Top clash just the tonic


Brisbane Roar gloveman Michael Theoklitos believes this weekend’s top-of-the-table clash against the in-form Central Coast Mariners at Suncorp Stadium is exactly what the team needs to move out of their form slump and back into the winners’ circle.

Brisbane Roar gloveman Michael Theoklitos believes this weekend-s top-of-the-table clash against the in-form Central Coast Mariners at Suncorp Stadium is exactly what the team needs to move out of their form slump and back into the winners- circle.

The Roar have lost their past three league outings against Sydney FC, Melbourne Heart and Wellington Phoenix but are well known for their ability to rise to the big occasion and tomorrow night-s blockbuster is sure to bring out the best in the current Hyundai A-League champions.

Uncharacteristically, Brisbane have failed to score in two of those three winless matches and have conceded six while in the same time frame, the Mariners have found the back of the net eight times and conceding just once.

That means the teams are equal on points at the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder but Graham Arnold and his players have one game in hand.

“Every time we play Central Coast there is plenty of entertainment,” Theoklitos said.

“Obviously, they-re going to be confident, they-ve been in great form themselves and we-ve lost the past three games.

“In saying that, we-re back at Suncorp where we love to play and we-ll be looking to turn things around tomorrow night.”

Head Coach Ange Postecoglou will be without the same five players that missed Wednesday-s Wellington Phoenix game with injury – Thomas Broich, James Meyer, Matt Smith, Henrique and Luke Brattan – and revealed he is yet to make a decision about tomorrow night-s starting line-up.

Rocky Visconte and Kofi Danning started against the Phoenix at the expense of Massimo Murdocca and Nick Fitzgerald but was conscious of their workload given the close proximity of the two games.

Postecoglou admitted the absence of their usual confidence in the attacking third was a key contributor to their recent results but backed his side to put things right against the Central Coast.

“I thought we played well on Wednesday night, particularly in the first half an hour or so,” he said.

“We-re just lacking goals at the moment and that-s what we-ve got to address but once we start scoring again, which I don-t think is too far off, the goals will keep coming.”

Brisbane Roar face Central Coast Mariners in a double header tomorrow at Suncorp Stadium.

The National Youth League sides kick off just after 4pm while the Hyundai A-League teams do battle at 6.45pm. Gates open from 4pm. Tickets available at the gate or at Ticketek.

Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners
Saturday 17 December 2011
Suncorp Stadium
<>Local Kick Off: 6:45pm

Referee: Peter Green / Assistant Ref 1: Ashley Beecham / Assistant Ref 2: Brad Hobson / 4th Official: Adam Kersey

TV Broadcast: Fox Sports 1
Radio broadcaster: Coast FM 96.3

Head-to-Head: All matches (played 24): Brisbane Roar wins 12, Central Coast Mariners
wins 3 (9 draws)

Brisbane Roar Squad: 1.Michael Theoklitos (GK), 3.Shane Stefanutto (C), 4.Matt Jurman , 5.Ivan Franjic, 6.Erik Paaratlu, 7.Besart Berisha, 8.Massimo Murdocca, 9.Kofi Danning, 10.Henrique, 11.Issey Nakajima-Farran, 14.Matt Mundy, 16.Mohamed Adnan, 17.Mitch Nichols, 19.Jack Hingert, 20.Andrew Redmayne (GK), 24.Nick Fitzgerald *one to be omitted*

In: Matt Mundy (promoted)
Out: Nil
Unavailable: James Meyer (adductor injury – 1 week), Thomas Broich (bruised heel – 1 week), Henrique (corked thigh – 1 week), Luke Brattan (foot injury – 1 week), Matt Smith (adductor injury – 1 week)

Central Coast Mariners Squad: 1.Mathew Ryan (gk), 2.Daniel McBreen, 3.Joshua Rose, 4.Pedj Bojic, 6.Patrick Zwaanswijk, 7.John Hutchinson, 8.Rostyn Griffiths, 9.Bernie Ibini, 11.Oliver Bozanic, 12.Troy Hearfield, 14.Michael McGlinchey, 16.Trent Sainsbury, 18.Alex Wilkinson (c), 19.Matt Simon, 20.Justin Pasfield (gk), 22.Mustafa Amini

In: 16.Trent Sainsbury (Promoted)
Out: Nil
Unavailable: Nil