Brisbane Roar have begun their preparations for Sunday's Semi-Final against the Wanderers with a training session today in which the entire squad participated.
Several Roar players took heavy knocks in the 2-1 Elimination Final win over a physical Melbourne Victory which Head Coach John Aloisi afterwards politely described as an "intense" clash.
Roar captain Matt McKay and left back Corey Brown (below) were both lucky to escape serious injury from wayward tackles – but in a boost for this week's preparations, both completed today's 60-minute training session.
If selected it will be McKay's 199th Hyundai A-League game for the club. Brown played his 50th game for the club last weekend.
Today's session was mostly about load management with players who completed 90 minutes on Friday doing a lot of stretching, light running and finishing off with a game of football tennis.
The remainder of the squad did high-intensity passing drills and small-sided games.
With the longer turn-around to this weekend's match, the Roar have four more training sessions to prepare for Western Sydney in what will be a sell-out game at Pirtek Stadium.
“We’ve played two good games down at Pirtek and we match up really well against the Wanderers," Aloisi said.
The Roar beat the Wanderers 3-2 in Round 22 at Suncorp Stadium on 4 March and 3-1 in Round 1 at Pirtek Stadium on 8 October but lost 2-1 in Round 9 at Pirtek Stadium on 5 December.
"We were good that was probably our best away performance," Aloisi said of the 2-1 loss in Round 9.
"We will take that with us . . . we're confident against the Wanderers we can put in a good performance again."
Further good news for the Roar is that leading goal-scoring Jamie Maclaren (below) also seems to be a good match-up against the Wanderers.
He has scored five goals in the three Hyundai A-League matches against Western Sydney so far this season.
The mood at training was extremely upbeat today after Friday night's heart-stopping comeback win.
Aloisi said it was no surprise to him that his players snatched the victory in injury time.
"We always believe that we can win that's the thing that we've got," he said.
"No matter what happens in the football game we go right to the end.
"We have shown all season that we are a side that can beat anyone."
And although the Roar were on the back foot in the first 45 minutes against the Victory, Aloisi says finals football is different and his team rose to the challenge by playing right to the final whistle.
"It was an off night, the first half . .. we won't have two in a row," he said.
"The best team in the world can't play well all season, but we found a way to win.
"We will now go to Wanderers and stick to our structures and play the way we know how to play and hopefully we will get the result we want again."
Last Friday's attendance of 20,157 took the season cumulative home atteance total over 200,000 for an average of 13.337 - up from 11,660 the previous season.