Can the Glory start the new season with a statement win against their Grand Final nemesis?
Date: Sunday 7 October, 2012 Kick-off: 2:00pm (AWST), 4:00pm (Queensland), 5:00pm (AEDT) Venue: Patersons Stadium
Head-to-head Played: 22 Wins: Perth 3, Brisbane 14, Draws: 5
Previous encounter Brisbane 2, Perth 1, 22 April 2012
Form: Preseason matches: Perth: WW Brisbane: LLWL
The Game What more could you want from a Grand Final rematch? Revenge will be squarely on the minds of this Perth outfit after the controversial finish to last season's decider at Suncorp Stadium.
The Glory still feel aggrieved about that last-gasp penalty won and scored by Besart Berisha and will not only be hellbent on doling out some overdue punishment to the Albanian, but getting one back on a Brisbane side that they've only ever beaten three times before.
An intriguing sub-plot to the Berisha circus will be how the new signings on both sides will fit in. Over the course of Gold Coast's three-year spell, Michael Thwaite established himself as one of the best and most consistent defenders in the league. Composed on the ball, he will be central to Perth's hopes of playing out from the back more often.
The Glory might just have the surprise packet of the league on their books, too - Japanese forward Ryo Nagai, on loan from Cerezo Osaka, has already impressed in his short time in the country.
For Brisbane, Ben Halloran is perhaps the next Hyundai A-League talent in line for a punt in Europe - that is, if he can kick on from last year and if his body allows him to. On the other flank, South Korean import Do Dong-Hyun is another one with bucketloads of pace and potential, and together the Roar pair should add a lot more penetration in the final third.
The big issue Perth - Can the Glory start the new season with a statement win against their newly-found nemesis? What a psychological blow it would be on the defending champions if they could.
Perth coach Ian Ferguson has assembled one of the strongest sides in the Hyundai A-League on paper and their rise over the back end of last season saw them go within a Liam Miller tackle (or Besart Berisha dive? Up to you) of the club's first title since the end of the NSL in 2004.
The likes of Michael Thwaite, Ryo Nagai and Scott Jamieson could prove to be the difference - but the men in purple cannot afford a poor start to the season, nor can they surrender any more mental ground to Brisbane Roar. The hoodoo has to be shattered, and there's no time like the present.
Brisbane - The Ange Postecoglou era is over, and some critics are suggesting the Roar could fall to pieces without him. Those critics must not know too much about the highly-rated Rado Vidosic, who has served as an assistant since way back when they were still known as Queensland Roar. He's worked under Miron Bleiberg (a very astute tactician), Frank Farina (former Qantas Socceroos coach) and Postecoglou (who some have tipped as a future Qantas Socceroos coach). That's quite the apprenticeship, and it suggests he's more than ready to carry the torch. Vidosic hasn't tinkered with too much of Brisbane's gameplan but he has vowed to smarten up the way his men attack, which cannot be a good thing for the rest of the Hyundai A-League.
Gamebreaker Besart Berisha. Could it be anyone else this week? The man who drove a hammer through the hearts of the long-suffering Glory faithful in the dying moments of last season's Grand Final is back to torment them some more. The Albanian already knows he's in for some special treatment not only from a Patersons stadium version of The Shed, but from the Perth players who are adamant he dived to win that penalty. But in his words: "I've seen worse things in Europe, so I'm prepared for that."
He's almost taunting Western Australia. Clearly, the villain tag sits spectacularly well on him - but the Glory might want to keep their heads, because the Hyundai A-League's golden boot runs off the mere scent of goals and will pounce at a moment's hesitation. He'll be keen to pick up right where he left off.
Prediction: It was hard enough to figure out which way the Grand Final was going to go. With new players on both sides of the fence, a new coach at the Roar, a ground that hasn't seen round ball football for years and a yawning six-month gap since the last time these two sides faced off, it hasn't gotten any easier. But it is quite easy to see Perth and Brisbane cancelling each other out. All too often these highly-anticipated matches end up fizzling out into stalemates. No doubt this one will still be exciting, but these two teams just can't be separated. 1-1.
You can follow all the action LIVE via our ABC Radio stream in the match centre.