Huge prize on the line for Battle of Suncorp

The huge prize of guaranteed Hyundai A-League finals action will be a huge Easter carrot for both teams in tomorrow night’s blockbuster clash at Suncorp Stadium, according to Brisbane Roar Head Coach Mike Mulvey.

The huge prize of guaranteed Hyundai A-League finals action will be a huge Easter carrot for both teams in tomorrow night-s blockbuster clash at Suncorp Stadium, according to Brisbane Roar Head Coach Mike Mulvey.

The State of Origin-style clash with Sydney FC will have added spice as both sides know three points will see them participate in the pointy end of the season.

Brisbane currently sit in fifth place, ahead of Sydney in sixth on goal difference. Just one point behind the two protagonists for tomorrow-s match are Perth Glory and the Newcastle Jets, making for an intense battle for the final two finals places.

As an added bonus, two of the league-s best attacking weapons in Brisbane-s Besart Berisha (13 goals) and Sydney-s Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero (13 goals) will be on show, with both teams likely commit resources to attack in search of the win.

Mulvey said he was relishing the prospect of pitting his side against the improving Sky Blues in front of a parochial home crowd.

“I think there-s a big prize for the team that gets three points, it-s automatic qualification and you can rest easy for a couple of nights otherwise you-re on tenterhooks worrying about the other results,” Mulvey said.

“It-s always good to have your destiny in your own hands.

“I said a couple of weeks ago we were coming to the stage of the season where we-re in finals mode and we had a good advantage because we were playing at home.

“We need to drive that advantage right into Sydney.

“Everybody-s fit, everybody wants to play. You don-t want to miss this game, this is State of Origin stuff.

“Hopefully we get a big crowd out there, they-ve been fantastic for us the past couple of games, they-ve been our 12th man.

“If they can get out there tomorrow night, we-re going to put on a show for them.

“If there-s one thing I can feel from training is that the players are ready to go.

“We need to make sure we-re up for it, which I-m sure we will be, and certainly with the support of the crowd, it could be a good night for us.”

Qantas Socceroo Jade North will return to the squad fresh, having been an unused substitute in Tuesday night-s 2-2 draw with Oman in Sydney.

His inclusion is likely to be the only change to the starting XI for the match as Mulvey searches for a full 90-minute performance in the club-s biggest match since last season-s Grand Final.

“Jade has proven he-s a big game player,” Mulvey said.

“He-s already an A-League winner.

“He spoke to me yesterday and told me he was itching to get back.

“His experience will be very, very important tomorrow.”

Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC Thursday, 28 March 2013 Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Kick-off: 7pm Referee: Peter Green Tickets available at Ticketek

Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Michael Theo (gk), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matt Jurman, 5. Ivan Franjic, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 9. Stef Nijland, 10. Henrique, 11. Ben Halloran, 13. Jade North, 14. Steven Lustica, 15. James Donachie, 17. Mitch Nichols, 18. Luke Brattan, 19. Jack Hingert, 20. Matt Acton (gk), 22. Thomas Broich (c), 25. George Lambadaridis, 26. Corey Brown (Four to be omitted)

Ins: 4. Matt Jurman (promoted), 8. Massimo Murdocca (promoted), 13. Jade North (returns from international duty), 25. George Lambadaridis (promoted) Outs: Nil Unavailable: 2. Matt Smith (hip - season)