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.
With the new season set to get underway in just 7 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, central midfielders, attacking midfielders and right wingers, today we’ll look at the left wingers.
If there’s one outfield position that looms as the selection battle to watch over the course of the season it’s on the left hand side of midfield with both Tommy Oar and Thomas Broich having strong claims on the role. Both will likely get their chance over the course of the season and the decision on who starts could well come down to a tactical choice between two different types of wingers.
After playing just a bit part role following his arrival in January, this season figures to see the fringe Socceroo re-establish himself as an important member of the first team squad.
Last season was a disrupted one for Tommy who departed English side Ipswich Town just months after signing for the Championship side, before going on to make just the six appearances late in the season with the Roar.
As a player Oar brings a different style to the left hand side for the Roar, with the 25 year old being a more direct and pacy proposition for defences as opposed to Broich who uses his quick feet to create chances for his teammates. As a duo it could prove to be an effective tandem with coming off the substitutes bench midway through the second half to offer fresh legs and create a different problem should Brisbane be chasing the game.
This year is an important one for Oar, who will be desperate to regain his place in the National Team set-up ahead of next years’ Confederations Cup. In the pre-season Oar has been a regular in the sides before a recent injury which has kept him out of the previous two matches, and perhaps tellingly in the FFA Cup Round of 32 loss to Perth it was Oar who started on the left hand side ahead of Broich.
Having been considered an automatic started since arriving in 2010, this could be the year that Thomas Broich transitions from the starting line-up to a substitutes role.
As mentioned in the above discussion around Tommy Oar, playing time and starting appearances could come down to tactical decisions as much as how either player performs.
Despite all of that however, Thomas is still amongst the most talented players in the league and even with diminished playing time he still figures to have a big impact on the outcome of Brisbane’s 2016-17 season.
This pre-season has seen Thomas feature regularly in the side, although perhaps in a sign of things to come he was dropped to the substitutes bench for the FFA Cup loss to Perth. With his contract up at the end of this season and the recent public comments about winding down, this could be the last season we see Thomas in orange.
While Oar and Broich are likely to command the majority if not all of the playing time on the left, youngster Joseph Champness is another promising young winger waiting in the wings of the clubs youth ranks.
Like Prasad on the right Champness arrived in the Young Roar squad at this time last season following a successful season with Moreton Bay United, and has been a regular in the National Youth League and NPL Queensland campaigns.
Champness made 14 appearances in the NPL this past season, scoring four times playing mostly from the left hand side but he has shown the versatility to play on the right at times.
Over the course of the pre-season, Champness has been in and around the first team squad, appearing in a couple of games but was an unused substitute in the FFA Cup lost to Perth. Champness has also been part of the Young Socceroos squad, scoring the winner in the AFF u-19 Championships and was today named in the squad for the AFC u-19 Championships which double as the qualifiers for next years’ u-20 World Cup in South Korea.
The left wing position figures to be fascinating with an interesting one with two outstanding options at John Aloisi’ disposal, and it’s a luxury that the other nine managers in the league would love to have. With Oar missing a couple of games with injury I wouldn’t be surprised if Broich is preferred in round one, but both will feature prominently.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll take a look back at the season that was, the success stories, the disappointments and take a brief look to what may lie ahead for next season. Previously we’ve looked at the season as a whole and the players who were regulars, today we’ll look at a bunch of younger players who rose to prominence in 2015-16.
Games– 0 (2)
Starting with the young winger, who found himself with limited playing time this season at all levels. Brady, 19, and in his first season as a professional footballer has been starved of playing time this season with just the two substitute appearances in the first team -21 total minutes- and just a handful of youth team games. That however goes to a greater point in the apparent breakdown of youth development, something I’ll get to in future weeks.
Looking ahead to next season it’s tough to see how things improve for the natural wide player, with the likes of Thomas Broich, Brandon Borrello and Tommy Oar all established in the matchday squad. The youngster has plenty of potential but he needs game time in some form if he is to realise that in the coming years.
