Against the widespread suggestion of mass media, it’s Brisbane Roar & The Central Coast Mariners sitting pretty at the top of the table after round one with both sides set to meet at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
Let’s have a look at how this one’s shaping up.
The Run IN
The Hyundai A-League is well and truly underway and both sides picked up impressive wins in Round 1. In the season opener on Thursday night, Brisbane recorded a 3-1 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers at Parramatta, where Jamie McLaren bagged two and Daniel Bowles opened his account.
A few days later, the Mariners overcame Perth Glory with a 3-2 victory at Central Coast Stadium, executing an attacking game plan, much to the delight of a buoyant home crowd.
A Roy O’Donovan goal and a pair of penalties to Fabio Ferreira secured all three points for the Mariners.
The former Perth attacker in McLaren shapes up as the danger man for Brisbane Roar after picking up a brace last week against the Wanderers.
McLaren was one of the league’s breakout stars last season, scoring nine goals for Perth including one against the Mariners in March - and has kicked off his season with the Roar much the same.
Matt McKay will also return from Socceroos duties while new Spanish recruit Corona adds a bucket of experience to the Roar unit.
The Key Questions
- Will the Mariners keep up their attacking tempo against the Roar?
- Last week, Western Sydney’s Mitch Nichols carved up the Roar down the right side, will Brisbane be able to cope with an on fire Ferreira?
- Will O’Donovan take off on a goalscoring spree?
- The Mariners made a staggering 24 shots at goal last week, more than any other side in the league. 14 of those shots were inside the box.
- Brisbane has lost six of their last seven matches played on a Sunday.
- While Head Coach of Melbourne Heart John Aloisi managed three losses and a draw from four games against the Mariners.
“They (Brisbane) did quite well (against the Wanderers). They showed us everything they’ve got. Matt McKay comes back into their squad.”
“I said to the boys this morning, you know Caceres, Fitzgerald, Montgomery against any three in this league, and you look at Lustica, McKay and Corona, if that’s going to be their midfield three for example, I wouldn’t be swapping our players for theirs so it’s about on the day, can we dominate in that area of the pitch and if we do, then we’ve got the weapons to convert.”
“Our record at Suncorp isn’t the best. This is a new squad, with new ambition, new intent and our job on Sunday is to make Brisbane incredibly uncomfortable on their own patch and if we do that and we take our chances, it could be a great afternoon.”
“I feel very confident, very happy with the goals and the three points from the Perth game and it gives me a lot of confidence to go to the next game."
“Brisbane are very confident as well and it’s going to be a tough game, but I believe that if we go in with the same mentality that we did last weekend, I believe that we can take the three points and come home with a win."
From the other side
Thomas Broich on the Mariners
"(Fabio Ferreira’s) electric - he's hard to contain, and it's up to us to keep the ball and not allow the players around him to feed him."
“I was very impressed with the Mariners playing style. It’s a physical counter-attacking style. They’re winning the ball quite well.”
Last time we met – Hyundai A-League 2014/15, Round 22, BRI 6-1 CCM, Suncorp Stadium
A match which many players and fans would like to forget – the last time we met Brisbane in a Hyundai A-League fixture we went down 6-1 after goals to Andrija Kaluderovic, Devante Clut, Brandon Borrello and a hat-trick to Steven Lustica.
The only consolation for the Mariners was a Daniel Bowles own goal.
We also met the Roar in pre-season, losing 3-1 in an encouraging performance on the Sunshine Coast.
Central Coast Mariners: 1.Paul IZZO, 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Mitch AUSTIN, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (C), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 12.Liam REDDY (GK), 16.Liam ROSE 18.Glen TRIFIRO, 19.Josh BINGHAM, 20. Anthony KALIK, 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING, 23.Eddy BOSNAR
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 5.Corey BROWN, 6.Jerome POLENZ, 7.CORONA, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 13.Jade NORTH (c), 14.Daniel BOWLES, 15.James DONACHIE, 16.Devante CLUT, 17.Matt McKAY, 19.Jack HINGERT, 20.Shannon BRADY, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 32.George LAMBADARIDIS
**Two to be omitted**
Sunday 18 October 2015
Match: Brisbane Roar vs. Central Coast Mariners
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 5:00pm (AEDT)
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505
Radio Broadcast: 96.3 Coast FM
Twitter: Join the match conversation using #CCMvBRI & #CCMFC