Club Preview - Gold Coast United

The first of the Hyundai A-League two newest franchises Gold Coast United have been creating plenty of headlines in the lead up to the start of the season.

The first of the Hyundai A-League two newest franchises Gold Coast United have been creating plenty of headlines in the lead up to the start of the season. Billionaire owner Clive Palmer and Head Coach Miron Bleiberg are never short of a word or two when it comes to heralding their teams- chances this season and have certainly upped the publicity stakes for the game up in Queensland. Their Round 1 clash against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium certainly has had a lot of spice added to it in recent weeks and should not be missed by anybody.

In terms of recruiting it-s fair to say that Gold Coast United have not held back and captured some of the biggest names to play in the league this season. Prize recruit is none other than Qantas Socceroo regular Jason Culina, whose return to Australia after over a decade in Europe, certainly had many tongues wagging both home and abroad. Add last season-s leading goalscorer Shane Smeltz, along with another productive goalscorer in Joel Porter and the teams striking stocks are looking pretty healthy. But the team is not about three players and the likes of Jess Vanstrattan, another to return home from overseas after many years in Italy, Michael Thwaite from Melbourne Victory, Adam Griffiths from Newcastle Jets and Brisbane Roar-s Tahj Minniecon, are just several players who have tasted international football and will be valuable assets. Zenon Caravella is one to watch, while there are rave reviews about recent signing, 19 year-old Ivory Coast defender Adama Traore. Dutchmen Bas Van Den Brink will be solid in defence, while the three Brazilians Jefferson, Milson and Robson all look they will be good value for Bleiberg. Plenty of others have plenty of experience in the Hyundai A-League in Matt Osman, Kristian Rees, Steve Pantelidis, Daniel Piorkowski and Steve Fitzsimmons.

Gold Coast United has travelled extensively during the pre-season with fixtures played in New Caledonia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Perth. Gold Coast have been impressive in their trials matches to date and will go into the season unbeaten. The highlight was obviously their 2-1 win over English Premier League side Fulham FC.

There is little doubt that Gold Coast will be up there among the teams in finals contention and who is to say they can-t win it. They certainly have a squad capable, but in their first season, now that would be a fairytale come true!

Current Squad: Andrew BARISIC, James BROWN, Zenon CARAVELLA, Jason CULINA (c), Steve FITZSIMMONS, Richard GREER, Adam GRIFFITHS, Scott HIGGINS (gk), Jefferson, Milson, Tahj MINNIECON, Matt OSMAN, Steve PANTELIDIS, Daniel PIORKOWSKI, Joel PORTER, Kristian REES, Robson, Shane SMELTZ, Michael THWAITE, Adama TRAORE, Bas VAN DEN BRINK and Jess VAN STRATTAN (gk).

In: Andrew Barisic (Melbourne Knights, Australia - 1 year), James Brown (AIS, Australia - 3 years), Zenon Caravella (FC Omniworld, Netherlands - 2 years), Jason Culina (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands - 3 Years), Steve Fitzsimmons (Beenleigh, Australia -1 year), Richard Greer (AIS, Australia - 1 year), Adam Griffiths (Newcastle Jets, Australia - 3 years), Scott Higgins (Eastern Suburbs, Australia - 1 year), Jefferson (Atletico Rorairama, Brazil - 1 year), Milson (Madureira, Brazil - 1 year), Tahj Minniecon (U/23 marquee: Brisbane Roar, Australia - 3 years), Matt Osman (Central Coast Mariners, Australia - 2 years), Steve Pantelidis (Melbourne Victory, Australia - 2 years), Joel Porter (Hartlepool United, England - 3 years), Daniel Piorkowski (Newcastle Jets, Australia - 2 years), Kristian Rees (Adelaide City, Australia - 2 years), Robson (Cabofriense, Brazil - 1 year), Shane Smeltz (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand - 3 years), Michael Thwaite (SK Brann, Norway - 3 years), Adama Traore (Ecole de Football Yeo Martial, Ivory Coast - 3 years), Bas van den Brink (FC Omniworld, Netherlands - 2 years), Jess Vanstrattan (Verona, Italy - 2 years)