Paartalu the heart of Roar

With a CV that included Gretna, Greenock Morton and a loan spell at Stirling Albion, plenty of Brisbane Roar fans were not sure what to expect from the signing of Erik Paartalu.

With a CV that included Gretna, Greenock Morton and a loan spell at Stirling Albion, plenty of Brisbane Roar fans were not sure what to expect from the signing of Erik Paartalu.

But as hindsight shows, one of the best pieces of business Brisbane boss Ange Postecoglou has made was announced on February 24, 2010, as the defensive midfielder signed a three-year deal on a free transfer.

Paartalu completed the season in Scotland before linking up with Postecoglou and he played a key role in the club's first ever Hyundai A-League title in 2010/2011 with a series of terrific displays.

And this week, Paartalu is set to make his 50th Hyundai A-League appearance for the Roar as they host Sydney FC at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

His signing was prompted by Brisbane's need at the time to get a tall, strong body in the centre of midfield.

With Matt McKay and Massimo Murdocca both small in stature, the Roar needed a big player to protect the back four and at 193cm Paartalu fitted the bill perfectly.

He made his debut in a Queensland derby against Gold Coast United and along with fellow new arrival Thomas Broich he hit the ground running, with Brisbane's sharp rise in form no coincidence.

Paartalu bagged his first goal in his seventh Hyundai A-League appearance as Brisbane toppled the Melbourne Heart 4-0 and he added a further three during the campaign.

His fourth and final goal of the season was by far his most memorable, given the significance of the occasion and the late nature of the goal.

Brisbane trailed the Central Coast Mariners 2-0 in the 2010-2011 Hyundai A-League final with just four minutes of extra time to play before Henrique gave the Roar a lifeline.

But it was Paartalu's header - in the 120th minute - that forced penalties and the 25-year-old also scored from the spot as Brisbane won 4-2 in the shootout that followed.

Rumours linked the midfielder with a return overseas after his impressive season but the Roar were hellbent on keeping their star and rightly so.

He has established himself as part of the furniture at Brisbane already and Roar fans will be hoping he makes at least another 50 appearances in the heart of their midfield.

Saturday's game takes on even more significance with Brisbane duo Broich and Henrique set to return to first-team action.

Broich has been sorely missed over the past eight matches but he has recovered from his heel problem while Henrique - who has four goals in seven Hyundai A-League appearances this season - has been on the sidelines with a knee injury.

With Sydney having leaked nine goals in their past three matches, a fit and firing Paartalu, Broich and Henrique is sure to cause Sky Blues manager Vitezslav Lavicka a headache or two.