When Brisbane Roar and Newcastle Jets go head to head on the Suncorp Stadium pitch tomorrow night, the match also presents an intriguing battle between two of Australia’s best footballing minds.
When Brisbane Roar and Newcastle Jets go head to head on the Suncorp Stadium pitch tomorrow night, the match also presents an intriguing battle between two of Australia-s best footballing minds.
Roar Head Coach Ange Postecoglou and his Newcastle Jets counterpart, Gary van Egmond, are the only two Australians to have led their teams to Hyundai A-League Grand Final victories.
The duo have also both played a role in the key development of the country-s best youth players, Postecoglou as coach of Australia-s U-20s side between 2000 and 2007 and van Egmond during his three-year stint as Head Coach at the Australian Institute of Sport.
The Jets- mentor has recorded just three wins from fourteen attempts since the beginning of his second stint in charge of the Newcastle-based side at the end of October but Postecoglou knows better than to underestimate his fellow coach.
“I have been following them closely because I like the way Gary van Egmond has been going about things down there,” he said.
“Obviously, he-s got a pretty clear vision in his head about how he wants to build this football club and from my point of view, that-s always attractive to me seeing other coaches work that way.
“He-s doing it his own way.
“As a coach, you-re always looking at other coaches and other codes and the ones that interest me are the ones that look like they-re trying to build something. It-s always more interesting when I see someone building something than someone looking for something more short-term.”
Brisbane will be without star striker, and the league-s leading goal scorer, Besart Berisha as the Albanian serves his one-match suspension handed down by Football Federation Australia in tomorrow night-s fixture.
His vacancy in the Roar starting eleven is likely to be filled by prolific National Youth League attacking weapon, Nick Fitzgerald, who made two appearances for the senior side against Melbourne Heart and Wellington Phoenix in early December.
“Part of what you want to be as a club is you want to reward people that work hard and he-s been in really good form and knocking on the door for a while,” Postecoglou said.
“It-s a good opportunity (for him) now particularly with the likes of Henrique, Thomas [Broich] and James [Meyer] not ready to go the full 90.
“He-s quick, he-s clever and he can score goals - when you look at the way we-ve been going, I still think our general play has been pretty good but we-re missing a spark up front, there-s no doubt about that, and hopefully he-s that spark.”
Fitzgerald took pride in his coach-s confidence, saying he felt his prior performances left him with much room for improvement against the Jets.
“I was obviously very nervous, you could tell that,” the 19-year-old said.
“I didn-t have a lot of warning but now I-ve got the opportunity, Ange has given me a week to work hard and get used to playing with the boys so now it-s my time to step up.”
Saturday, 28 January 2012 Brisbane Roar v Newcastle Jets Venue: Suncorp Stadium Local kick-off: 6:45pm (7:45pm AEDT)
Referees: Ben Williams / Dennis Silk / Brad Hobson / Alan Milliner
Head-to-Head: All matches (played 20): Brisbane Roar wins 7, Newcastle Jets wins 7 (6 draws)
TV broadcast: Fox Sports1
Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Michael Theoklitos (gk), 2. Matt Smith (c), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matt Jurman , 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paaratlu, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 9. Kofi Danning, 10. Henrique, 11. Issey Nakajima-Farran, 14. Rocky Visconte, 16. Mohamed Adnan, 17. Mitch Nichols, 18. Luke Brattan, 20. Andrew Redmayne (gk), 21. James Meyer, 22. Thomas Broich, 24. Nick Fitzgerald *two to be omitted*
In: 9. Kofi Danning (promoted), 18. Luke Brattan (promoted), 24. Nick Fitzgerald (promoted) Out: 7. Besart Berisha (suspended - 1 week) Unavailable: 19. Jack Hingert (ankle injury - 1 week)
Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Ben Kennedy (gk), 2. Taylor Regan, 4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 5. Tiago Calvano, 6. Ben Kantarovski, 8. Jeremy Brockie, 9. Michael Bridges, 10. Ruben Zadkovich, 11. Tarek Elrich, 12. Jobe Wheelhouse, 13. Byun, 14. Labinot Haliti, 17. James Virgili, 18. Marko Jesic, 19. Matthew Nash (gk), 21. Francis Jeffers, 23. Ryan Griffiths, 25. Jacob Pepper *three to be omitted*
In: 13. Byun, 25. Jacob Pepper, 17. James Virgili (all promoted) Out: Nil Unavailable: 22. Ali Abbas