Crestani joins Western Pride


(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


2017 NPL Queensland Season Preview


After a brief break following the end of the 2016-17 National Youth League season, Brisbane begin their 2017 NPL Queensland season as the winter competition gets underway.

In the recently concluded NYL, Brisbane put in some strong performances but once again fell just short of qualifying for the Grand Final from Conference A, finishing two points behind eventual champions Melbourne City.

As mentioned over the last couple of weeks, a number players in the Young Roar set-up have moved on, leaving holes in the squad that have to be filled. Since the end of the National Youth League the likes of goalkeeper Andre Jannese, defender Hayden McHenery, midfielders Henry Hore, Danny Kim, Joseph Champness and Jayden Prasad, plus attacker Joe Duckworth.

Add in those who left at the end of the 2016 NPL Queensland campaign and it figures to be a very different squad in 2017. The only confirmed addition to the fold is Moreton Bay winger Finn Beakhurst, with the rest likely to be made up of gradates from the QAS side.

Working out who is in the squad is an interesting one due to both the recent transfers of players out of the system and the current A-League injury crisis which will see a bunch of players who were likely to play in the NPL not available as they compete for playing time in the A-League.

That means that for the first part of the NPL season the likes of goalkeeper Tomislav Bilic, defenders Cameron Crestani, Connor O’Toole, Dane Ingham and Kye Rowles, midfielders Joe Caletti and Nathan Konstandopoulos, plus attackers Nicholas D’Agostino and Shannon Brady are unlikely to feature in the early rounds.

With that in mind the NPL side in the early rounds is likely to be made up with players who were on the fringes over the summer NYL competition. That means the likes of Macklin Frecke, Adam Sawyer, Aaron Reardon, Daniel Driver, Daniel Leck, Mark Rodic and Nicholas Panetta, in addition to new signing Finn Beakhurst should get regular football in the next few weeks.

As always for the Young Roar the expectations are more about player development and putting in solid performances rather than aiming for a spot in the finals places. For those players who are entering their second season in the set-up it’s a big few months as they try and catch the eye of John Aloisi and his coaching staff, with a view to being involved in the A-League sides pre-season later on in the year.

Additional teams
In addition to the Young Roar playing in the senior NPL Queensland competition, Brisbane will once again be fielding a side in the u-18’s competition which is essentially the QAS/NTC program.

This season however there will be a third Brisbane Roar side in the NPL competitions, with an u-20’s side set to be fielded in that competition for the first time which will open up further opportunities for younger players to enter the Brisbane youth system.

All three of these side are set to play the 2017 season at A.J. Kelly Park in Redcliffe, with the clubs new training base still in progress. It’s highly likely that these teams will eventually play the majority of their home games at the new training base, but for 2017 they’ll be playing up on the Peninsula.

The competition
Switching focus to the rest of the competition and the favourites figure to be perennial contenders Brisbane Strikers, who will be looking to win their first Championship in the NPL era of the state league.

Their biggest challenge is likely to come from Cairns based FNQ Heat, who ran them close in the Premiership race last season, while Olympic FC could be an outsider to keep an eye on given their strong recruitment over the summer under new boss Terry Kirkham. Gold Coast City and Western Pride, who both have a range of talented young players also figure to have good seasons.

Last seasons Champions Redlands have seen the majority of their squad move on to both rival clubs in the NPL Queensland, and to clubs in the stronger NPL Victoria and could find it tough to defend their title. Captain Michael McGowan, midfielder Paul O’Brien and goalkeeper Brendan White figure to be big losses for Red Devils.

Round 1 fixtures
Olympic FC v Brisbane Roar- Saturday 6.00pm at Goodwin Park, Yeronga.
Moreton Bay v Northern Fury- Saturday 6.00pm at Wolter Park, Albany Creek.
FNQ Heat v Gold Coast City- Saturday 6.30 pm at Barlow Park, Cairns.
Brisbane City v SWQ Thunder- Saturday 6.30pm at Spencer Park, Newmarket.
Western Pride v Brisbane Strikers- Sat 7.00pm at Briggs Road Complex, Ipswich.
Sunshine Coast v Redlands- Sunday 2.00pm at Sunshine Coast Stadium, Kawana.


Winger joins Young Roar set-up


New Young Roar winger Finn Beakhurst

Moreton Bay United winger Finn Beakhurst will join the Young Roar set-up ahead of the 2017 NPL Queensland campaign.

Beakhurst, 18, made his debut for Moreton Bay back in 2015 in the NPL Finals Series before making 17 appearances in last years NPL competition.

The Young wingers performances were impressive enough to earn an invite to play the Roar in pre-season as part of the NPL Queensland u-23 all-stars.

Beakhurst joins the set-up at the same time that another former Moreton Bay winger departs the Roar, with Joseph Champness moving to Newcastle Jets on an 18 month scholarship deal.

Beakhurst now joins Jayden Prasad, Daniel Leck and fringe first team winger Shannon Brady in  competition for the two wide spots in James Robinsons starting line-up.

This is the first addition to the Young Roar squad ahead of the 2017 NPL Queensland season and there figures to be a couple of other changes to the squad before the new season gets underway.