It’s easy to forget, but Luke Brattan did play an –albeit small- part in Brisbane’s 2015-16 campaign, as he played the full 90 minutes in Brisbane’s FFA Cup Round of 32 loss against Western Sydney back in August.
That game would prove to be the home-grown midfielders 112th and final for the Roar, as he exercised his right to void his contract due to the off-field financial dramas which saw player payments fall behind schedule. At the time it appeared that Brattan’s career was on the up, with a National Team call-up resulting in a shock transfer to Premier League side Manchester City. Things didn’t pan out however and Brattan spent the year either training with City’s u-21 side or out on loan at second division side Bolton Wanderers, and as a result he’s fallen down the Socceroos pecking order.
Games– 0 (9)
After a breakout season which saw Devante breakthrough as a regular player in the first team, including scoring some key goals late in the season, the 2015-16 season shaped up as a big one for the 20 year old attacking midfielder. Things didn’t pan out that way however, with Clut making just the nine substitute appearances off the bench of 93 minutes of game-time which just isn’t enough for a young player looking to develop his game.
The other big problem for Devante was that because of the new truncated NYL format, his opportunities were limited in that competition as well, with the midfielder playing in only half of the clubs 10 youth games for the season due to his bench duties in the first team.
Due to that lack of first team action, Devante decided to end his two and a half season stint in Brisbane at the conclusion of his contract, opting instead to sign a two year deal with Newcastle Jets. Devante departs Brisbane having scored four goals in 21 appearances.
After some solid form in the 2015 NPL Queensland campaign, young striker Nick D’Agostino was given his debut in the round six clash at home to Perth Glory. While the youngster didn’t have any real impact on his starting debut –one shot-, he didn’t look out of place and did enough to suggest with more experience he has something to offer.
Back in the youth team he’s excelled in the past year, with a strong National Youth League campaign being followed up in the current NPL campaign, where he ranks amongst the league’s leading strikers with 10 goals to his name at the halfway mark. With a lack of striking options in the squad currently beyond Jamie Maclaren, D’Agostino figures to be somewhere in the plans for 2016-17, what part he ends up playing is likely to be determined on the recruitment
2016-17 was a write off for the central defender, who made just two appearances in the National Youth League before further injury setbacks brought an early end to his season. The season for DeVere began with a long term quad injury sustained in the post-season game with Villarreal which caused him to miss the first 10 games of the A-League season.
Due to that, DeVere returned to action via the clubs NYL side making two appearances before he was shut down and limited to training duty only, despite the first teams defensive struggles over the second part of the season.
The big question for next season is just what will DeVere be able to bring to the side. At his best, Luke is one of the league’s best defenders and as evidenced by his March 2015 call-up, a fringe National team member. All of the injuries however have to have had a big impact on him as a player however, and it could take time for Luke to return to that level of play. John Aloisi will no doubt be hoping for the best with limited experience in the centre of defence outside of Jade North.
Games– 7 (17)
After ending the previous season with a serious knee injury, Henrique made his return to action in the round five clash with Perth, scoring an emotional winner in what would become one of the best moments of the season.
All up it was another typical Henrique season, where the Brazilian provided a genuine spark off the bench when it was needed with 8 goals and 3 assists created this season. While Henrique doesn’t enjoy the super sub tag, it’s a role that he’s filled exceptionally for the Roar over the last few seasons and this season was no exception with all of his goals coming off the bench helping win 17 points for Brisbane this past season.
After reports first emerged late in the season of a move to South-East Asia to Thailand, Henrique ultimately departed Brisbane to take up a contract in Malaysia with second division side Negri Sembilan.
Games – 2 (15)
Goals – 0
After arriving in the week of the season opener against Western Sydney, Javi spent the first six weeks of the new season building up fitness having been without a club over the pre-season, eventually making his debut off the bench in round 6 against Perth.
