Shane Stefanutto has provided an intriguing insight into the positive mood and renewed determination within the Brisbane Roar dressing room as the squad prepares to play Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium on Friday night.
Thanks to a thrilling 3-2 come-from-behind win over Wellington Phoenix at Suncorp Stadium on Monday night, the Roar has closed the gap in its bid to get back into the top six and defend its Hyundai A-League crown.
Stefanutto predicted the gutsy finish – Jean Carlos Solorzano’s winner came in stoppage time – was the beginning of an exciting new phase for the Roar after a period of transition in the first half of the season.
“Coming back from 2-2 (to win 3-2) had everyone saying that it was the old Brisbane Roar. I think it’s a bit early to be talking like that but for the team and for a little bit of momentum it was a really good start,” Stefanutto said.
“We want to get back to what made us successful, that is our passing game, our pressure, our possession and that never-give-up spirit.
“I don’t believe (our team spirit) has ever gone, but like everything, from time to time it ebbs and flows.
“I think the (AFC Asian Cup) break was fantastic for us. All the boys knuckled down, we worked really hard, we’ve brought in signings, it’s just been positive, positive, positive … and we topped that off with a pretty solid performance on Monday.
“But if we don’t do the business again on Friday night, all that hard work counts for very little.”
Despite a tumultuous week in Newcastle which saw the departure of Jets players and staff, Stefanutto still rates tomorrow night as a danger game.
“None of us knows internally what’s going on there. It could make them a tight-knit group, they could come out and be really determined. We just have to focus on ourselves,” he said.
“We just have to put in another good 90-minute performance and hope the result takes care of itself.”
On Monday night Stefanutto, usually a left fullback, covered for the suspended Jade North in the centre of the Roar defence. He is in contention to fill the same role again tomorrow night but North is available again and is in the squad that travelled to Newcastle today.
Stefanutto concedes competition for starting line-up places is now intense.
“There are now more than two players for every position who can do the job required,” he said.
“Our squad is so strong now which is great. Whoever gets the opportunity (tomorrow night) will do the job, I’m sure.”
Friday, 6 February 2015
Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar FC
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Kick-Off: 7:40pm local time (6.40pm Brisbane time)
Referee: Chris Beath
TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT), Live Coverage on SBS HD & SBS One from 7.30pm AEDT and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 1233 ABC Newcastle, 612 ABC Brisbane & ABC Local Radio QLD, Grandstand Digital, Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app
Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Jess VANSTRATTAN (Gk), 2.Scott NEVILLE, 3.Taylor REGAN (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 8.Zenon CARAVELLA, 10.Travis COOPER, 11.Andrew HOOLE, 12.Sam GALLAGHER, 13.Edson MONTANO, 16.Jacob PEPPER, 18.Allan WELSH, 19.Mitch COOPER, 20.Ben KENNEDY (Gk), 21.Daniel MULLEN, 22.Lee KI-JE (visa pending), 26.Nicholas COWBURN, 27.Radovan PAVICEVIC *one to be omitted*
Ins: 1.Jess VANSTRATTAN (Gk) (new signing), 3.Taylor REGAN (promoted), 10.Travis COOPER (new signing), 19.Mitch COOPER (promoted), 21.Daniel MULLEN (new signing), 22.Lee KI-JE (new signing), 26.Nicholas COWBURN (promoted)
Outs: Mark BIRIGHITTI (Gk) (on loan – AS Varese), 4.Kew JALIENS (omitted), 6.Adrian MADASCHI (omitted), 9.Joel GRIFFITHS (omitted), 14.Billy CELESKI (omitted), 23.David CARNEY (omitted)
Unavailable: 15.Joshua BARRESI (knee – season), 17.James VIRGILI (ankle – 8 weeks)
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 2.Jerome POLENZ, 3.Shane STEFANUTTO, 4.Adam SAROTA, 5.Corey BROWN, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 12.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 13.Jade NORTH, 14.Daniel BOWLES, 15.James DONACHIE, 17.Matt McKAY (c), 18.Luke BRATTAN, 20.Kofi DANNING, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 28.Brandon BORRELLO
Ins: 13.Jade NORTH (return from suspension)
Outs: 16.Devante CLUT (omitted)
Unavailable: 6.George LAMBADARIDIS (knee – 2 weeks), 10.HENRIQUE (calf – 2 weeks), 23.Dimitri PETRATOS (knee – 3 weeks)