Back-to-back wins at Westpac in the space of four thrilling days have Wellington Phoenix in fifth spot breathing down the neck of fourth-placed Brisbane Roar.
Saturday, 21 January 2017
Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar FC
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-Off: 7:35PM (Local) (5:35PM (AEDT))
Referee: Jonathan Barreiro
Assistant Referee 1: Simon Lount
Assistant Referee 2: Mark Rule
Fourth Official: Alex King
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC Radio Brisbane, ABC Radio Qld, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WELvBRI
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 2.Jacob TRATT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Ryan LOWRY, 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Michael McGLINCHEY, 11.Hamish WATSON, 12.Adam PARKHOUSE, 13.Marco ROSSI, 17.Vince LIA, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 99.Shane SMELTZ
**one to be omitted**
Ins: 12.Adam PARKHOUSE (promoted)
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Daniel BOWLES, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 11.Tommy OAR, 13.Jade NORTH, 15.ARANA, 17. Matt MCKAY (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 26.Nick D’AGOSTINO, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 33.Joey KATEBIAN
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 26.Nick D’AGOSTINO (promoted), 33.Joey KATEBIAN (promoted)
Unavailable: 10.Brett HOLMAN (knee – 1 week)
What a week it’s been for the resurgent Phoenix.
After claiming a season sweep against the Mariners, the NZ outfit backed up that gritty display on Tuesday night with a performance that oozed class, bringing Melbourne Victory’s unbeaten run to an abrupt halt with a 3-0 win.
Those three points propelled Wellington into the top six and the Nix have now only lost once in seven matches since Des Buckingham and Chris Greenacre took charge.
In attack Kosta Barbarouses has begun to show the kind of form that warrants marquee status, while the return of the reliable Michael McGlinchey from injury has also been a timely boost.
Keeping things safe at the back has been the unheralded Glen Moss, who pulled off a couple of spectacular saves against Victory when the match was in the balance (his incredible save around the hour mark was top drawer).
Whatever the reason for this surge in form, Phoenix are not giving away any clues with the mantra from the coaches and playing group being they're taking things "one game at a time".
That next game comes against a Roar side that’s only taken one point in the last month, seeing their unbeaten home run come to a shuddering end and in the process losing touch with the top two.
It’s not been from a lack of endeavour, with John Aloisi’s squad involved in pulsating 3-2 defeats in back-to-back weeks.
For or a club that prided itself on their defence all season, giving up eight goals in their past three games is a worrying sign.
Meanwhile at the other end of the park Jamie Maclaren appears to be out of sorts and out of favour, with the Socceroo striker demoted to the bench last weekend.
Of course it’s not all doom and gloom for the Brisbane club – they are, after all, fourth on the ladder.
Dimitri Petratos’ worldie last weekend was one of the greatest goals ever seen in the league, while the re-signing of Danish midfielder Thomas Kristensen is great news.
Away from the pitch Roar’s Managing Director Mark Kingsman this week penned an open letter to fans articulating the club’s ambitions and the lessons that had been learnt from a turbulent recent past.
It all bodes well for the future of the three-time champions but right now, they’d love nothing more than a return to the winners list on Saturday.
ROUTE TO GOAL
It’s all clicking for Wellington’s rock ‘n’ roll attack at the moment.
Having previously relied solely on the exploits of Roy Krishna, goals are coming from everywhere for the Phoenix.
Roly Bonevacia started and finished the play that led to his first goal of the campaign against Victory, while defender Jacob Tratt netted his first ever for the club with a textbook header in front of the Yellow Fever.
Kosta Barbarouses did it all himself against his former club, with his sublime finish. His sparkling form augurs well for the rest of the campaign.
John Aloisi opted to start Manuel Arana up front last weekend in place of the club’s leading scorer Jamie Maclaren so it will be interesting to see who’ll lead the line at Westpac.
Wellington’s notoriously blustery conditions could make it difficult for the Roar to play their counter-attacking style, but one suspects set-piece specialist Dimitri Petratos won’t mind so much.
With the Roar going through a rough trot the experience of Matt McKay and Tommy Oar becomes all the more important, with Brett Holman still a week away from a return.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Dimitri Petratos. We won’t get sick of seeing that stunning free-kick for a while. The swerve the 24-year-old was able to put on the ball has drawn comparisons with all the modern-day greats. Wellington will definitely want to think twice about fouling in the attacking third this weekend.
Wellington Phoenix: DDLWW
Brisbane Roar: WDLLL
Wellington Phoenix 3-2 Brisbane Roar