gone by.

With that in mind it’s likely that Jacob’s stay in Brisbane will be a short one, but with the constructs of the league you need players with versatility are important and while an extension shouldn’t be excluded from consideration it’s unlikely.

In an ideal world, Brisbane would re-sign the majority of their free agents here with the likes of DeVere, Petratos and Maclaren are likely to be at the top of their list, while hopefully keeping a couple of veterans around the locker room.

Due to the number of players Brisbane have out of contract currently, it’s likely the side will look very different at the start of the next season.


2016-17 Season Preview- Attacking Midfielders

With the new season set to get underway in just 9 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, the left- backs, central defenders and central midfielders, today we’ll look at the Attacking Midfielders.

It seems that this season could see a change in the shape of the midfield as John Aloisi introduces a no.10 to the side, a move which will bring about a slight change in the way Brisbane play but one which should add some more control of the game with two deeper lying midfielders.

Apart from some brief flirtations from Frank Farina and Ange Postecoglou at times with a 4-4-2 shape, Brisbane have almost exclusively played a 4-3-3 shape with a midfield trio where three central midfielders have played alongside one another which has allowed for them to control the possession in the vast majority of games. There has however been a few instances where that 4-3-3 has morphed into a 4-2-3-1 shape to accommodate the likes of Charlie Miller and Mitch Nichols in years past.

Brett Holman
The signing of Holman following a protracted period of negotiations including the rejection of the former Socceroo as a marquee player outside of the salary cap but adds an extra element to the 2016-17 side from an attacking standpoint.

Holman arrives back in Australia following a 14 year overseas career including stops in Netherlands where he won the title with AZ Alkmaar and one season in the English Premier League with Aston Villa. More recently Holman has been in the United Arab Emirates with Al Nasr before spending last season with Emirates Club.

As a player Holman brings the ability to link up all of Brisbane’s patterns going forward and looms as a vital cog between the midfield duo of McKay and Kristensen, and the attacking trio around him of Maclaren, Borrello and either Broich or Oar.

We’ve not seen a lot of Holman in the Pre-Season with just the one 45 minute cameo in the first half against the NPL Queensland u-23 select side last season, a game in which he looked a little rusty but showed the potential he has to bring to the side this season. It could take a few weeks for Holman to reach peak fitness, but once he gets there the former Socceroo figures to play a big part in the side.

Dimitri Petratos
While Brisbane didn’t play with a traditional no.10 last season, it was Petratos who filled that role in the midfield three albeit more on the right hand side as opposed to centrally. The big question over Petratos is his ability to perform at his best consistently over the course of an entire season, with his performances often varying over the season.

Last season ended well for Petratos who was an integral part of the side with impressive performances towards the back end of the season including in the finals series. Seven goals last season was a career best for Dimi and rates amongst the leagues best, however with just 15% of his shots being on target there’s room for improvement which dates back to the consistency issue.

This season will be an interesting one for Petratos with much more competition for places in the side in his positions. With new signing Brett Holman likely to play a key role in that central attacking midfield position, Petratos could be shifted to either the right hand side where Brandon Borrello is an option or to a super sub role similar to that which Henrique occupied in previous seasons.

In the pre-season Dimi has played in both the central role and on the right hand side although it’s worth noting that with Holman available in Saturday’s game with the NPL u-23 select side, Petratos started out on the right wing before switching more central in the second half following Holman’s withdrawal at half-time.

Tommy Oar
In the FFA Cup loss to Perth, Aloisi opted to move Oar central when chasing the game in the second half and while the team looked better with Oar playing centrally it wasn’t enough to turn the game back in Brisbane’s favour. This was however before Brett Holman was even rumoured as a signing for Brisbane so the addition of the former Socceroo could limit Tommy’s potential playing time in a central role this season.  I’ll talk more about Tommy in previews later in the week when we cover his more natural left wing role.

Thomas Broich
Broich has been deployed centrally in the past with mixed results and is a fourth option Aloisi could call upon. Thomas’ best work centrally however has been as a ‘false 9’ so it’s likely that Broich will be limited to the left wing role where he’s been a fixture since joining the Roar in 2010.

It’s possible that Broich could see some game time in the central attacking-midfield role, although it’s far more likely that following the signing of Holman that he will be utilised on the left in competition with Tommy Oar.

Youth
In terms of youth options, there’s so clear standout in this role due to the fact the Young Roar side played mostly with one holder and two men ahead of him. Should they be needed the likes of Nathan Konstandopoulos and Jesse Daley could play in that role –and have at times in pre-season-, while an outsider in the frame would be first year scholar Nicholas Panetta who showed glimpses of promise but is still likely a year away from being in the running. Given the importance of the role however it’s unlikely that any of the clubs youth will be deployed in this role.

