The saying goes that the formbook should be thrown out the window when it comes to derby matches.
Date: Friday, October 21 Kick-off: 8.30pm AEDT, 7.30pm local Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Head-to-head Played 6: Wins: Gold Coast 3, Brisbane 1, Draws: 2
Previous encounter Brisbane 4, Gold Coast 0, 12 February 2011
History: Previous matches between these two increasingly bitter rivals have largely gone Gold Coast's way. In fact, the only time Brisbane have ever beaten the Glitter Strip club was that memorable 4-0 rout back in February. United fans would be quick to point out that result was an anomaly - their side was a spent force after three games in a week, including a dreaded trip across the Nullarbor to face Perth, combined with a horror injury toll to turn them into mere cannon fodder for the rampaging Roar. But so convincing was that win and Brisbane's form over the past year and a half that the odds are stacked heavily in their favour this time around, even if history isn't on their side.
Form: Past five matches: Brisbane: WW Gold Coast: DD
Summary of form: Brisbane's 30-match undefeated streak speaks for itself. They are in absolutely scintillating touch at the moment and it will take either a monumental attitude shift or a special, special team to beat them. Meanwhile, down the other end of the M1 and in the first two weeks of the season, Gold Coast have experienced both the highs and lows that late goals can bring. First they salvaged a draw against Wellington thanks to James Brown's 87th minute strike - and then a week later were left bitterly disappointed when Central Coast stopper Patrick Zwaanswijk stole two points off them with his headed equalizer that came with just three minutes left to play.
With wingers Henrique (ankle) and Rocky Visconte (hamstring) now available for selection, Ange Postecoglou has the luxury of selecting his 15 from an almost entirely fit squad. For Gold Coast, this week - finally - Maceo Rigters will make his debut. It's been a frustrating two weeks for the ex-Blackburn striker, who has had to sit patiently on the sidelines while waiting for his visa clearance to come through. It has, and now he'll make his first appearance for his new club against their most hated foes. Chances are he'll come in as a straight swap for Dylan Macallister, who in true Queensland style was bitten on the foot by a redback spider on Wednesday and is unlikely to feature.
Thomas Broich - Matt McKay's transfer to Rangers was, oddly, the best possible thing for the Roar and Broich. It paved the way for last year's Johnny Warren Medal runner-up to move from the wing, where his influence on matches was limited, to McKay's old role in the centre of the park. The shift has given the 30-year-old the opportunity to pull all the strings and for a precocious talent like Broich, that spells danger for other clubs. He killed off last week's match against Sydney with a late stunner and will be keen to repeat that performance against the Roar's biggest rivals.
James Brown - Where will Gold Coast's goals come from? That was the question during an off-season that saw the club lose goal machine Shane Smeltz, part-time Socceroo Bruce Djite and ex-captain Jason Culina. Few predicted that the answer would come in the form of 21-year-old James Brown. In consecutive weeks, the Kingscliff junior put away two sensational goals from outside the penalty area and provided United with that potentially gamebreaking combination of sublime skill and enthralling unpredictability in attack. If he can continue in the same vein, then it's going to be an exciting season for Gold Coast fans.
At the end of the day…
The saying goes that the formbook should be thrown out the window when it comes to derby matches. Whoever said that probably didn't expect Brisbane Roar to go on the record-breaking 30-game blitzkrieg that they have. It really is hard to go past the Roar at home - against any team - but if there is any group of men capable of ending their famed undefeated streak, it's their old coach Miron Bleiberg and his well-drilled Gold Coast United troops.
Bleiberg has made it his mission to prove wrong all those predicting the wooden spoon to end up on the tourist trip this season. Two matches into the new campaign and while they haven't set the world on fire, both Wellington and the Mariners had to work extremely hard to get even a point out of United. Their back four looks settled, their midfield is working smoothly and up front, Brown, Ben Halloran and Dylan Macallister have combined well and shown plenty promise. If Dutch enigma Maceo Rigters can fire, who knows what they can achieve?
On the other side of the coin, we already know what Brisbane are all about. Critics are almost falling over each other in lavishing them with praise for their measured, creative and clinical manner of play. Ange Postecoglou's message is clearly getting through loud and clear to his players and they continue to answer every question asked of them. The laws of logic dictate, however, that the Roar have to lose eventually, and derby day always throws up surprises - but it'll take a massive surprise for Gold Coast to leave Suncorp triumphant. Unless Rigters can cook up something special an Brisbane's artillery somehow misfires, it won't happen.
Brisbane Roar Squad: 1. Michael Theoklitos (Gk), 2. Matt Smith (Capt.), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matt Jurman, 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paaratlu, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 9. Kofi Danning, 10. Henrique, 11. Issey Nakajima-Farran, 16. Mohamed Adnan, 17. Mitch Nichols, 20. Andrew Redmayne, 21. James Meyer, 22. Thomas Broich *one to be omitted*
In: Henrique (Promoted) Out: Nil Unavailable: 12. Matt Mundy (Knee Injury - 2 Weeks), 14. Rocky Visconte (Hamstring Strain - 2 Weeks)
Gold Coast United Squad: 1.Glen MOSS [gk], 2.Josh BRILLANTE, 3.Michael THWAITE (c), 5.Kristian REES, 6.Paul BEEKMANS, 7.Golgol MEBRAHTU, 8.ROBSON, 9.Joel PORTER, 10.Tahj MINNIECON, 12.Dylan MACALLISTER, 13.Ante ROZIC, 14.Ben HALLORAN, 15.Adama TRAORE, 16.Maceo RIGTERS, 18.James BROWN, 20.Jerrad TYSON [gk], 21.Daniel SEVERINO, 22.Peter JUNGSCHLAGER, 23.Dylan MCGOWAN. *four to be omitted*
In: 7.Golgol MEBRAHTU (promoted), 10.Tahj MINNIECON (promoted), 16.Maceo RIGTERS (visa clearance), 21.Daniel SEVERINO (promoted). Out: Nil Unavailable: 19.Chris BROADFOOT (ankle injury - 6 weeks)