Stefanutto revels in derby day delight

Derby day in any corner of the world generates plenty of excitement and it was no different for self-proclaimed “old head” Shane Stefanutto as Brisbane Roar prepares to take on local rivals Gold Coast United at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

Derby day in any corner of the world generates plenty of excitement and it was no different for self-proclaimed “old head” Shane Stefanutto as Brisbane Roar prepares to take on local rivals Gold Coast United at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

The 31-year-old was like a kid in a candy shop as he discussed the build up to the match with Brisbane-s closest rivals.

“It-s great that it-s a derby game this week,” Stefanutto said.

“I know the fans love it, the players love it, I think it-s fantastic and we just can-t wait for it to happen.

“It-s going to be a high quality, good tempo game which should be exciting.”

Many pundits have written off Gold Coast-s chances of making the finals this season, but Stefanutto wasn-t among those willing to dismiss their chances this early in the season.

Both sides will be defending an unbeaten start to the season at Suncorp, with Brisbane having notched two wins and Gold Coast two draws.

Stefanutto maintained the men in orange would need to once again be on top of their game to continue their strong start to the season.

“I think they-ve gone a little bit under the radar,” he said.

“So far they-ve only picked up two points from two draws, but I think they-ve been a little bit unlucky.

“They-ve brought in some young players, they-ve given some young players an opportunity and they-re a little bit like us last season.

“We-re not underestimating them because we know on their day they have some very good players.

“If we drop our guard against them for a second, anyone can beat us.”

Ange Postecoglou will have some selection headaches ahead of the match with Brazilian winger Henrique back to full fitness and pushing hard for a place in Friday-s match day squad.

Henrique suffered an injury in the lead-up to the opening match of the season, but has this week proven he is back to full fitness with some strong performances on the training track.

Whoever Postecoglou selects, Stefanutto has no doubt it won-t change the team dynamic.

“Across our squad there are four, five or six players that can (slot into a starting position),” he said.

“There-s a lot of depth in our squad this year and a lot of competition for places.

“Personnel changes will no doubt happen, we-ve got a lot of games and AFC Champions League as well so we-re going to need all of our squad.

“I wouldn-t like to be an opposition fullback, that-s for sure.

“You might have Ricky for 60 or 70 minutes and then someone like Kofi Danning comes on and he-s just as quick and is fresh.”

Brisbane Roar v Gold Coast United Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Local kick-off: 7.30pm Referee: Peter Green AR 1/2: Dennis Silk/Brad Hobson 4th official: Alan Milliner

Head-to-Head: All matches (played 6): Brisbane Roar wins 1, Gold Coast United wins 3 (2 draws)

Brisbane Roar Squad: 1. Michael Theoklitos (Gk), 2. Matt Smith (Capt.), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matt Jurman, 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paaratlu, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 9. Kofi Danning, 10. Henrique, 11. Issey Nakajima-Farran, 16. Mohamed Adnan, 17. Mitch Nichols, 20. Andrew Redmayne, 21. James Meyer, 22. Thomas Broich *one to be omitted*

In: Henrique (Promoted) Out: Nil Unavailable: 12. Matt Mundy (Knee Injury - 2 Weeks), 14. Rocky Visconte (Hamstring Strain - 2 Weeks)

Gold Coast United Squad: 1.Glen MOSS [gk], 2.Josh BRILLANTE, 3.Michael THWAITE (c), 5.Kristian REES, 6.Paul BEEKMANS, 7.Golgol MEBRAHTU, 8.ROBSON, 9.Joel PORTER, 10.Tahj MINNIECON, 12.Dylan MACALLISTER, 13.Ante ROZIC, 14.Ben HALLORAN, 15.Adama TRAORE, 16.Maceo RIGTERS, 18.James BROWN, 20.Jerrad TYSON [gk], 21.Daniel SEVERINO, 22.Peter JUNGSCHLAGER, 23.Dylan MCGOWAN. *four to be omitted*

In: 7.Golgol MEBRAHTU (promoted), 10.Tahj MINNIECON (promoted), 16.Maceo RIGTERS (visa clearance), 21.Daniel SEVERINO (promoted). Out: Nil Unavailable: 19.Chris BROADFOOT (ankle injury - 6 weeks)