The Finals - Brisbane Roar

Brisbane's toughest challenge looms as a trip to South Korea.

Brisbane Roar Regular season position: 2nd Points: 49

Finals Opponent: Central Coast Mariners Head to head: Roar 13 wins, 9 draws, Mariners 4 wins Last five: DWWLW

The story so far v Central Coast Mariners

Brisbane Roar fans will be rejoicing that their team gets to take on the Mariners to qualify for the grand final.

Theis season has yielded two wins and a loss against the Mariners and even that loss came during the improbable form slump that saw the Roar lose five matches on the trot.

The Roar began the season with a 1-0 win over the Mariners, rubbing further salt into the still open wounds from the grand final of the 2010/11 season. Mitch Nichols striking in the 72nd minute, despite a herculean performance in goal from Central Coast stopper Mat Ryan.

From there the Roar would go on to be undefeated until Sydney shocked them in Week Nine, thanks to an uncharacteristic howler from Michael Theoklitos.

Then the five-match losing streak started and everybody, including the Mariners took advantage of the situation.

It didn-t take long for the pressure to get to Brisbane with Theoklitos again making an error, this time passing straight to a grateful Mustafa Amini, who chipped him.

Pedj Bojic made it a two-goal lead and the Mariners finally had the Roar-s number.

The Roar though would resume their dominance when they travelled to Bluetongue Stadium in Week 18 defeating the Mariners 2-0 in a dominant performance, once again showing their liking for taking on the team from the Central Coast.

Key Player: Erik Paartalu - The tall midfielder has come into his own this year at the Roar filling the breach left by Hyundai A-League Player of the Year Matt McKay, both in terms of contribution and leadership.

Paartalu fits perfectly into the Roar-s famed possession game with his link play between defence and attack a key feature.

Somewhat of a quite achiever amongst the headline-grabbers in the Queensland capital, Paartalu received recognition from national coach Holger Osieck by receiving his maiden call-up to the Qantas Socceroos for their recent match against Saudi Arabia.

X Factor: Besart Berisha - There-s no doubting the Roar-s Albanian striker can score a goal, his 19 for the season have won him the Nike Golden Boot, but there is a darker side to the striker.

Whilst it-s abundantly clear he can win the Roar many a game with his predatory instincts inside the box, his combustible nature could rear its ugly head at the worst time.

A massive clash with Pascal Bosschaart of Sydney FC made plenty of headlines, but his clashes with teammates James Meyer and Issey Nakajima- Faran are of greater concern, what if one of these happens with a final in the balance?

Key Stats:The Roar have comfortably scored the most goals in the league with 50, making them the only side to crack the half century. That averages out to 1.9 per game.

Bunnies: The Roar have imposing records against most teams, due to their long period of dominance in seasons 2010/11 and early 2011/12, but they certainly don-t fear the Phoenix.

Nine wins from 15 encounters equates to a winning percentage of 60 percent. What-s more they get a positive result 73 per cent of the time.

Bogey side: The Roar can-t have been happy to see Sydney FC scrape into the finals in desperate fashion. The Sky Blues historically give the Roar fits. They shocked them in week 9 at Kogarah to begin the now infamous fall from grace for the Roar and then should have beaten them on a controversial night at Suncorp in Week 15.

Historically matches between these two have been tight with the Roar winning nine, Sydney six, and eight draws being played out.

Straight Shooting: Brisbane-s astonishing mid-season slump is fast becoming a distant memory and the Roar of old are seemingly now on display on a weekly basis. The biggest hurdle for Ange Postecoglou-s men will be getting ready for the second leg of their semi-final with the Mariners after an ACL match in South Korea.

If they can gain direct entry into the grand final and be fresh for it, they will be very hard to stop.