New year, new promise for Brisbane Roar
Consistency is the watchword from here on in and Brisbane will be looking to save their best performances for the second half of the campaign.
The Asian Football Confederation-s attempts to impose one-size-fits-all policies onto the region don-t work and nowhere is that more evident than in the New Zealand capital.
Wellington Phoenix are the A-League-s equivalent of Swansea City and since coming into the competition in 2007, they-ve caused their fair share of upsets.
And if the Kiwi side conjure a win over Brisbane Roar on New Year-s Day it would not only dampen new Roar coach Mike Mulvey-s festive spirits, it would also land another serious blow to his chances of steering Brisbane into the finals.
The Roar-s home form this season has been mixed.
Impressive wins over Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC stand in contrast to lacklustre defeats to Western Sydney Wanderers, Adelaide United and Perth Glory during which the once-prolific Roar failed to hit the back of the net.
And although a 1-0 win away at Adelaide United on Boxing Day yielded Roar supporters a belated Christmas present, they-ll be wary of getting their hopes up for a team which was once the competition-s most consistent but is now decidedly erratic.
Increasingly those supporters appear to be dwindling in number and the recent home defeat to Perth was watched by the Roar-s smallest home crowd of the season.
Despite playing some of the most attractive football ever seen in this country under former coach Ange Postecoglou, the Roar have struggled to capture the attention of Brisbane-s sports-going public in the same way popular NRL side the Broncos have.
That-s a shame for the code because Brisbane sports fans are among the nation-s most informed and the sight of Suncorp Stadium less than a quarter full does little to inspire the Roar players.
Nonetheless they continue to battle on and Henrique-s winner in Adelaide produced Brisbane-s first away win of the season and sparked hopes the defending champions- second half of the campaign will be better than their sluggish first.
Henrique has arguably been Brisbane-s best this season - despite playing second fiddle to Besart Berisha - and had he hit the back of the net instead of the crossbar against Perth, the Roar would be nipping even closer at Wellington-s heels for a place in the top six.
They can still leapfrog the New Zealand side with a win over Ricki Herbert-s men and Mulvey knows his skills as a coach will be judged largely on his ability to coax consistent results out of his unpredictable side.
Despite the magnitude of the task, the taciturn Mancunian is not one to get carried away and he reminded his players there-s still plenty of work to be done following the win at Hindmarsh Stadium.
“This is the start. We will not rest until we keep improving,” Mulvey said after the win over the Reds.
“We're looking for consistency now. I'm looking for exactly the same commitment and performance for the game against the Phoenix,” he added.
Consistency is the watchword from here on in and just as they did last season, the Roar will be looking to save some of their best performances for the second half of the campaign.
If a new year is full of new resolutions, then surely Brisbane Roar-s will be to put a difficult three months behind them and rediscover the form which once made them the most feared outfit in the land.