COUNTDOWN: DeVere to hit the ground running

For the first time in many seasons, experienced defender Luke DeVere will hit the ground running in the opening round following an uninterrupted pre-season.

The 28-year-old, who was a key part of the back four last season, has featured in the majority of the Roar’s pre-season fixtures and is relieved in part to be available for Friday night’s Hyundai A-League opener against Melbourne City.

“It has been a long time coming for me. I’ve been looking forward to have a nice run into a season to get a good base under myself,” DeVere said.

“I’m happy with how pre-season has gone and positive about what this season can bring.”

Many will remember the impact DeVere had in the opening round clash last season.

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Despite falling backwards in a sea of players, he stuck a boot out and left Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas dumbfounded as the ball nestled in the back of the net for a 96th minute equaliser.

“Last year was great given I had had a year out of football and came back in, we got a decent result and I scored so late on,” he added.

“I’m not looking to emulate that so much, hopefully we can put on a good performance, put into place what we’ve been working on and get the season off to a positive start.”

The Melbourne City squad that will take the field at AAMI Park on Friday night won’t feature Socceroo legend Tim Cahill or potent striker Bruno Fornaroli, but that won’t change the Roar’s approach to the game.

“The Brisbane Roar way is to look within ourselves first and this week will be no different. We will be looking to get off to a good start regardless of who steps out on the pitch for them,” DeVere said.

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Despite only playing six games during the 2014-15 season, and then missing the entire 2015-16 campaign, DeVere is closing in on becoming the 12th player to play 100 Hyundai A-League games in the Brisbane orange.

He enters the new campaign with 96 league appearances under his belt, and has taken it upon himself to help some of the club’s fresher faces settle in, being noticeably vocal at training during pre-season.

“Every year I try to develop my game and different attributes. From an early age, I’ve always tried to stamp myself on a game in one way or another,” he said.

“Being a bit more vocal is just another way of helping some of the younger players and given a bit of direction.”