Thomas Broich is a key player for Brisbane. Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au
Two time defending champion Brisbane Roar will be looking to move away from the foot of the A-League table when if faces Western Sydney at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Last week’s 1-0 defeat to the Newcastle Jets left Brisbane just a point ahead of Wellington Phoenix at the bottom of the table, a big fall from the heights of the past two years when Ange Postecoglou led the Roar to back-to-back titles.
Eric Paartalu played a key role in former glories at the club but has left to ply his trade with Chinese club Tianjin Teda, although Socceroo defender Jade North could make his debut after signing from Consadole Sapporo during the week. Skipper Matt Smith is doubtful to line up having had a cortisone injection in his hip to try and negate the effect of an injury in the area. Massimo Murdocca is poised to earn a berth in the starting XI, while Luke Brattan could also see some action.
Western Sydney is the competition’s form team, having lost just one of its past seven matches, and that was to the front-running Mariners. Last Sunday’s 2-0 win over Wellington in New Zealand saw the Wanderers open up a six point gap over the fifth placed Newcastle Jets and there is plenty of reason to believe that Tony Popovic’s side will be playing finals football in their first season. New signing Rocky Visconte could face his former club after moving south of the border last week, while striker Dino Kresinger could return after recovering from a knee injury.
Brisbane and Western Sydney have already met twice in the Wanderers first season and the new boys won on both occasions. After recording their first ever A-League success against the Roar in Brisbane with a 1-0 victory on October 12, they repeated the dose with the same scoreline at Parramatta Stadium in Decem
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