Saturday, July 29, 2006


A-League Anticipation, Part 6

And now for a trip up north.

Queensland Roar

Everyone’s choice for Most Unlucky Team last time out, Queensland have had a relatively quiet winter, compared with some of their southern rivals. The cosmopolitan coaching staff is still there, but the playing roster has changed considerably.

Three highly promising young players have left the club, and the major additions have been players of more advanced years, with the exception of local hopeful Dario Vidosic, currently injured. Nonetheless, the news isn’t all bad.

Ante Milicic will, one hopes, provide the finishing touch that the Roar were so plainly lacking for much of last season. Sadly, the man who would surely have been his chief supplier, Alex Brosque, has headed south. But there are still players there in midfield to provide service for the new signing from Newcastle; Spase Dilevski, Matt McKay and Massimo Murdocca all come to mind.

The performances of Marcus Wedau and Simon Lynch, two newcomers to Australian football, will be observed with much interest. Wedau is the classic journeyman, having spent much of his career at yo-yo clubs in Germany. With the excellent Hyuk-Su Seo looking after the back four, Wedau will presumably be used as a playmaker of sorts. The transition from the fringes of the Bundesliga to the A-League might be easier than one would expect; the style of the A-League is, in my opinion, not dissimilar to the (admittedly little) German football I’ve seen.

The loss of Brosque and the terrier-like Jonti Richter leaves Queensland somewhat short of options out wide. Andrew Packer is likely to be used in his preferred role of right-winger as a result, especially since Miron Bleiberg can call upon a multitude of defenders at present (not to mention a useful reserve right-back in Seo).

The two pre-season cup games so far have not been especially encouraging - a loss to the champions followed by a draw with last season’s whipping boys - but it’s worth remembering that Queensland played the majority of their match against Sydney with ten men, and that the Knights are, in the opinion of many, a much improved outfit.

With a fine new goalkeeper, an accomplished striker and a number of last season’s impressive youngsters still on their books, the Roar must be a pretty good bet to make the finals this season.

Along with the Mariners, Bleiberg's boys were a team I always enjoyed watching from a purely neutral perspective.

The real keys will be Lynch and Wedau IMO. We all know of Milicic's quality if he plays in a system that doesn't employ long balls as the stock strategy. Hopefully Wedau can be a decent replacement for Brosque, with Lynch complementing Milicic.

The Roar looked terrific in that late surge last season, and it seemed to occur when Reinaldo was signed. Not that he was necessarily brilliant (he looked reasonable in patches), but Brosque finally had someone to feed, which in turn took the pressure off Brosque himself. I don't rate Brosque as an out-and-out striker to be brutally honest.

Michael "Look at the Ball While Dribbling" Baird is no longer there, which also helps. ;) David Williams could be missed if he's half as good as the hype suggests.

I'd be shocked if they missed the finals again, but once again it'll be a tight competition - perhaps even tighter than Season 1 given New Zealand's apparent improvement.

Yeah, watching the way the Roar played against Sydney in the second game at Suncorp last season, you would have laughed if someone had told you the home side would miss the finals while the away side would win the competition.

Wedau's still a bit of a mystery...has he even played yet? I know he's had injury problems, anyway. And I really think width might be a problem for Bleiberg; Packer's good if not spectacular, and Matt McKay can play left (although I think he's better in the centre), but that's not a lot to call on. Qld might regret having missed out on Petta.
Hopefully with Milicic, Lynch and this possible new Chinese striker, QLD can actually look like they have a clue up forward.

A lot of the time it felt as if we didn't have a clue when we couldn't breach the defence.

As you suggested Mikey, the width might not be there, however, we'll see what Miron can do. Would've rather liked to have held onto Jonti Richter.

~ Anthony aka Sneak
With the benefit of hindsight, getting rid of Richter was one of Miron's sound calls. I'd say his new employer Paul Nevin is not all that happy with Richter either.

To be fair, or at least transparent, I've only really watched Richter in two games, against (his previous team) the Roar and against the Mariners. He had lots of zest but just didn't look like someone to rely on for outcomes.
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