Although the Mariners are all but certain of a place in the play-offs, a win would be a welcome tonic as they aim to return to form.
Date: Sunday, March 17, 2013 Kick-off: 5:00pm EST Venue: Bluetongue Stadium
Head-to-Head: Played: 35- Wins: Mariners 7, Roar 17, Draws: 11
Previous encounter: Roar 2-2 Mariners, 1 February, 2013
Form: Past five matches: Mariners: WDLLL Roar: DWDWD
The Game Reigning champions Brisbane Roar were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw by Melbourne Victory last weekend and sit seventh on the table going into this week's round of games.
The title-holders are by no means certain to make the play-offs but a win against their 2011 grand final opponents Central Coast Mariners would certainly improve their chances. The two sides played out an enthralling 2-2 draw in the 2011 A-League decider at Suncorp Stadium, with Roar clinching the trophy after a nerve-wrecking 4-2 penalty shootout win.
The Mariners have not won in four matches, with their last triumph coming in a 6-2 spanking of Victory on 23 February. Graham Arnold's charges were gunned down 3-1 by Kashiwa Reysol in their AFC Asian Champions League encounter on Wednesday and will be looking to get back on track against Roar.
The Mariners have had the upper hand over Roar in this season's encounters, having beaten them 2-1 in their first clash of the campaign before both sides shared the spoils in an entertaining 2-2 draw in February.
The Big Issue Mariners: Graham Arnold's men are in a wretched four-match winless streak in both domestic and continental action. The Mariners have suffered back-to-back league losses to Western Sydney and Sydney FC while their ACL exploits have garnered just a sole point from a possible six to date. Fatigue is likely to be a factor - the Mariners' fixture against Reysol meant they have played five matches in just over two-and-half weeks.
Roar: Mike Mulvey's team are unbeaten in four domestic matches, collecting two wins and two draws in the process. However, The Roar have struggled to find the back of the net all season, having scored a paltry 28 goals in the league thus far. They will need to significantly improve their attack should they harbour any hopes of consolidating a top-six spot.
The Gamebreaker Ivan Franjic: Nominally a right-back, Franjic has been a revelation since his switch to midfield in recent weeks. Franjic found the back of the net in Roar's 1-1 draw with Victory and his partnership down the right with Jack Hingert has been the key to the Roar's recent revival. Mulvey, who has lavished praise on Franjic for his energetic displays, will be hoping for more of the same this weekend.
Prediction: Mariners 1-1 Roar Although the Mariners are all but certain of a place in the play-offs, a win would be a welcome tonic as they aim to return to form. However, they will face a Roar side determined to stay in contention for a play-off spot.
Coupled with the fact Arnold's troops have tackled an arduous journey from Japan as they return from their ACL excursion, Roar look capable of sneaking a point against them.