Head Coach John Aloisi says there’s plenty to be excited about for BRFC fans ahead of Sunday’s Hyundai A-League opener against the Mariners.
Aloisi’s men transition from a lengthy pre-season into a fresh campaign against the Gosford-based outfit this Sunday at Suncorp Stadium, and the Head Coach says a promising off-season has his side well poised.
“The fans will be excited this season - we’re going to play football that’s good to watch and they’ll see that on Sunday,” Aloisi said at the official pre-game press conference.
“I know it takes time for chemistry to build, but our players have been here from early on, and you can see in the last few weeks that the understanding is really going well.
“If there’s one thing we are this season it’s that we’re extremely fit. Everyone knows the weather in Brisbane is hard to handle - opposition sides hate coming here and our players will relish that.
“It’s been a long pre-season, but a good one, and everyone can’t wait until Sunday.”
Central Coast will bring a number of fresh faces to Brisbane, as well some well-known figures including former Roar attacker Tommy Oar and former Aston Villa & Melbourne City striker Ross McCormack.
“They’ve made a number of good signings and we have to be aware of their qualities. We have to stop their crosses, because they have players like Tommy Oar, and their fullbacks who get forward, and cross the ball very well,” Aloisi continued.
“Like any team, they have their qualities and their weaknesses and it’s up to us to exploit those weaknesses.”
The Roar will be looking to kick-start the season on the front foot and history is on the hosts’ side. The Mariners haven’t left Suncorp Stadium with three points since April 2014 and haven’t toppled the Roar at any venue in the last 12 meetings.
A first-half strike from fan-favourite Henrique proved the difference when the sides last met in Brisbane in May.
Aloisi’s 18-man squad, which was named on Thursday, features six players in contention to make their BRFC debut.
One of those is Spanish midfielder Alex Lopez, who’s ready & raring to take the pitch having not played a competitive fixture since the end of the European season.
“I feel good. Before coming to Brisbane, I was training in Spain with Racing Ferrol, my old team, and I’m feeling good going into the first game,” Lopez said.
I am very excited - I can’t wait for the season to start. We have a good team, we play good football and I feel like we’re ready for a strong season.”
Hyundai A-League Round 1: Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Sunday, 21 October (4pm KO)
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Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Brendan WHITE (gk), 4.Daniel BOWLES, 6.Avram PAPADOPOULOS, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 9.Adam TAGGART, 11.Eric BAUTHEAC (below), 13.Stefan MAUK, 14.Alex LOPEZ, 15.Stefan NIGRO, 17.Matt MCKAY (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Tobias MIKKELSEN, 23.Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 24.Connor O’TOOLE, 26.Nicholas D’AGOSTINO, 33.HENRIQUE **two to be omitted**
Unavailable: 2.Dane Ingham (ankle - 3 weeks), 10.Brett HOLMAN (knee – TBC)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 3.Jack CLISBY, 4.Jake McGING, 5.Antony GOLEC, 6.Tom HIARIEJ, 8.Michael McGLINCHEY, 10.Tommy OAR, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Adam PEARCE (gk), 13.Aiden O’NEILL, 15.Kye ROWLES, 16.Josh MACDONALD, 18.Matt MILLAR, 19.Matt SIMON (c), 20.Kalifa CISSE, 22.Jacob MELLING, 25.Jordan MURRAY, 44.Ross McCORMACK **two to be omitted**
Unavailable: 2.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS (ACL), 7.Andrew HOOLE (foot injury), Corey GAMEIRO (Hamstring)
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referee 1: Nathan MacDonald
Assistant Referee 2: Anton Shchetinin
Fourth Official: Adam Kersey
VAR: Craig Zetter