Bleiberg baits Roar

Brisbane Roar have been handed extra motivation for their clash with Gold Coast United with opposition coach Miron Bleiberg baiting his former club with a few well-chosen statistics.

Brisbane Roar have been handed extra motivation for their clash with Gold Coast United with opposition coach Miron Bleiberg baiting his former club with a few well-chosen statistics.

The provocative, but always-entertaining, Bleiberg used a joint Roar and United press conference to first give Brisbane coach Ange Postecoglou some rare words of respect, before taking time to point out his ongoing place in the Roar's history books.

In an unprompted opening statement, Bleiberg spoke to media for a solid two and a half minutes on all aspects of the round one fixture, but perhaps the most surprising part of the monologue were the words of high-praise for Roar coach Ange Postecoglou.

"It's good to see Ange here, because he's a good coach and I have a lot of respect for him."

"He's articulate, he's intelligent, and he, like me, has a passion for Australian football and he believes in the future of Australian football, but on the top of it, I give him a lot of respect because he has spine."

"He came to the Roar and did what he thinks was the right thing to do," he said.

But lavish praise for an opposition outfit is not usually part of the repertoire for the outspoken Bleiberg and the one-time Roar coach soon returned to his comfort zone, finding a way to both bait the opposition and give himself a firm pat on the back.

When asked about his at-times acrimonious relationship with his former club, the Gold Coast boss was more than happy to remind how great an influence he has had on the short-history of the Roar,.

In an interesting statistic that took Bleiberg himself to point out, the inaugural Roar coach led Brisbane not only to their greatest home and away wins (5-0 over New Zealand and Newcastle, respectively), but is also the coach that masterminded their largest-ever defeat (5-1 to GCU last season).

Bleiberg called these 'the three main factors' he had noticed about the Roar, but it's unlikely that Ange Postecoglou would agree.

Brisbane will field an almost new-look side from the team that lost all three of their matches against United last season, and as a surprise-packet with a solid three-month pre-season behind them, the Roar are hoping to present Gold Coast with a much bigger challenge this time round.

Bleiberg said that he wished only for the best team to win, adding that he was sure it would be Gold Coast, but while Postecoglou might have a different prediction, one thing they could reach a consensus on was the importance of the derby match.

The Gold Coast coach claimed it was no secret that he enjoyed beating the Roar more than any other Hyundai A-League side, and Postecoglou said the 'showcase' match took on a greater importance for Brisbane, particularly for the sake of their supporters.

Whether it's the new-look Roar who spoil Bleiberg's wish to go undefeated at home, or the Gold Coast who lay Postecoglou's careful planning to waste, both sides have the potential to feature prominently in the 2010/11 Hyundai A-League season, and this encounter could prove to be just the first leg in a season-long wrestle for dominance.