Murdocca tips Stefanutto to lead

Veteran defender Shane Stefanutto is firming as the favourite to take the captaincy at the Brisbane Roar for 2011-12, with the departure of current skipper Matt McKay all but confirmed.

Veteran defender Shane Stefanutto is firming as the favourite to take the captaincy at the Brisbane Roar for 2011-12, with the departure of current skipper Matt McKay all but confirmed.

The defending Hyundai A-League champions are set to lose their instrumental midfield leader to Scottish giants Rangers, but the club is confident they have the personnel to cover the both on and off the field.

With an announcement on McKay's future to be made within days, speculation has turned to Ange Postecoglou's selection of his successor.

Though McKay's departure appears imminent, the reigning Hyundai A-League Coach of the Year is yet to publically declare his intentions.

But McKay's long-time midfield lieutenant Massimo Murdocca, one of a handful of experienced campaigners with the credentials to fill the post, says former-Socceroo Stefanutto and ultra-dependable shot-stopper Michael Theoklitos were the front-runners to inherit the captain's band.

"Matty would love to stay if he could, and in a perfect world we'd all still be here, but at the end of the day, it's a great opportunity for him and he goes with our blessing - we're so proud of what he achieved," said Murdocca.

"Someone has to fill those shoes, someone has to come in, and whoever it is will do a good job. If he can go over there and make the A-League proud and us proud, I think there's a lot of opportunity for everyone else later on."

"We've got a lot of experienced players in the team that will step up, and in my opinion, it's probably out of Shane Stefanutto and Michael Theoklitos - they're the two boys that are driving the team at the moment, and I think one of them would be fitting for the position, for sure."

"Now that (Matt) is gone, I believe that someone will come in and fill that void and we'll continue to grow as a team and a club."

Losing a player of McKay's calibre along with Jean Carlos Solorzano and Kosta Barbarouses - the club's two leading goal scorers from their all-conquering 2010-11 season - is likely to have many around the country eyeing the Roar as a lesser entity.

But the reigning champions are confident that their fast-passing, team-centric style will endure the loss, especially after bolstering the roster with the likes of impressive Bahraini defender Mohamed Adnan and Albanian finisher Besart Berisha.

And Murdocca assured his side would have plenty of surprises for their rivals as they attempt to emulate their success of last season.

"We're trying different variations to try to stay ahead of the pack and we've got different systems in place. Obviously we'll have a lot of things under our sleeves this year," said Murdocca.

"Ange has stated that we always need plan Bs and Cs, and we're obviously going to be ready for whatever's thrown at us this year."

"We've always prided ourselves on the system and being a good team, and it hasn't been about individuals, it's been about us as a group."