Brisbane’s 2017 NPL Queensland campaign gets underway February 25th with a game against Olympic FC at Goodwin Park. Here’s the Young Roar fixture list for the upcoming season.


2017 NPL Queensland Draw

Late last week the draw for the 2017 NPL Queensland was released, with the Young Roar starting their season at Goodwin Park against Olympic FC on February 25th.

This seasons home fixtures have followed the NYL home games to the Peninsula, with A.J. Kelly Park in Redcliffe set to host the Young Roar’s 11 home games, the first of which is in round two against Western Pride.

Attention is always given to the derby fixtures against Brisbane Strikers, with the two fixtures scheduled for May 13th (home) and August 12th (away).

The season concludes on August 20th with a home clash against Redlands United.

After the Young Roar’s solid season in the National Youth League, the squad now turns it’s attention to the state competition, and for the squad it’s another chance to catch John Aloisi’ eye and push for a first team place.

There is also likely to be a couple of changes to the Young Roar squad between the seasons as is the norm, although the addition of a side in the u-20’s could change that.

Here’s the full schedule


Brisbane round out preparations with win

Brisbane Roar (3) Broich 24, Maclaren 35’, 83’.
NPL Queensland u-23 select (1) Duckworth 58’

Brisbane Roar have competed their pre-season campaign for 2016-17 with a 3-1 win over an NPL Queensland u-23 select side at QSAC on Saturday afternoon.

A brace from Jamie Maclaren and a third from Thomas Broich secured the win for Brisbane, with Western Pride’s impressive striker Joseph Duckworth getting a goal for the select side.

1) Thomas Broich 24’ (BRI)- Brisbane’s marquee man opened the scoring for Brisbane midway through the first half with a bullet header reminiscent of his effort in the semi-final win over Melbourne. The goal was one of a few efforts on goal from Broich on the day, with the left winger seemingly more intent on taking a strike on goal this season.

2) Jamie Maclaren 35’ (BRI)- New signing Brett Holman linked up with Petratos on the right hand side, before a cut back found Jamie Maclaren free in the box to finish from close range and double the lead.

3) Joseph Duckworth 58’ (NPL)- The young NPL select side got a goal for their hard work around the hour mark when Olympic midfielder Sam Cronin played in Western Pride attacker Joseph Duckworth who calmly beat the onrushing Young and slotted it in at the far post

4) Jamie Maclaren 83’ (BRI)- Maclaren got his second of the game late on to secure the win for Brisbane following a defensive mishap which left Sunshine Coast goalkeeper Sam Nickolls, with Maclaren left with the simple task of tapping into an open goal to get himself a brace.

Brisbane’s big off-season signing Brett Holman made his first appearance for the club since signing earlier this month, playing the opening half and showing glimpses of the talent which saw him have a successful European career.

The other big buy of the off-season however was a surprising no-show, with Thomas Kristensen a late scratching from the Roar with John Aloisi not prepared to take any risks ahead of round one.

As is now accustomed in these pre-season games, some of the clubs talented youngsters got their chance to show what they can do. Defensive duo Mark Rodic and Aaron Reardon both looked assured against the best of the NPL side and showed they could be useful if counted on, particularly Rodic on the right hand side where there’s a lack of options.

That lack of options saw Daniel Bowles deployed on the right with regular RB Jack Hingert shifted over to  the left in perhaps an eye towards testing out plan B if required this season, although neither Bowles nor Hingert looked overly comfortable in their new roles.

For the NPL Select side the standout was undoubtedly Duckworth, who goal aside worked hard and put the Brisbane backline under pressure for most of the game.

The likes of Sam Cronin and Finn Beakhurst also impressed on the day and they along with the full 18  man NPL select side now will be waiting to see if they can follow in Harrison Sawyer’s footprint and use the game to catapult themselves into the Young Roar squad.

Duckworth however could elude the clutches of the Roar with the young striker included in the NPL National pathway program where one lucky player will win a contract with Sydney FC for the upcoming National Youth League season.

Brisbane Roar XI- Young, Bowles, North, DeVere, Hingert, Pepper, McKay, Holman, Petratos, Broich, Maclaren.

Substitutions- Konstandopoulos for Holman (46’), Rodic for North (46’), Caletti for McKay (68’), Reardon for Bowles (70’).
Unused Substitutes- Theo, Kristensen, Katebian, D’Agostino.

Yellow Cards- Pepper 64’, 90+1’
Red Cards- Pepper 90+1’

NPL Queensland u-23 select- Vitikangas, Lyvidikos, Smith, K. Halliday, Brix, Pavlou, Cronin, Litfin, Hore, Duckworth, Beakhurst.

Substitutions- Nickolls for Vitikangas (46’), Capelo for Brix (62’),  Halliday for Beakhurst (62’), Pavlou for Walker (62’), Thomas-Remijo for Cronin (62’), Sibatuara for Hore (75’), Nucifora for Duckworth (80’)

Yellow Cards- Lyvidikos (76’)

Match Preview- Brisbane v NPL Queensland u-23 Select

For the Roar this is the teams last organised game ahead of the round one clash with Melbourne Victory, so expect a strong starting XI and high intensity as players fight for a spot in John Aloisi’ team.

