North Queensland product Shane Stefanutto says Brisbane Roar are ready for the steamy conditions expected in Cairns and are determined to use their history-making clash against Wellington Phoenix to get back to winning ways.
The Round 10 Hyundai A-League match at Cazalys Stadium on Saturday, 12 December (4.15pm kick off) is the first Hyundai A-League fixture to be played in Cairns.
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Stefanutto (below), a former Socceroo with 117 Hyundai A-League appearance for the Roar, was raised in North Queensland and gained his early football educaiton there.
He says the Roar – who are scheduled to arrive in Cairns this afternoon – had been preparing for several weeks for the expected humidity by pitch watering prior to training and training through a recent hot spell in Brisbane.
“I love the conditions up there. I grew up in those conditions and I’m looking forward to Saturday, that’s for sure,” Stefanutto said.
The left back said the Roar had put behind them the disappointment of losing 2-1 to Western Sydney Wanderers last weekend, after dominating long passages of play, and the focus was firmly on beating Wellington.
The Roar is bringing it’s entire squad to Cairns.
“We’ve got very few injuries at the moment and all the boys are travelling, so it will be a good team-building exercise as well,” Stefanutto said.
He predicts an entertaining match at a packed Cazalys.
“It is important to keep playing the way we have been playing which has been good. We keep trying to improve every week,” Stefanutto said.
“We want to play the brand of football that we like to play and that’s what we have done over the previous weeks, unfortunately results haven’t gone our way. I am sure if we keep doing what we are doing results will turn.
“We just need to touch things up in the final third – just put a bit of polish on it – and I believe results will come. They will come this week and they will come for the rest of the season.
“We have the players and the style to be successful and to have a good result.”
After a meet-and-greet with local players and fans at Endeavour Park on Wednesday night, the Roar start Thursday in Cairns with a closed training session then are across the city in a series of player appearances.
These include free kickarounds in the Rebel Roar Fan Zone inflatable fields on The Esplanade, store appearances at Cairns Central and Showgrounds shopping centres and an official dinner in the evening.
The Roar’s training session on Friday at Cazalys from 7.30am is free and open to the public and will be followed by an autograph-signing session.