It’s back to the future again for Brisbane Roar when they host Newcastle Jets in an Anzac Day tribute match in Round 27 of the Hyundai A-League at Suncorp Stadium tomorrow night (7.40pm kick-off).
And attacking young duo Shannon Brady and Patrick Theodore are set to lead the Roar charge to finish the regular season with a win before the club heads to the Finals Series next weekend against an opponent to be decided on Sunday.
The two 18-year-olds were part of a youthful Roar line-up that tested likely Premiers, Melbourne Victory, in Round 26 losing only 0-1, courtesy of an unconvincing penalty in first-half stoppage time.
The Roar line-up that night, which also saw Hyundai A-League debuts given to Abrahim Yango and Luke Pavlou, was touted as a “glimpse of the future”.
With regular starters such as Thomas Broich, Luke Brattan and Matt McKay featuring in the Roar’s midweek AFC Champions League 1-0 win away to Beijing Guoan – and returning to Brisbane only this morning after a 17-hour flight – the club is expected to continue to utilise its full squad tomorrow night with its Championship defence and AFC Champions League campaigns still very much alive.
Brisbane Roar Director of Football Ken Stead said players such as Brady and Theodore were among more than a dozen graduates from the club’s youth development program who had seen first-team time in the last 18 months. He predicted they would thrill Roar members and fans for years to come.
“Both Patrick and Shannon made a strong contribution to the team (against the Victory) and what I liked is that they played their natural game,” Stead said.
“They played without fear, without the occasion getting the better of them, and they understood their roles within the team very well.”
Gold Coast-born Brady, who travelled to China with the Roar but saw no game time, is a player confident with the ball at his feet and sets his sights on goal every time he’s in possession.
In a 4-0 win over Newcastle in the pre-season Townsville Football Cup, Brady was impressive, providing the assist for the third goal and scoring the final goal against the Jets.
He’s since played five times this Hyundai A-League season and recently signed a four-year contract with the three-time Champions Roar.
Theodore, who is on a full-time youth contract, is a versatile player.
Over the past few years in the youth system, he has been deployed as an attacking midfielder but has also shown confidence in numerous positions across the Roar front line.
Last week’s match against the Victory was the former Wynnum Wolves junior’s second Hyundai A-League appearance.
“Patty’s more of a playmaker, while Shannon is confident using his pace to get past someone,” Stead explained.
“But what is consistent with the both of them is they have a great capacity for learning and are great to work with.
“In years to come, I think these two will provide a lot of excitement for the supporters.”
Historically, the Roar has found it difficult to deal with the Jets at home, winning just two of 13 matches at Suncorp Stadium since the Hyundai A-League began in 2005.
Brisbane has beaten Newcastle twice this season – a 4-0 win in Round 6 and a last-gasp 2-1 victory in Round 16 – but this is their first meeting at Suncorp Stadium in 2014/15.
Neither Theodore nor Brady has tasted victory in the seven appearances between the two of them but will fancy their luck against a Jets side that has conceded a league-high 53 goals this season.
The Roar today named an 18-man squad (with two to be omitted) that included experienced goalkeeper Michael Theo, who has been battling a serious quad tear in recent weeks after returning from a wrist break in the pre-season.
Theo trained this morning and a decision on his possible involvement against the Jets won’t be made until his recovery from that session is assessed in the morning.
Brisbane Roar FC v Newcastle Jets
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Steve Lucas; Assistant Referees: Ashley Beecham; Anton Shchetinin; Fourth Official: Alex King
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 2.Jerome POLENZ, 4.Adam SAROTA, 6.George LAMBADARIDIS, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 12.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 14.Daniel BOWLES, 20.Kofi DANNING, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 26.Lachlan JACKSON, 29.Patrick THEODORE, 31.Matthew SCHMIDT, 34.Shannon BRADY, 36.Fraser CHALMERS (gk), 37.Abrahim YANGO, 41.Luke PAVLOU, 44. Jaden WALKER **two to be omitted**
Newcastle Jets squad: 3.Taylor REGAN, 7.Enver ALIVODIC, 10.Travis COOPER, 11.Andrew HOOLE, 12.Sam GALLAGHER, 13.Edson MONTAÑO, 16.Jacob PEPPER, 18.Allan WELSH, 19.Mitch COOPER, 20.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 21.Daniel MULLEN, 22.LEE Ki-je, 26.Nicholas COWBURN, 29.Michael KANTAROVSKI, 30.John SOLARI (gk), 31.Max BURGESS
TV: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7pm, SBS HD & SBS One from 7.30pm. Radio: Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app.