Bowles makes most of unexpected opportunities


Versatile defender Daniel Bowles is treating the final weeks of the season as a bonus.

Fresh from a Roar Man of the Match performance against Melbourne Victory in the Hyundai A-League on Saturday night, Bowles is now in China with the Roar as they look to keep their AFC Champions League hopes alive against Beijing Guoan tomorrow night.

Two months ago, Bowles was in hospital fearing his season could be over as doctors treated a stomach complaint.

Rest and medicine did the trick and Bowles worked hard to quickly regain his fitness so he could re-join the Roar squad in the push for the finals and their bid to reach the knockout Round of 16 in the AFC Champions League.

“It was great to get back on the pitch. You take it for granted when you are healthy so I am really enjoying being back playing,” Bowles said.

The 23-year-old Bowles, who began his career with the Roar Youth then returned this season after stints with Gold Coast and Adelaide United, said he was happy to take on any role asked by Roar’s Head Coach Frans Thijssen.

“It doesn’t really matter to me where I am playing on the pitch as long as I can contribute in some way to the team,” Bowles said.

Roar Head Coach Frans Thijssen said Bowles’ adaptability across the backline was a valuable asset to the squad. 

“It is a big help for the team that you have someone who can play in different positions and it will help a lot for the last part of the season, particularly with the loss (to injury) of Luke (DeVere) and Shane (Stefanutto),” Thijssen said.

Since returning to the Roar starting line-up on March 28 against Melbourne City, Bowles has appeared in four Hyundai A-League games and came off the bench in the AFC Champions League Match Day 4 3-1 loss to Suwon Samsung FC in South Korea.

His late-season appearances include a red card against Adelaide United in Round 25 of the Hyundai A-League when Bowles made a last-man challenge on the Reds’ Nigel Boogaard, who replays showed was in an offside position. 

“The send-off was unfortunate as I had just got an opportunity to come back into the (starting) team and I got a red card that on other day mightn’t have happened,” Bowles said.

“But these things are part of football and I’ve moved on from that.”

Bowles said the Roar has everything to play for in tomorrow’s clash with Beijing Guoan (9.30pm kick off Brisbane time) and in the final round of the Hyundai A-League against Newcastle Jets at Suncorp Stadium on Friday (7.40pm kick off).

The Roar is currently third in their AFC Champions League group with four points behind leaders Beijing (10 points) and Suwon (seven points) but can force their way back into contention for the Round of 16 if they can pick up at least four points in the remaining two games and rely on other results going their way.

Brisbane also has the unexpected bonus of playing in the Hyundai A-League Finals Series as they will be promoted from seventh to sixth at the end of the regular season as part of the FFA’s sanctions on Perth Glory over salary cap findings.

“We went through a form slump but we are playing our way out of that. We have the opportunity now to play some finals football. It’s exciting,” Bowles said.

“We’ve got two more games in ACL now. All the boys are buzzing and we will be going out there and giving it our all.