Tommy Oar and Jamie Young missed the clash with Perth midweek due to injury and it’s unlikely either will be risked ahead of the season opener, while Brett Holman who also missed the clash with the Glory is set to make his first appearance since joining Brisbane earlier this month.

As this is the final game of the pre-season it’s likely that Aloisi will test his full strength side for atleast the first half before mass changes either at half time or throughout the second half in order to give the everyone a run out ahead of the first round.

Due to the Brisbane Strikers progression in the 2016 NPL National Finals Series, Jake Marshall, Fraser Hills and Luke Marsh have been withdrawn from the squad as the Strikers travel to Sydney for their semi-final clash with Sydney United.

In their place are Redlands duo Grant Brix and Kai Halliday, while the addition of Brisbane City midfielder Samuel Sibatuara takes the contingent of former Brisbane Roar players to seven.

Sibatuara will be joined by former Young Roar teammates Benjamin Lyvidikos, Luke Pavlou, Sam Cronin, Ben Litfin, Mitchell Hore, and Jaiden Walker in the 18 man squad.

Last year the likes of Jayden Prasad and Harrison Sawyer all earned a berth in Brisbane’s National Youth League side with strong showings in the clash so the opportunity is there for somebody to earn a spot in the youth side or perhaps even the first team with vacancies currently.

NPL Queensland u-23 Squad
1. Shane Vitikangas (Gold Coast City FC), 2. Benjamin Lyvidikos (Gold Coast City FC), 3. Kai Smith (Brisbane City FC), 4. Kai Halliday (Redlands United FC), 5. Grant Brix (Redlands United FC), 6. Luke Pavlou (Brisbane City FC), 7. Sam Cronin (Olympic FC), 8. Ben Litfin (Gold Coast City FC), 9. Joseph Duckworth (Western Pride FC), 10. Mitchell Hore (Brisbane City FC), 11. Finn Beakhurst (Moreton Bay United FC), 12. Scott Halliday (Brisbane City FC), 13. Matthew Capelo (Moreton Bay United FC), 14. Cameron Nucifora (FNQ FC Heat), 15. Jaiden Walker (Gold Coast City FC), 16. Samuel Sibatuara (Brisbane City FC), 17. Bonventure Thomas- Remijo (Western Pride FC), 18. Samuel Nickolls (Sunshine Coast FC).

Brisbane Roar v NPL Queensland Under 23
Saturday, September 24 | 3:00PM
Queensland Sport & Athletics Centre, Brisbane


NPL u-23 All-Stars game squad announced

The NPL Queensland u-23 All-Stars squad which will take on the Roar later this month was announced today and it brings together some of the most talented footballers in the state.

Gold Coast City and Brisbane City are the two most represented clubs in the 18 man provisional squad with four players a piece from each side, while Premiers Brisbane Strikers.

One of the big features of the squad is the presence of a number of players who’ve previously represented the Roar’s youth side with six players in the provisional squad.

Jaiden Walker, Sam Cronin, Benjamin Lyvidikos, Luke Pavlou, Mitchell Hore and Benjamin Litfin will all definitely get the chance to play their former side, while Samuel Sibatuara finds himself on the stand by list.

Perhaps surprisingly, just the one player who played in Saturday nights season finale –Cameron Nucifora of FNQ Heat- has been selected in the provisional side, while Kai Halliday from Redlands is one of the players on the stand by list.

That stand by list could come into play, depending on the result of Brisbane Strikers’ participation in the 2016 NPL Finals Series, which will see the Queensland Premiers host ACT Premier Canberra Olympic at Perry Park on September 17th.

A win in that game would then see the Strikers play in a Semi-Final the following week, a game which would clash with the All-Stars clash with the Roar.

Goalkeepers- Samuel Nickolls (Sunshine Coast FC), Shane Vitikangas (Gold Coast City) Defenders: Scott Halliday (Brisbane City), Jake Marshall (Brisbane Strikers), Kai Smith (Brisbane City), Jaiden Walker (Gold Coast City).

Midfielders- Finn Beakhurst (Moreton Bay United), Matthew Capelo (Moreton Bay United), Sam Cronin (Olympic), Benjamin Lyvidikos (Gold Coast City), Cameron Nucifora (FNQ Heat), Luke Pavlou (Brisbane City), Mitchell Hore (Brisbane City), Benjamin Litfin (Gold Coast City).

Forwards- Joseph Duckworth (Western Pride), Fraser Hills (Brisbane Strikers), Luke Marsh (Brisbane Strikers), Bonventure Thomas-Remijo (Western Pride).

Shadow Players- Kai Halliday (Redlands United), Mustafa Jafari (SWQ Thunder), Mory Kone (Gold Coast City), Samuel Langley (Redlands United), Samuel Sibatuara (Brisbane City), Martin Vazquez (Gold Coast City)

Brisbane Roar vs. NPL Queensland/23
Saturday September 24th. 3.00pm
Queensland Sports & Athletics Centre