The arrival of Holman figures to add some extra quality and experience to a midfield group which also stacked with those attributes, although the question of a starting midfield consisting of two 33 year olds and a  32 year old  being two old is a valid one. Holman and McKay however are noted for their energy and work-rate so it’s not quite as bad as it seems.

The change to a 4-2-3-1 will be an interesting one to watch over the course of the season with the likelihood of there being more rigid roles for the midfield trio as opposed to the more fluid roles we’ve seen in years past. However this role plays out, and the influence that Holman has on the team this season will likely go a long way to deciding the 2016-17 teams fate.


2016-17 Season Preview- Central Midfielders

With the new season set to get underway in just 11 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, the left- backs and central defenders, today we’ll look at the central midfielders.

If pre-season is any indication, it’s the midfield shape which could be set for the biggest shake up heading into 2016-17, with the transition into two deeper lying midfielders behind a genuine no.10. We’ll cover the attacking midfield role tomorrow but here’s the list of options who could play in the deeper lying roles, a group of players who each bring something different to the table.

Matt McKay
The club captain had a solid year last time around, remaining in the upper echelon of midfielders in the league with his influence going forward.

Last season McKay ranked amongst the best midfielders in terms of chances created with 37, a number which ranks him amongst the best midfielders in the competition and the signs from pre-season are that it should be more of the same this year.

While McKay remains an integral part of the Brisbane side, his place in the National Team appears to have slipped form his grasp, with Ange Postecoglou preferring different midfield options in recent months.

This pre-season has been typical Matt McKay with energetic performances in the trial games and the FFA Cup loss to Perth, and appears set for a big season in the heart of midfield.

Thomas Kristensen
Coming into the midfield as a replacement for the departed Spaniard Corona, Kristensen will be looking to plug a big hole in the heart of the Brisbane engine room.

Kristensen brings different qualities to those of his predecessor, with the Dane’s height bringing a dimension to Brisbane’s midfield that has been missed since Erik Paartalu’s departure in January 2013.

As a player it’s tough to gauge Kristensen as a player given the only time I’ve seen him play was in the game against the BPL Select side last month, a game where he played as a central midfielder alongside Matt McKay.  On the night, Kristensen was on the right side of the midfield duo, with one midfielder pressing forward in defence while the other sat.

Since arriving in Brisbane the Roar have eased Kristensen in with the midfielder only making a handful of appearances in pre-season, and he was a late withdrawal from the weekends clash with the NPL Select side.

Jacob Pepper
A recent addition in Brisbane over the off-season, Pepper arrives at his third A-League club following stints at Newcastle and Western Sydney.

Last season Pepper made 11 appearances for the Wanderers, helping them to a second placed finish and a Grand Final defeat.

While Pepper is nominally a central midfielder by trade and his primary role on the 2016-17 side is to act as back-up to Thomas Kristensen, he could also fill a duel role as a utility similarly to that of Diogo Ferreira in 2013-14.

Pepper might not be the most talented player in the squad, he will however fill an important role in the side over the course of the season in multiple positions of the team.

Nathan Konstandopoulos
Arriving from Adelaide just prior to the start of the 2016 NPL Queensland campaign, Konstandopoulos earned a chance with the first team with solid performances over the first half of 2016.

After continuing to impress in the pre-season Nathan made his full debut off the bench in the August FFA Cup loss to Perth Glory, and has featured in most of Brisbane’s pre-season fixtures.

Looking ahead to the season it’s likely that Konstandopoulos will start the season as a depth option for John Aloisi, possibly starting the season on the bench but most likely just on the fringes of the matchday squad.

Joe Caletti
A young midfielder signed in January by John Aloisi from the FFA Centre of Excellence in January and has been rarely sighted in Brisbane colours since arriving, making his first appearance with the senior side in yesterdays win over the NPL select side.

This season it’s likely that Caletti will find himself more involved in the Young Roar set-up while also being involved in junior National Teams, but an A-League debut still seems to be a while off.

Jesse Daley
The Young Roar captain is another option who could add depth to the 2016-17 side following a strong season in the NPL Queensland. The midfielder fulfilled a box to box in the youth side this season, but in his sole first team appearance this pre-season he played in an attacking midfield role showing his versatility. It’s most likely that Daley will be restricted to the National Youth League this campaign but it does appear he is on John Aloisi’ radar.

Brisbane’s midfield seems to be the most balanced with a good mix of experienced and young options and a blend of attacking and defensive minded players. The starting duo of McKay and Kristensen looks to be a strong combination, although that could well depend on the availability of Kristensen whose been eased through pre-season. The depth in the midfield is also arguably stronger in this position than anywhere else with the likes of Pepper and Konstandopoulos the first to get a chance


Roar add Konstandopoulos as Scholarship player

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Brisbane Roar have this afternoon confirmed the signing of midfielder Nathan Konstandopoulos as a Scholarship player for the upcoming season.

