Round 18 of the A-League sees Brisbane return to Suncorp Stadium to take on the bottom placed but improving Central Coast Mariners side on Saturday evening.
After a disappointing three weeks, Brisbane bounced back into form on Saturday with a convincing 3-1 win over Sydney FC. Two goals from star striker Jamie Maclaren and a third from captain Matt McKay were enough to send the Roar back into the top two and end a three game winless run.
The game, playEd in torrential rain for the first 45, emphasised the importance of Olyroos trio James Donachie, Brandon Borrello and Jamie Maclaren to the side. Donachie, who made his first start for the side since mid-August in the FFA Cup was commanding in shoring up a backline which had conceded eight goals in the previous two weeks.
Upfront, Maclaren emphasised his importance by scoring Brisbane’s first goal in open play for some 308 minutes when he opened the scoring on Saturday night, a run which was only punctuated by a penalty last week from Henrique and runs back to when he was substituted against Perth Glory in round 13.
Last week Central Coast defended gallantly for the first half away to Wellington Phoenix, before the injection of marquee Spaniard Luis Garcia early in the second half turned the game in the visitors favour with a goal and an assist just minutes after entering the field of play. The win was just Central Coast’s third of a turbulent campaign but should see them travel north in a confident mood.
These two sides have met twice already this season, with Brisbane coming out victorious on both occasion. In round two at Suncorp a Brandon Borrello brace was enough to secure the points for the Roar, while in round eleven a late goal from substitute Dimitri Petratos gave the Roar the points in Gosford. Both games have been close however, so despite this being a 2nd v 10th on the ladder clash, it should be interesting. For Brisbane however, if they have ambitions on a top two finish, it’s a must win.
1) Michael Theo, 3) Shane Stefanutto, 5) Corey Brown, 7) Corona, 8) Steven Lustica, 9) Jamie Maclaren, 10) Henrique, 13) Jade North, 14) Daniel Bowles, 15) James Donachie, 16) Devante Clut, 17) Matt McKay, 18) Javier Hervas, 19) Jack Hingert, 21) Jamie Young, 22) Thomas Broich, 23) Dmitri Petratos, 28) Brandon Borrello.
*Two to be omitted.
Central Coast Mariners
1) Paul Izzo, 2) Storm Roux, 3) Jose Rose, 4) Jacob Poscoliero, 5) Harry Ascroft, 6) Mitch Austin, 7) Fabio Ferreira, 8) Nick Montgomery, 10) Luis Garcia, 13) Alistair Bray, 15) Brad McDonald, 16) Liam Rose, 17) Francesco Stella, 19) Josh Bingham, 21) Michael Neill, 22) Jake McGing, 23) Tomislav Uskok, 28) Matthew Fletcher.
Brisbane Roar- Theo, Hingert, North, Donachie, Stefanutto, Corona, McKay, Petratos, Borrello, Broich, Maclaren.
Substitutes- Young, Bowles, Hervas, Lustica, Henrique.
Omitted- Brown, Clut.
John Aloisi is unlikely to make major changes to his side given the bounce back to form last week away to Sydney FC, but he may still make the one change at left back. Shane Stefanutto -whose missed the last two games due to a suspension and a slight injury- is in line for a recall in the place of Corey Brown. Outside of that, it looks to be a settled side at the moment for Brisbane.
Central Coast Mariners- Izzo, Roux, Poscoliero, McGing, J. Rose, Montgomery, L. Rose, Stella, Ferreira, Austin, Bingham.
Substitutes- Bray, Ascroft, Neill, Garcia, Fletcher.
Omitted- Uskok, McDonald.
On the back of just a third win of the season last week, Tony Walmsley will be boosted by the return of suspended duo Harry Ascroft and club captain Nick Montgomery. While Ascroft may have to wait for a chance via the substitutes bench, Montgomery is likely to be called into duty to try and break up one of the league’s more mobile midfields. Goalkeeper Alistair Bray is also fit again, but after a solid showing last week from Paul Izzo, it’s unlikely there will be a change.
After last week’s cameo off the bench, Walmsley will no doubt be tempted to insert marquee man Luis Garcia from the start, it’s more likely however that the Spaniard will play a similar role to that of last week and his debut against the Wanderers.
Central Coast: WLLDW