Roar out to make most of venue switch


It is a ground rich in sporting traditions and Brisbane Roar is on a mission to add another chapter to the venue’s storied history when they play Adelaide United in an Hyundai A-League Elimination Final at the Adelaide Oval on Friday.

And two former Adelaide players now in the Roar squad – Steven Lustica and Daniel Bowles – believe the decision to move the game from the Reds’ Coopers Stadium to the larger capacity Oval could work in Brisbane’s favour.

Adelaide United Head Coach Josep Gombau has already expressed his disappointment over the venue switch and believes his side’s home-ground advantage has been eroded.

Lustica, who played with the Reds for much of season 2013-14 before returning to the Roar, agreed that Adelaide United would have preferred to play at Coopers Stadium.

“They have had so much success there in the past few years,” Lustica said.

“It could be an advantage for us playing at Adelaide Oval.”

Bowles spent two years with Adelaide United after Gold Coast United folded and said playing at Adelaide Oval would be a mystery for both teams.

“Hindmarsh (Coopers Stadium) is a great little stadium and it’s been good for us every time we have played there,” Bowles said.

“It will something different for both teams playing at Adelaide Oval. It will be a great atmosphere for both of us. Hopefully there will be a good crowd and we can look forward to that.”

The record shows Adelaide United might benefit from playing the Roar away from Coopers Stadium. Brisbane has seven wins and one draw in the two clubs’ last eight meetings there.

But Adelaide United’s limited record at the Oval is also not heartening.

More than 33,000 fans packed the Oval in October last year to see Adelaide United draw 1-1 with Melbourne Victory. There was a 23,000-plus crowd when the Reds lost 1-5 to Spain’s Malaga there last July.

Both Lustica and Bowles say they always look forward to playing against their former club – and even more so this week with so much at stake in the knockout Elimination Final.

“It is always exciting to play against your old club and even nicer to get a win against them,” Bowles said.

Lustica said he had enjoyed his time in Adelaide and still had a lot of friends there. But a win for the Roar on Friday was his only focus this week, he said.

“Anything can happen in the Finals. If we win the next game then we are only one game away from the Grand Final,” he said.

“We have just got to make sure we are prepared right and fully concentrated and motivated for the game.”

Lustica was the Roar’s Man of the Match in last Friday’s 2-1 Hyundai A-League Round 27 match against Newcastle Jets.

He hit the woodwork twice and dominated midfield.

“I am happy with my performance at the weekend but most of all I was happy the team played well and that we won,” Lustica said.

“A lot of the young boys stepped up and it was really pleasing to see the way we played.”

Lustica admits it is a tough task to break into the Roar Starting XI with the squad including talented midfielders such as Socceroo Matt McKay, international marquee Thomas Broich and in-form Luke Brattan.

“There is quality all over the field,” Lustica said.

“It is up to the coach if he thinks I am good enough to be in the Starting XI or not. That’s not my decision That’s his decision.

“All I can do is train and when I get the chance, keep putting in good performances.”

The only way to truly experience Our Beautiful Game at its most beautiful is to be at the Finals Series. 

To find out everything you need to know about purchasing Finals Series tickets, including the Roar’s game at the Adelaide Oval on Friday, go to //bit.ly/1IZoGh5

Tickets to the Roar’s high-anticipated Wednesday, 3 June game against Spanish La Liga side Villarreal are now also on sale for the general public after last week’s Members and Football Family pre-purchase period.

To secure your Suncorp Stadium seats for Brisbane Roar versus Villarreal, go to ticketek.com.au