Preview: North Queensland v Adelaide
It's been a difficult week for North Queensland and Adelaide but both their coaches will be desperately hoping the players can pull it together on the pitch, starting this weekend.
Date: Saturday November 28 Kick-off: 8:00pm AEST, 9:00pm AEDT Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 2 and Sky Sports 1. To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au.
Head-to-head Played 2: Wins: Adelaide 1, North Queensland 0, Draws: 1
Previous Meeting North Queensland 0, Adelaide United 2, Dairy Farmers Stadium, Round 8, September 2009
Past five matches: North Queensland: Round 11: North Queensland 1, Wellington Phoenix 1, Dairy Farmers Stadium Round 12: North Queensland Fury 2, Perth Glory 1, Dairy Farmer's Stadium Round 13: Gold Coast United 0, North Queensland 2, Skilled Park Round 14: Newcastle Jets 2, North Queensland 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 15: North Queensland 1, Central Coast 5, Dairy Farmer's Stadium
Adelaide United: Round 11: Adelaide United 2, Sydney FC 1, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 12: Melbourne Victory 3, Adelaide United 1, Etihad Stadium Round 13: Central Coast 0, Adelaide United 0, Canberra Stadium Round 14: Adelaide United 0, Brisbane Roar 2, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 15: Adelaide United 1, Gold Coast United 1, Hindmarsh Stadium
Analysis: It's been a difficult week for North Queensland and Adelaide but both their coaches will be desperately hoping the players can pull it together on the pitch, starting this weekend.
The last-placed Fury will certainly want to atone for last weekend when they were humbled by the Mariners at home. Having established a following in North Queensland Rugby League country through a string of solid results, the club will be hoping the 5-1 loss to Central Coast doesn't damage its supporter base. In fairness to the Fury, it was one of those nights for both sides. North Queensland fired off chance after chance in the first 20 minutes and nothing stuck. The Mariners, by contrast, took the ball up the other end and Pedj Bojic smashed in an angled drive to open the scoring and literally open the floodgates. It was clinical stuff by the Mariners as they took every chance that came their way, while Danny Vukovic had another night to remember between the sticks.
Compared to a four-goal loss, Adelaide's 1-1 draw with Gold Coast United doesn't look too bad. That being said, Gold Coast was down to 10 men for an hour but still managed to score with its only real attack of the match. Adelaide, though, only managed to breach its opponents' defence through Matthew Leckie in the 93rd minute. Adding to Adelaide's woes, coach Aurelio Vidmar has been given a two-match club-imposed touchline ban for his 'beheading' comments last week, while Kristian Sarkies may not be the squad's most popular player after signing for Melbourne Heart during the week.
At least Vidmar's retained a sense of humour, saying he'd only be sitting in a stand that served good coffee. The coach has also all but retained his faith in the line-up that drew with Gold Coast, only bringing Daniel Mullen into the side. The coach, and assistant Phil Stubbins, who will work from the touchline, will be more than aware of North Queensland's attacking ability should it gain some momentum. The first time these sides played ended in a 3-3 draw at Hindmarsh, while last time, the Reds may have come away with a 2-0 win, but were hammered by a Fury side that created about 20 chances only to be denied by Eugene Galekovic and some poor finishing.
Fury coach Ian Ferguson, meanwhile, has reacted to last week's thrashing by promoting Jason Spagnuolo, Paul Kohler and Chris Grossman. It's expected Ferguson will also include former English Premiership player Terry Cooke in his side, after the midfielder's loan spell in the north was approved. He comes in as an injury replacement for James Robinson, who ruptured his ACL against Newcastle two rounds ago, leaving a creative and defensive gap in the midfield that wasn't filled against the Mariners. Ferguson is hoping 33-year-old Cooke will provide leadership and experience for young midfielders like Rostyn Griffiths, David Williams and Osama Malik, although the coach may opt to play Griffiths in a defensive role after he excelled at centre-half earlier in the campaign. The Fury coach certainly has options, as he needs to omit four of his squad by game time, but he'll certainly want to get some confidence back after consecutive losses. Although this remains the primary aim for this weekend, Ferguson will also be acutely aware a win against Adelaide, combined with other results, could even take his side up to seventh on the table.
North Queensland Fury squad: 1. Paul HENDERSON (GK), 2. Robbie MIDDLEBY 3. Chris TADROSSE, 7. Jason SPAGNUOLO, 9. Robbie FOWLER (c), 10. Jeremy BROCKIE, 11. David WILLIAMS, 12. Jack HINGERT,14. Chris GROSSMAN, 15. Fred AGIUS, 16. Paul KOHLER, 17. Osama MALIK, 19. Daniel MCBREEN, 20. Justin PASFIELD, (RGK), 21. John TAMBOURAS, 22. Karl DODD, 23. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 24. Dyron DAAL
*three to be omitted*
In: Jason SPAGNUOLO (promoted), Chris GROSSMAN (promoted), Paul KOHLER (promoted)
Out: James Robinson (knee- indefinite)
Unavailable: Jacob TIMPANO (hamstring - 2 weeks), Shane STEFANUTTO (knee - indefinite), Scott WILSON (knee - indefinite)
Adelaide United squad: 1. Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2. Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3. ALEMAO, 4. Iain FYFE, 5. Daniel MULLEN, 6. CASSIO, 7. Lucas PANTELIS, 8. Kristian SARKIES, 9. CRISTIANO, 10. Adam HUGHES, 13. Travis DODD (c), 14. Scott JAMIESON, 18. Fabian BARBIERO, 19. Mathew LECKIE, 21. Mark RUDAN, 20. Mark BIRIGHITTI(gk)
*one to be omitted*
In: Daniel MULLEN (promoted)
Unavailable: Michael MARRONE (knee - 1 week), Joe COSTA (knee - long term injury list)