Konstandopoulos, 20, arrived in Brisbane after a stint with his hometown club Adelaide United back in March as a surprise addition to the Young Roar’s squad for the 2016 NPL Queensland campaign.

The young midfielder made 10 appearances across the winter competition, where his performances did enough to convince John Aloisi to include him in the extended first team squad when the pre-season got underway.

Konstandopoulos also made his club debut off the bench in last months FFA Cup Round of 32 loss to Perth Glory, putting in a solid performance late in the game.

The addition of Konstandopoulos gives Brisbane a likely full compliment of midfielders, joining Matt McKay, Thomas Kristensen, Brett Holman, Jacob Pepper, Dimitri Petratos and fellow scholarship contract holder Joe Caletti in the Brisbane engine room.

The Scholarship contract is an expansion to the previous ‘Full-Time Youth’ contract where clubs could have three youth team players as part of the extended squad.

Under the new scholarship program allows teams to have up to six contracted youth players. As things stand Brisbane have filled two of the six positions with Konstandopoulos joining Joe Caletti on one of the deals.

The signing doesn’t affect the current breakdown of the squad for the upcoming season, with 21 first team contracted players in addition to the two scholarship contract holders.

Brisbane Roar squad as at 13/09/2016
Goalkeepers– Michael Theo, Jamie Young.

Defenders– Luke DeVere, Daniel Bowles, Jade North, Kye Rowles, Corey Brown, Connor O’Toole, Jack Hingert.

Midfielder– Thomas Broich, Thomas Kristensen, Tommy Oar, Matt McKay, Jacob Pepper, Dimitri Petratos, Brett Holman, Shannon Brady, Joe Caletti*, Nathan Konstandopoulos*.

Forwards– Jamie Maclaren, Joey Katebian, Brandon Borrello, Nicholas D’Agostino.

*Denotes Scholarship contract holders.


Seven Roar youngsters to join pre-season

Seven of Brisbane’s best young players will take part in pre-season when it kicks off next month as a reward for stellar form in the opening half of the 2016 NPL Queensland season. Joe Caletti, Joseph Champness, Nicholas D’Agostino, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Connor O’Toole, Jayden Prasad and Mark Rodic.

Caletti, 17, joined Brisbane in January as an understudy for Spanish midfielder Corona, although he’s been used sparingly since his arrival with just the three games in the NPL so far this season with his passing range suggesting he has plenty to offer moving forward.

Champness has been one of the best players in the youth side this season since his transfer from Moreton Bay United, with his dynamic performances on the left side of the front three leading to four goals in twelve games so far this season.

D’Agostino has been the standout player of this years youth side, with his goalscoring exploits amongst the best in the NPL. After making his first team debut against Perth in round 5 last season, has scored 10 goals in 11 games so far this season and figures to play a part in the A-League squad this upcoming season.

Konstandopoulos, 19, joined the Brisbane youth setup in March for this seasons NPL campaign where he’s made 10 appearances this season in the midfield. Prior to his time here in Brisbane, Nathan spent time with his hometown side Adelaide United, where he made two appearances back in the 2013-14 season, including one against Brisbane where the Reds scored a late winner.

O’Toole, 19, has made five appearances for the Young Roar at left full-back this season in the NPL following his signing with the first team squad after arriving for a trial period following stints with Adelaide’s youth side and Japanese Football Academy Seiritsu. Given his first team contract which kicks in for the next A-League season, it was a given that he would be apart of the pre-season program.

Prasad, another new signing this season after transferring from Redlands, has been a solid contributor in the attacking third in his first season with the Roar, with four goals in eleven games so far despite spending equal amount of time in both in the starting side and on the bench.

Finally, Rodic, who arrived midway through the last pre-season as a trialist, has been a solid if unspectular member of the backline, with twelve appearances in the NPL this term along with a full season in the National Youth League.

Of the seven players, Champness and D’Agostino have been the best performing players so far this season in the NPL of those selected, however the brief glimpses we’ve seen of Caletti have indicated he has the potential to be a very solid #6.

As always with things like this there are players who are unlucky to be left out, and in this case defender Cameron Crestani and midfielder Jesse Daley are those players in this case. Crestani has been the best defender in the side, while skipper Daley is an all action midfielder whose put in a string of impressive performances this season.

With the seven players mentioned above switching their focus towards the first team’s pre-season space has opened up in the youth squad, with Western Pride midfielder Hayden McHenery joining the side.

While a lot will be made of this, im not sure how much it really means for Brisbane’s 2016-17 A-League squad. This time last season, four players- Luke Pavlou, Mitchell Hore, Abrahim Yango and D’Agostino- were given a similar opportunity, however two of those departed at the conclusion of the pre-season while Hore moved on after the NYL campaign.

Regardless of that however, it’s always promising to see so many good young players get their chance in the pre-season and most likely the FFA Cup campaign which kicks off in August.