It was then that Hervas made his most memorable contribution of his time here in Brisbane, with an assist for Henrique with his first touch of the game just seconds after coming on. That lead to some high hopes as Javi continued to build fitness, but it wasn’t until the round 14 trip to Melbourne that he would make his first start.
In that game, Hervas made some early mistakes which resulted in an early lead in Victory’s big win. Following another sub par starting performances the next week against Adelaide, Hervas returned to the bench the next week, and following the late arrival of Tommy Oar, he finished the season outside the matchday squad. Following the end of the season, Javi returned to Europe, signing a deal with Bosnian side FK Zeljeznicar.
Games– 0 (1)
Having originally departed Brisbane at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season after his contract expired, George returned to Brisbane on an injury replacement contract as cover for Henrique to start the season and despite being in the squad through the early weeks of the season he made just the one appearance, a last minute time wasting substitute against Western Sydney in the opening round.
Once Henrique returned from injury ahead of the round six clash with Perth Glory, Lambadaridis departed Brisbane for a second time and is now playing back in Victoria with Green Gully.
Games– 6 (16)
While being a regular in the matchday squad once again this season, 2015-16 was another season where Lustica was cast in the role of impact sub off the bench, with 16 of his 22 appearances coming via the substitutes bench.
In that role, Lustica was once again solid, bringing extra energy to the midfield late in games to either maintain the result of help chase the game – most notably in the round 10 clash with Wellington-. Ultimately, the lack of regular starting time lead to Steven deciding to depart Brisbane for a second time, opting to take up a one year contract with Western Sydney.
Games– 2 (4)
The 2015-16 season began in the English Championship with Ipswich Town for Tommy after a free transfer move from FC Utrecht in the European summer, however things didn’t work out in the UK with Oar making just nine appearances before agreeing to a mutual termination late in the January transfer window.
After rumours of a move to China and the Middle East, Tommy made a somewhat surprising return to Brisbane on a two and a half year deal as the A-League moved towards the business end of the season.
After a couple of weeks to regain some fitness following period of not playing, Oar made his return to the domestic game in the round 24 away game to Melbourne City. In just a handful of appearances late in the season, Tommy looked lively but failed to have the impact desired on the right hand side in place of Brandon Borrello.
Going forward, it will be interesting to see where Tommy plays in the front third, with John Aloisi having some solid options to choose from in the wide areas. Which two of Borrello, Oar and Broich are the starters, and which side they start on, but that looms as one of the positions to watch when the pre-season campaign begins.
Due to the form this season of Jack Hingert, Polenz found himself on the outer this season with just the one appearance against Wellington in round three. Brisbane had a reshuffled defence that week due to injuries and international call-ups, and when Shane Stefanutto returned the next week, Polenz found himself out of the side once again.
For the rest of the season, the closest Jerome would get to first team action was a handful of unused substitute appearances, with his only game time coming in a handful of National Youth League appearances.
Going forward, it’s hard to see where Polenz fits into the plans for 2016-17 and beyond due to the emergence of Jack Hingert as a regular in the starting line-up, opportunities figure to be limited once again. With his contract up at the conclusion of next season, it will be interesting to see what happens.
Jean Carlos Solórzano
Games– 2 (5)
Since returning to Brisbane in January 2014, the one constant which has inhibited Solórzano and last season was no different. A combination of hamstring, foot and thigh injuries saw him miss 17 games due to the trio of injuries, all of which limited him to just the seven appearances in 2015-16.
Following the season, Jean Carlos announced his departure from Brisbane after 62 appearances -18 goals- joining Brisbane Premier League side Rochedale Rovers for the rest of the season to gain some match sharpness in the hopes of attracting a deal elsewhere in the league.
Clean Sheets– 1
After missing almost the entire 2014-15 season due to injury, the new season continued on in the same vein for Theo, who missed eight games due to his ongoing quad injury. After a pair of games in the Youth League to gain some match sharpness, Theo returned to the first team in the round 16 loss at home to Adelaide.
