Preview: Brisbane Roar v Central Coast
There should be no better time than this week for the Mariners to get back on track with a win over a Roar outfit that's struggling both on and off the field.
Date: Saturday October 17 Kick-off: 5:30pm AEST, 6:30pm AEDT Venue: Suncorp Stadium TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2. Hyundai A-League club broadcast partner is Coast FM 96.3 (Gosford). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au.
Head-to-head Played 15: Wins: Brisbane 7, Central Coast 6, Draws: 2
Previous meeting Brisbane 1, Central Coast 0, Suncorp Stadium, Round 4, August 2009
Past five matches: Brisbane Roar: Round 6: Newcastle Jets 0, Brisbane Roar 3, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 7: Brisbane Roar 2, Perth Glory 4, Suncorp Stadium Round 8: Brisbane Roar 1, Sydney FC 0, Suncorp Stadium, Round 9: Melbourne Victory 2, Brisbane Roar 1, Etihad Stadium Round 10: Brisbane Roar 0, Gold Coast United 1, Suncorp Stadium
Central Coast: Round 6: Adelaide United 1, Central Coast 0, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 7: Central Coast 3, Gold Coast United 0, Bluetongue Stadium Round 8: Wellington Phoenix 0, Central Coast Mariners 0, Westpac Stadium Round 9: Sydney FC 1, Central Coast 0, Sydney Football Stadium Round 10: Central Coast 1, North Queensland Fury 1, Bluetongue Stadium
Analysis: There should be no better time than this week for the Mariners to get back on track with a win over a Roar outfit that's struggling both on and off the field. But how often have we seen a coach's departure galvanise a side, and it's this threat that will be giving Mariners boss Lawrie McKinna a few sleepless nights this week.
Still reeling from the toughest week in the club's history, Roar caretaker coach Rado Vidosic has to somehow get his players' minds back on the job, despite the fact there's every likelihood Frank Farina's replacement, Ange Postecoglou, will be sitting in the stands assessing them all as he looks to get Brisbane's spluttering season back on track.
Brisbane hasn't been helped by losing goalkeeper Liam Reddy to a leg injury for six weeks either. Griffin McMaster will pull on the gloves in Reddy's absence but such is the extent of the club's injury crisis a substitute goalkeeper is yet to be named. In McMaster's favour, though, he's certain to have the most determined defender in Hyundai A-League history in front of him when the game starts on Saturday afternoon. If ever there was a man to be in the trenches with, it's Qantas Socceroos defender and Roar skipper Craig Moore. When these two sides last played, it was also on the back of a dramatic week where Farina watched from the stands after getting his marching orders the previous round in Wellington. Rising to the occasion, Moore nodded home the only goal of that game in Round 4 as Brisbane recorded its first win of the season and a repeat performance would not surprise this time around. Along with Moore's inclusion, Vidosic has brought in a fair degree of experience as Danny Tiatto and David Dodd return from suspension, while Tim Smits and Andrew packer have been included in an extended squad that will be cut by five ahead of this clash.
The Roar's troubles have somewhat alleviated any pressure on Central Coast this week. Riding hot after smashing the Gold Coast 3-0 in Round 7, the Mariners haven't won since and McKinna will be desperate for full points as the league's frontrunners start slipping further and further ahead of his fifth-placed club.
Last week, the club looked in pole position to get a win on the board after Matt Simon spectacularly picked John Tambouras's pocket, letting fly with the second-fastest goal in Hyundai A-League history in just the 15th second against the Fury. But despite the North Queenslanders sitting in last position, they're made of stern stuff up Townsville way, and the Fury worked themselves back into the contest, ultimately equalising through Daniel McBreen's second-half header.
Unlike past seasons when scoring goals has never been a problem, this time around Central Coast has the worst 'for' record of any side in the top six, having scored just nine times in 10 games. They may have the best defence with just six goals conceded, but ultimately, their inability to score is hurting and is the primary reason they've only won once in the last five matches. That being said, young midfielder Michael McGlinchey almost scored the goal of the century in the SFS rain a fortnight ago against Sydney, when his 40-metre curling volley was just saved by Clint Bolton, and his return from international duty is a big boost to the Mariners forwards. His link play also allows fellow midfielder Nicky Travis to be more attacking in his own right. McGlinchey comes back into the side, along with John Hutchinson, who returns from international duty with Malta and will link with the squad on Friday. But whether Hutchinson plays remains to be seen as McKinna's squad will be cut by two come game time.
Brisbane Roar squad: 2. Andrew PACKER, 3. Luke DEVERE, 4. Craig MOORE, 5. Josh McCLOUGHAN, 6. David DODD, 9. Sergio VAN DIJK, 11. REINALDO, 12. Matt MUNDY, 14. Adam SAROTA, 15. Matt McKAY, 16. Bob MALCOLM, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 18. Danny TIATTO, 19. Isaka CERNAK, 20. Griffin McMASTER (gk), 21. Tommy OAR, 23. Tim SMITS, 27. Ivan FRANJIC, 29 Mario KARLOVIC *four to be omitted, goalkeeper to be included*
In: Craig MOORE (returns from international duty), Danny TIATTO (returns from suspension), David DODD (returns from suspension), Tim SMITS (promoted), Andrew PACKER (promoted)
Out: Liam REDDY (injured - 6 weeks)
Unavailable: Michael ZULLO (groin - 1 week), Massimo MURDOCCA (fractured leg - 8 weeks), Charlie MILLER (suspended - 1 week), HENRIQUE (injured - 6 weeks)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 2. Matthew CROWELL, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 6. David D'APUZZO, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 15. Andrew CLARK, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 22. Nicky TRAVIS, 23. Adam KWASNIK. *two to be omitted*
In: Michael McGLINCHEY (return from international duty), John HUTCHINSON (return from international duty)