They've stumbled, tripped and at times looked a far cry from what they were but Brisbane are hitting their straps at the perfect time for finals success.
Brisbane Roar haven-t swaggered through this season like they have the past two, and by about Round 13, the Premier-s Plate was out of their reach - they even managed to hit last place on the ladder, a nasty fall for a club so recently acquainted with success.
The football hacks were writing the obituary to their title defence - some on this website - and yet here we are, the finals are set to start and Brisbane Roar are considered to be the biggest chance of all the outsiders.
It-s quite the fall and rise; the question is, do they have the potency of old?
Yes: Brisbane are just as potent.
Ange Postecoglou left and it-s been a full season without him, and still some claim the former boss-s defection was the biggest loss of all. It looked that way following the Rado Vidosic fall-out but now Mike Mulvey has Brisbane firing on all cylinders one can-t say the Roar aren-t a huge threat in the finals.
Their form heading into the finals reads win, draw, loss, win, win. The only loss coming at 1-0 down to Central Coast Mariners - but form isn-t the issue in finals football. It-s whether Brisbane are potent enough in attack to do some real damage.
Their 33 goals for the season is a far cry from the 50 they had scored by the time the finals came around last year, but they have taken almost the entire season to adjust to a couple of new coaches with new philosophies, for Thomas Broich to actually look like he cares half as much as Besart Berisha, and to find their mojo once Luke Brattan took over Erik Paartalu-s holding midfield role.
Now they can get down to the business of winning football games, with one of the most attacking squads in the league.
We-ve started to see the best of Broich, Berisha, Mitch Nichols and Henrique in recent weeks and even if the Brazilian is getting far less game time of late he is still as dangerous as they come when it comes to getting in behind opposition defences.
But here is the thing about the 2013 Roar: they have great depth, especially in attack. Last year they had fringe players who were capable of a goal but Rocky Visconte, Kofi Danning and Nick Fitzgerald barely played, Issey Nakajima-Faran was out of favour for a bust-up with Besart Berisha.
This season Luke Brattan, Stephen Lustica, Stef Nijland and Ben Halloran have all popped up in attack, and now the Roar have clicked into top gear it might just be time for them to take Brisbane to an unprecedented third straight Championship victory.
Are they as potent as last year? No, despite what the stats say they are even more dangerous than before.
No: Roar aren-t the same
Mike Mulvey-s done a fantastic job in a short space of time. Not just getting Brisbane into the finals, but by doing it in the right way.
After the football they-ve served up over the past two seasons, watching Roar fluff the ball about for half the season was painful viewing. Whatever your allegiance, the A-League is better with a strong Brisbane Roar.
But they are not the same team as they were under Postecoglou and they do not have that same potency in attack.
Since Mulvey took over his priority was to stop Roar shipping goals and their defensive record since Jade North joined has been exemplary: just five goals conceded in the last seven games.
Brisbane finished the home-and-away season in great form, scoring five goals in two games - against Melbourne Heart and Sydney FC.
But they-ve struggled to score against the better teams. They drew 1-1 with Victory in round 24 and lost 1-0 to the Mariners in round 25.
This time last year, there wasn-t a defence in the land that wasn-t terrified by the mere sight of Besart Berisha. This season, the risk of one of one of his temper tantrums is much scarier. Broich has only come alive in recent weeks, and as promising as Brattan is, he-s yet to score an A-League goal.
Don-t get me wrong, Roar are good - but they-re still some way short of their best.