Roar Looks To Ground Jets

Brisbane must improve its away form to qualify for the finals.
A loss for either of these sides last weekend would have been disastrous in terms of qualifying for the finals, but Newcastle’s 2-0 win over Melbourne Heart and Brisbane’s victory by the same scoreline over bottom-placed Wellington means both sides are well and truly in the race for the last two spots up for grabs in the top six.

The penalty shootout loss to Thailand side Buriram United in the AFC Champions League last week may just have been the best thing for Roar, as it tries desperately to defend the title it won under Ange Postecoglou two seasons in a row. Interim coach Mike Mulvey was handed the role for the next two years last week, so a number of players in the Brisbane squad could be playing for their future at the club in the coming weeks.

Brisbane was no better than average in the win over Wellington, but the good news was Thomas Broich had one of his best games of the season and Besart Berisha produced a finish reminiscent of his calmness in front of goal last campaign. Veteran Jade North has added some stability at the back, but in reality it’s up front where improvement is needed.

In eleven away games Roar has scored just nine goals, and following the clash at Hunter Stadium on Friday night, Brisbane also travels to take on Adelaide United and Central Coast in the next month. For a team that has looked laborious away from Suncorp Stadium, it’s tough to see them still being in finals contention when they host two straight at home to finish the season. Just once this season – in the 3-2 loss to Melbourne Heart in round 15 – has Brisbane found the back of the net on multiple occasions away from home, and seven of their 11 road games have finished with under 2.5 goals .

Until Newcastle’s 1-0 win over Brisbane in mid-January, the Jets had never won a home and away fixture at Hunter Stadium against Roar. In fact, prior to this season, only once had the home side come away with the three points in 18 previous encounters. Brisbane won the first clash between the teams this season 1-0 , and Roar should head to the Steel City with some confidence, having taken 19 of a possible 30 points from their previous visits.

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