Kiwi Kosta eyes Australia Day victory

Kiwi Kosta Barbarouses looking for Australia Day challenge.

Kosta Barbarouses may be a proud and patriotic New Zealander but the young striker has his sights firmly set on three points when Brisbane Roar take on his former club Wellington Phoenix next week on Australia Day.

The 20-year-old was born and bred in the city of Wellington before his move across the Tasman prior to the current Hyundai A-League season and has played for New Zealand at Under 15, Under 17, Under 20 and Under 23 levels.

His representative duties have included wearing the captain-s armband in New Zealand's U17 FIFA World Cup campaign in 2007 - an honour he describes as his best personal football moment to date.

With the New Zealand Football Federation already confirming seven fixtures over the course of the year, Barbarouses also has high hopes of adding to his one All Whites cap in 2011 and sees Wednesday-s fixture as a prime opportunity to showcase his talents in front of Phoenix and All Whites boss Ricki Herbert.

“I didn-t even know next Wednesday was Australia Day to be honest!” Barbarouses said with a laugh after training.

“It will be good to play Wellington again, we-ve beaten them twice this year and it was especially good to go home and beat them as well.

“Hopefully we can make it three in a row because we really need the three points as well.

“I personally prefer the mid-week games, getting as many games under my belt as I can.

“I don-t know about the rest of the boys but as a young player, it-s been great to get so many games in such a short amount of time.”

Barbarouses had to make do with limited game time throughout his three seasons as a Phoenix player, making 21 appearances, mostly off the substitutes- bench, and scoring just twice in the process.

However, this Hyundai A-League season has been a different story for the young striker, flourishing within the new style of football adopted by coach Ange Postecoglou with confidence levels at an all-time high following the Brisbane mentor-s faith in signing him to a multi-year deal prior to season start.

A telling indication of his talent, Barbarouses has scored 10 goals so far this season, joint second in the competition behind Adelaide United hitman Sergio van Dijk with fellow youngster Robbie Kruse, Central Coast-s Matt Simon and teammate Jean Carlos Solorzano.

With that in mind, the New Zealander hasn-t found the back of the net in his past three outings but has an enviable record against his former employers, scoring against them in both encounters this season.

“I haven-t scored in a few games now but I don-t really care who I score against, I just think it-s time for me to get back on the scoresheet,” he said.

“We-ve been working on things that we can improve on from our past few games, like our shape.

“We-ve had one tough session this week and we-ve got another one tomorrow so we-ll be primed for Wednesday.”

After the severe weather conditions over the past week in south-east Queensland, Brisbane Roar confirmed yesterday that the team-s next two Hyundai A-League fixtures would take place down at Skilled Park, Robina.

While admitting the change of venue was an obstacle, Barbarouses pointed out the team had overcome greater challenges during their rise to the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder.

“We-ve been very good at home, haven-t lost there yet this season,” he said.

“It-ll be a bit of a loss because everyone in the team loves playing at Suncorp.

“Obviously it-s out of our hands and there-s nothing we can do about to but to be honest, we-ve probably had worse thrown at us this year so we-ll move on with it and do our best.”

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