Brisbane Roar Head Coach John Aloisi says excitement has hit fever pitch within the Roar squad, with one day remaining until the club’s season opening Hyundai A-League match.
Less than 36 hours remain until the Roar return to Suncorp Stadium, a venue sides feared travelling to during last campaign, to take on Melbourne Victory in a blockbuster clash on Friday night (6:50pm KO).
“After a long off-season, the boys just can’t wait for the first game and to be at home in front of our supporters in a big game against the Victory is exciting,” Aloisi said.
“Everyone knows how good our record is at Suncorp Stadium, we want to start well again this season.”
Aloisi today named his first squad for the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 season, which features five new faces.
Socceroo legend Brett Holman and Danish International Thomas Kristensen ( below) are joined by Jacob Pepper, Nathan Konstandopoulos and Joey Katebian in the Roar’s extended 18-man squad.
Experienced central defender Luke DeVere will make his long-awaited return from injury, which saw him miss the entire 2015/16 Hyundai A-League campaign.
“Luke has worked really hard in the off-season and he’s been unfortunate with some of his injuries,” Aloisi said.
“He’s had a long layoff but he has shown in our recent friendly matches against Perth Glory and NPL Queensland Select that he’s ready to go.”
Captain Matt McKay will make Brisbane Roar Football Club history becoming the first player to play 200 Hyundai A-League games for the club.
The Brisbane born and bred midfielder whose career has spanned 12 seasons and has included two Hyundai A-League Championships believes the current squad has the character and ability to be successful.
“I’ve been at the club for a long time and to get to 200 games is pretty special,” McKay said.
“The focus is to make this season successful both personally and for the club.
“We want to be successful and the new players have bought into that and as a playing group we have great characters – that will show this year.”
The Roar made Suncorp Stadium a fortress last season, winning 10 of their 13 games at home. McKay says it’s important to ensure sides fear coming to Brisbane.
“We always have good clashes with the Victory and we have a great record at Suncorp Stadium,” McKay said.
“Teams don’t like coming up here and we’re going to make it as difficult as possible for sides to play there.
“To play in the season opener is special for us, especially at home. The first game of the season is always memorable and we’re looking forward to the challenge.
“We’re both good sides and it makes for an entertaining game.”
Aloisi says reaching 200 Hyundai A-League appearances is an incredible achievement for McKay who leads by example both on and off the pitch.
“He’s had a great career and he’s a great club man and Queenslander,” Aloisi said.
“With players like Matt we win a lot of games at the end and know that we’ll always be in the game no matter what the score is.”
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Daniel BOWLES, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Brett HOLMAN, 11.Tommy OAR, 13.Jade NORTH, 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS 17.Matt McKay (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 26.Nicholas D’AGOSTINO, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 33.Joey KATEBIAN **two to be omitted**
Unavailable : Dimitri Petratos (ankle, two weeks), Connor O’Toole (international duty)
Melbourne Victory squad: 2.Jason GERIA, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Besart BERISHA, 10.James TROISI, 11.Mitch AUSTIN, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Alan BARO, 17.James DONACHIE, 19.George HOWARD, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 22.Stefan NIGRO, 23.Jai INGHAM, 27.Alastair BRAY (gk) **two to be omitted**
Friday 7 October 2016
Brisbane Roar FC v Melbourne Victory
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-Off: 6:50PM (Local) (7:50PM (AEDT))
Referee: Shaun Evans
Assistant Referee 1: Ashley Beecham
Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Lindsay
Fourth Official: Jarred Gillett