In the nine games in which Theo played, Brisbane won just the three, conceding 18 goals –including a 4 game stretch with 13 goals conceded- with just the clean sheet. Following a penalty conceded against Western Sydney in round 22, Theo was dropped in favour of Jamie Young for the next weeks clash with Melbourne, and remained on the outer for the remainder of the season.
Going forward, it will be interesting to see if Theo is able to regain his place in goals for Brisbane over the course of the pre-season. With his contract up at the end of the season, and with Jamie Young having just re-signed for two years, it will be interesting to see who John Aloisi opts to go with. Given the improvements this season from Jamie Young, it could well come down to the form and fitness of the current #1.
Games– 0 (1)
Another player who played a minimal part in the 2015-16 season, Yango came off the bench for a late cameo in the FFA Cup Round of 32 loss to Western Sydney back in August. That was the third and final appearance for Yango here in Brisbane, with the young forward released following the conclusion of the 2015 NPL Queensland season. Following his departure from the Roar, Abrahim made the move to NPL Victoria joining Avondale for the 2016 season.
Brisbane Roar have received a huge boost in the lead up to the finals with the return of winger Tommy Oar on a two and a half year deal.
The deal will keep the 24 year old here in Brisbane until the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
In his first spell with the Roar, Oar made 23 appearances for Brisbane chipping in with two goals, primarily during the 2009-10 season where Brisbane missed the finals under Ange Postecoglou.
At the end of that season Oar, and fellow teammates Adam Sarota and Michael Zullo headed for Eredivise club FC Utrecht. Since then Sarota has returned to the Roar on a loan deal in 2014-15, while Zullo has returned to the A-League with Adelaide and Melbourne City.
Oar meanwhile excelled in Europe, playing out his five year contract with Utrecht where he became a key part in the Dutch side scoring 14 goals in 105 matches. Over that time Oar reportedly attracted the interest of some top European clubs, including Benfica and Ajax but a move failed to materialise so he signed a contract with English Championship side Ipswich Town.
After struggling for game time in England, Oar was released in January, just six months into his contract with the winger sighting home sickness.
The signing is a big one for Aloisi, but it will be interesting to see where he fits into this Roar side. Having Borrello, Broich, Maclaren, Henrique, Oar and Solórzano –if he returns by seasons end- for the front third is a strong mix.
The signing of Oar takes Brisbane’s 2016-17 squad to 14 players, with 8 players out of contract at seasons end.
Amongst those out of contract are attackers Jean Carlos Solórzano and Henrique, who was recently linked to Thai Premier League side Suphanburi. Others out of contract include North, Donachie, Stefanutto, Hervas, Clut and Lustica.
Brisbane Roar squad for 2016-17 as at 10/02/2016
Goalkeepers: Michael Theo, Jamie Young.
Defenders: Corey Brown, Luke DeVere, Jack Hingert, Jerome Polenz (fgn).
Midfielders: Thomas Broich (fgn) (marquee), Joe Caletti (FT NYL), Corona (fgn), Matt McKay (marquee), Tommy Oar, Dimitri Petratos.
Forwards: Shannon Brady, Brandon Borrello, Jamie Maclaren.
In other news today Brisbane Roar and the AFL club Brisbane Lions have announced a collaboration that will allow members of both fans access to one game of the other code.
5000 Brisbane Lions members will be able to secure a ticket to the clash against Melbourne Victory on Saturday week, while 5000 Roar members will be able to attend the match against Collingwood on May 14.
Matt McKay made another start in Rangers 0-0 home draw with St. Johnstone. He aparently put in a number of good crosses before being subbed after 64 minutes.
Tommy Oar started and Michael Zullo came on for him as FC Utrecht took on Den Haag. Not sure if they won or not, but they do have a new coach. Interesting times for the trio.
Robbie Kruse failed to make the squad as Fortuna Dusseldorf drew 0-0 with Union Berlin.