Thomas Kristensen believes the opening weekend of Hyundai A-League action was a perfect advertisement for Australian football.
The 2016/17 season kicked off with a record crowd across the opening weekend’s five matches with Luke DeVere’s last-gasp equaliser for the Roar one of many headline moments.
The Danish international says the weekend’s matches displayed the high-quality football and exhilarating entertainment that the Hyundai A-League can produce.
“I think last weekend was a great example for the [Hyundai] A-League to show the world where the competition has improved in the last five or so years," he said.
“Personally, and after speaking to other Danish players, they weren’t expecting such high quality and I think a lot of players will come to Australia and think they can enjoy the nice weather and play some football.
“I’ve never been so fit and you have to work hard because the players are talented top athletes, every one of them.
“There were great goals and big comebacks. There was everything in the first round.”
Kristensen made his competitive Brisbane Roar debut in Friday’s night season opener against Melbourne Victory in a solid 90 minutes which drew praise from a number of Roar supporters (below).
He says he enjoyed the encounter as it was a tight contest fought hard by two sides wanting to play attractive football.
“We would have liked to start the season with three points, but in the circumstances the late equaliser felt a little bit like a win for us,” he said.
“I think the game against Melbourne showed a bit of how we’re looking to play throughout the season and I liked that because it was two good teams looking to play football.
“You sometimes have to adapt to the opponent which I think we did. We found where the outlets were and where our opportunities were going to come from and then started pressing and creating chances.”
I reckon we've struck a gem in @Thomas_TK_16. Looked very composed on the ball, well played.— Angus B (@Good_ol_Gusnuts) October 7, 2016
The Roar’s second match against Newcastle Jets on Sunday (4pm KO Qld time) at McDonald Jones Stadium will see Kristensen come against fellow countryman Morten Nordstrand, with whom he played a substantial part of his Danish football career alongside.
Brisbane’s number seven says he’s looking forward to playing against his close friend in another new environment.
“Our parents know each other, we played together for three clubs in Denmark and the national team and now we’re playing against each other on the other side of the world. That’s pretty amazing,” he said.
“It’s difficult to speak to family and friends back home so we speak to each other quite a bit.
“After playing for 10 years in Denmark I knew all of the stadiums, all of the coaches and all of the referees so every game is exciting for me now, playing against new teams in new stadiums."
Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar FC
McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Kick-Off: 5:00PM (Local) (4:00PM QLD time)
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Daniel BOWLES, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Brett HOLMAN, 11.Tommy OAR, 13.Jade NORTH (c), 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 26.Nicholas D’AGOSTINO, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 33.Joey KATEBIAN, 37.Mark RODIC **two to be omitted**
Ins: 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS (promoted), 26.Nicholas D’AGOSTINO (promoted), 37.Mark RODIC (promoted)
Outs: 17.Matt MCKAY (suspended – 1 week)
Unavailable: 23.Dimitri PETRATOS (ankle – 1 week), 24.Connor O’TOOLE (International duty – 3 weeks)
Newcastle Jets squad: 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 10.Wayne BROWN, 11.Labinot HALITI, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 14.Mitch COOPER, 15.Andrew NABBOUT, 16.Nick COWBURN, 19.Morten NORDSTRAND, 20.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.Devante CLUT, 30.Pierce CLARK (gk)
Ins: 8.Mateo POLJAK (returns from injury), 14.Mitch COOPER (promoted), 19.Morten NORDSTRAND (returns from injury)
Outs: 2.Daniel MULLEN (knee – indefinite), 3.Jason HOFFMAN (calf – 1-2 weeks), 9.Aleksandr KOKKO (achilles – 1-2 weeks)
Unavailable: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk) (achilles – season), 21.Daniel ALESSI (knee – season)
Referee: Peter Green
Assistant Referee 1: Lance Greenshields
Assistant Referee 2: Kearney Robinson
Fourth Official: Kurt Ams