Reaction: Moon 'very proud' of resolute Roar
Brisbane Roar confirmed their place in the Finals Series for the 10th time in 11 seasons when they beat Perth Glory 2-1 at Moreton Daily Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Head Coach Warren Moon faced the assembled media after full-time and was asked about how much personal pride he will take in securing a top-six finish in his first full season in charge.
“I’m very proud, very proud of what the club’s achieved, not just myself because I’m just one cog in the chain,” Moon said.
“It’s all of us, from the top down to the staff to the people behind them. We weren’t really given much chance of making the Finals, let’s be honest. I’ve said this all along, internally we believed and I believed in the squad we had and the talent we had coming through and what they can do.
“It’s one thing believing, it’s another thing going and doing it [so] tonight is validation for the whole group because we’ve achieved something.”
HIGHLIGHTS: Watch all the best bits from Wednesday's win!
Fan-favourite Riku Danzaki scored his ninth goal of the season and has become a key part of the team. Moon commented on his hopes of keeping the loanee on board.
“We’ve got big plans to keep him,” Moon said. “He likes it here, he wants to stay, but obviously he has to weigh up his future.
“There’s a lot to be sorted out because it’s not a straightforward matter. But he’s very popular here with the group, he loves it here, and we’ll see what happens in the off-season.”
The Roar know three points at home to Sydney FC this weekend would secure third spot along with a home Elimination Final, but will have to balance that objective with the importance of keeping the squad fresh following a mammoth run of fixtures.
“It’s a fine balance now,” Moon said. “There are some that are going to need a rest. I need to pay special mention to Corey Brown tonight.
“He was heroic in everything he did. He was on the floor at half-time, wasn’t going to return, needed medical attention from the doctor. To put in that performance in the second half, that’s what this club’s all about, that’s what this group’s all about.
“They just keep turning up because there was a lot at stake tonight and, like I said, what he showed to our group tonight was heroic.”
Brown’s outstanding effort was matched by his defensive colleagues including Kai Trewin, who shone again in the middle of the back three.
“The moment I came in [to the club] and saw Kai, I knew he was a good player,” the Brisbane boss said.
“We tried him in midfield last year when needed, but we know where he’s best suited. He’s just growing as a footballer and he’s only going to get better.”
Filling in as captain for the injured Tom Aldred, star midfielder Jay O’Shea attended the post-match Fox Sports interview and had plenty of praise for the spirit, ability and resilience of his team.
“They had a few good chances in the first half. I thought we dealt with them well,” O’Shea said.
“[Jamie Young] made a couple of good saves. We came out for the second half knowing we had to win to put us in the Finals so that’s what we did.
“We’ve got a great team spirit and that’s only going to help us going into the Finals.”
The Roar play Sydney FC at 3:05pm on Saturday with a top-four finish on the line.