Smith expecting Mariners backlash

Brisbane Roar defender Matt Smith is expecting a Central Coast backlash in Gosford on Wednesday, following the last time the two sides met at Bluetongue Stadium.

Brisbane Roar defender Matt Smith is expecting a Central Coast backlash in Gosford on Wednesday, following the last time the two sides met at Bluetongue Stadium.

At the end of November, Brisbane recorded a comprehensive 5-1 win in Gosford - a result which Smith has no doubt is still burning in the back of the minds of the Mariners players.

“We go down there with plenty of confidence, but we also go down there with quite a lot of caution,” Smith said.

"They are going to want to come out and make amends for the result from our last game down there.

“If a team came to Suncorp Stadium and beat us 5-1 and we were playing them again we-d want to make amends for it.

“They-re going to be fired up, more prepared and more aware of what we-re capable of down there.

“We-re certainly not expecting an easy ride, that-s for sure.”

Graham Arnold-s men are shaping up as a serious challenger to Brisbane-s No.1 status on top of the table and a vital three points gained against Wellington on Sunday has helped the Mariners close the gap slightly.

“Gold Coast dropped some points, we dropped some points and obviously Central Coast gained two points on us on the weekend,” Smith said.

“Regardless of what happened on the weekend, that doesn-t matter now, we just need to make sure we focus on getting the job done in Gosford.

“We-re not really focussing too much on what they do and how they do it.”

Part of that focus is an improvement on the performance from last week-s 1-1 draw with Perth Glory at Suncorp Stadium.

Brisbane were uncharacteristically sloppy with possession, particularly in the first half, in a performance coach Ange Postecoglou labelled as “ordinary” post-match.

However, Smith said he was confident Brisbane would once again lift its standards.

“We set ourselves very, very high standards and although we can-t guarantee three points each game, it is something we strive for,” he said.

“When we don-t achieve three points, even when we secure a draw, it feels more like a loss than anything else.

“The game plan won-t change, we just need to make sure we try to get it right next time.

“Again we-re just going back to the way we know we can perform and to make sure as individuals, and collectively as a team, we do the right things.”

Brisbane will return to Suncorp Stadium on Sunday to take on the Wellington Phoenix as the regular season heads towards its climax.

Kick-off for Sunday-s match is at 6pm. Tickets are available through the Ticketek website, Ticketek outlets or by calling 132 849.