Fowler believes unselfish McDonald has ‘more goals in him’
Robbie Fowler admits if he had scored a double and his team earned a penalty, he would be pushing to take the spot-kick – but the Brisbane Roar coach is confident two-goal hero Scott McDonald has even more to come.
The 36-year-old scored his first goals for the Queensland outfit to fire Fowler’s side ahead against Western Sydney Wanderers at Suncorp Stadium on Friday and, after Mitchell Duke pulled one back, Jay O’Shea converted from the spot to wrap up a 3-1 win.
Irish playmaker O’Shea is assigned penalty-taking duties but Fowler, a prolific scorer in his time in the Premier League, joked he would not have hesitated to seize the chance to grab a hat-trick.
But now with his manager’s cap on, the Liverpool FC legend, was happy that O’Shea was able to net his first Hyundai A-League goal and close out a result that leaves Roar five-points clear in the race for Finals Series places.
“Jay’s the designated penalty taker,” Fowler said.
“I would probably want to [take it] – and all good goalscorers do.
“First and foremost, it’s a gain we need to try and win. At that point, the game wasn’t finished.
“Jay was well within his rights to get up there and take the penalty.
“I think the way Scott [McDonald] is playing, he’s got more goals in him, so hopefully he’ll save them for another day.”
McDonald notched his first Hyundai A-League goal earlier in the season, while playing for Western United, and finally got off the mark in Brisbane during his seventh game for the club after switching teams in January.
The former Celtic and Middlesbrough striker’s arrival has coincided with Roar’s rise up the ladder and Fowler paid credit to the veteran front man for adding the final piece of the puzzle.
“I think that was probably the only thing [McDonald] has lacked since he’s been here,” Fowler said.
“He’s got everything. He’s an infectious character around the place. He’s good on the ball, he can bring others into the game and his performances have been excellent since he’s been here.
“I think he’s been a breath of fresh air – probably what we needed – we needed someone to come in and have that character, and lift the lads, and we’ve got it.
“Probably the goals were lacking but his performances have been really, really good. It’s obviously paid off with two good goals.”
Western Sydney interim coach Jean-Paul de Marigny admits the Wanderers were always playing catch up after Brisbane shot off to a roaring start.
“The boys prepared well this week and I felt our energy wasn’t there from the start of the game,” de Marigny said.
“That meant they had a lot of space to play their football. They are a decent side, as we know, they are a good passing side.
“To be fair they pressed up really high early. They had good energy about that and I felt that we didn’t match that so it makes the contest a bit difficult.”
He added: “We turned over the ball too often, too early. If you do that then it is difficult to build a platform.
“But when we did it, we felt that we got behind them, we felt we were always in the game – especially after we scored the goal.
“There was a good reaction there but, at the end of the day, we got punished by turning over the ball.”
Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners
Friday, 13 March
Kick off: 6.30pm local, 7.30pm AEDT
Melbourne City v Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday, 14 March
Kick off: 7.30pm AEDT