'I didn't see it coming': the two changes which put Roar in command against Victory
A change in tactics from Brisbane Roar and lack in match fitness in the Melbourne Victory camp were the key factors that contributed to Brisbane's 3-1 win on Saturday night, according to coaches of both sides.
An enthralling first half had ended at 1-1 at AAMI Park, with Scott McDonald's opener for Brisbane cancelled out by Callum McManaman's brilliant goal with just 24 minutes on the clock.
But in the second half everything changed as the Roar powered to a 3-1 win, and head coach Warren Moon had one thing in mind when assessing how his side managed to turn the tide in their favour: the introduction of midfielder Jesse Daley which released the shackles on creative technician Jay O'Shea.
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"I think Jesse Daley coming on was a big factor in the way we changed second half," he told FOX Sports post-match.
"We needed to free [Jay O’Shea] up, that was the key one.
"We didn’t get enough from our wingers (in the first half), we needed them to double up because obviously Victory have that threat out wide.
"[O'Shea] was doing a lot of running and we couldn’t get him on the ball, so once we made the change and Jesse came on it free’d up Jay.
"Riku (Danzaki) can play out wide as well, and things started to happen for us, so it was really pleasing.
"We didn’t set out to play the way we did in the first half, but sometimes it just requires someone different to come in there and change things up.
"Jesse was definitely a big contributor tonight in shifting the balance of the game.
"Really pleased for the group, but also for Jesse."
Moon's post-match assessment, however, differed from Victory boss Grant Brebner's dissection of proceedings.
Brebner agreed his side lost a foothold in the match after the opening stanza, but put the drop in standard down to a lack in match fitness, rather than his side's inability to cope with Brisbane's varied system in the second half.
"Look, at half time I didn’t see it coming to be honest," Brebner said.
"We were in unknown territory, because we hadn’t played any games for three weeks.
"We were taking it on trust we were going to be able to run out the game, and it was evident that we were a little bit short of match fitness.
"They got the goal early then they sat in, and it was hard for us to break them down.
"Look, I think we can have a look at that and improve certainly from where we’re at."
As Victory tired in the second half one player in orange displayed a relentless energy, growing in stature as the game progressed.
That player was Dylan Wenzel-Halls, benefiting greatly from Moon's tactical change, working off McDonald from out wide to chase, create pressure and get in behind Victory's defence.
The move worked. Wenzel-Halls turned from a hard-working cog in Brisbane's first-half system to a menacing attacking threat in the second half, eventually scoring the Roar's third and final goal in some fashion.
"In terms of a kid that’s got hunger and desire, I’ve never met anyone who’s more hungry to succeed at football," Moon said of Wenzel-Halls post-match.
"He deserved that tonight.
"He’s feeling it, he’s a striker, he’s judged on goals and no one judges themselves harsher than himself, and sometimes Scotty (McDonald).
"He’s definitely someone that deserved that tonight, his work rate and first half performance defensively set the platform for his second half performance."
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