The Brisbane Roar dynasty is over
Stop all the clocks. There may be 10 games still to play but the Suncorp Stadium dynasty has come to a shuddering halt.
“Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone” wrote the poet W.H. Auden in a mournful lament he called Funeral Blues.
“Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone” added the melancholy wordsmith, though there-s no evidence he gazed into a crystal ball and saw Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey in the doghouse.
But Mulvey might as well have stopped the clock in the 70th minute of the Roar-s clash with Western Sydney because that was the minute Brisbane-s chance of making it a hat-trick of A-League titles came crashing to a halt.
Youssouf Hersi-s winner summed everything that has gone wrong with Brisbane-s campaign.
Where once Thomas Broich was the competition-s most skillful player, now Western Sydney star Shinji Ono leads the way as one of the most influential talents in the league.
When towering striker Dino Kreisinger flicked on a long ball with 20 minutes remaining, Ono used all his experience to feign chasing down the ball before simply leaving it for Hersi to run on to and rattle home.
It was crafty, it was clever and judging by Ono-s sheepish post-goal reaction it was barely within the laws of the game.
But while the Roar can complain as much as they like about whether Hersi-s goal was legal or not, the truth is they only had themselves to blame.
After leaving behind a heatwave in Sydney, the small band of Wanderers fans must have wondered if it was all worth it as they sat through an insipid first-half display on an oppressively hot Brisbane afternoon.
But when Mark Bridge decided to pull the trigger - something Broich has seemingly forgotten how to do - the writing was on the wall for Brisbane-s season.
During their championship-winning era, Roar goalkeeper Michael Theo would have pushed Bridge-s shot around the post - this time he simply palmed it into the net.
And when Ono bamboozled the Roar defence to allow Hersi to lash home soon after, the obituaries were being solemnly prepared on Brisbane-s unsuccessful title defence.
They may as well have stopped the clock in the 70th minute because Hersi-s goal deflated the last of Brisbane-s spirit.
Missing Erik Paartalu for the first time in what seemed like an eternity, the Roar simply had no warriors left to dig them out of their hole.
Besart Berisha tried, but sadly for Roar fans he-s looked more menacing towards referees than opposing goalkeepers this campaign.
“The self-belief seems to have disappeared from Brisbane this season,” reasoned Fox Sports commentator Robbie Slater after watching the Roar slump to their 10th defeat of the campaign.
“They look a team of individuals, whereas last season they were a magnificent unit. I think it's time to break the team up,” he added.
Paartalu is gone and Nick Fitzgerald will soon follow but the problem for the Roar is that they-ve already signed several players to long-term contracts.
If it was a questionable decision when the Roar were on song, it now seems like madness from a side clearly lacking in motivation.
And it all leaves Mulvey in a difficult position having taken over from Rado Vidosic in mid-season.
The simple fact is that not only was former coach Ange Postecoglou a key figure at Suncorp Stadium, he-s now at the vanguard of a group of coaches actively plotting the Roar-s demise.
Melbourne Victory may be one of the in-form teams in the league but in Graham Arnold, Wanderers coach Tony Popovic and Melbourne Heart tactician John Aloisi to name a few, there are plenty of others eager to hammer the nail into Brisbane-s coffin.
The rest of the A-League has caught up to the Roar - a point made palpably obvious by the fact newcomers Western Sydney have claimed three wins from three against the defending champions.
Stop the clocks alright; Brisbane Roar-s season is over.
There may be 10 games still to play but the Suncorp Stadium dynasty has come to a shuddering halt.