Saturday, November 18, 2006


For Frank to Fix

It was not an auspicious return to Australian domestic football for Frank Farina.

Despite their resurgence in the second half, Queensland never deserved to get anything out of a game in which they looked defensively inept, and short of width and ideas in attack. Had Danny Allsopp and Archie Thompson shown a little more precision (and had Fred not been forced to miss the second half), Queensland could easily have lost by four or five.

It's clear that Farina - who, let it be said immediately, had very little time with the team before the match - has quite a job on his hands to turn things around. True, the Roar are still in the top four and their injury concerns are not pressing. But they are playing like a team that has lost all self-belief at present.

It will be interesting to see how Farina goes about righting the ship. Here are three simple suggestions of mine:

1. Move Andy Packer to the right

The use of Packer at left-back was one of the strangest of all Miron Bleiberg's tactical quirks, and it was a shame to see the former Sydney man starting on the left again last night. He has not done altogether badly there, it must be said, although he endured a wretched first half against Melbourne.

In his brief right-wing cameo against the Central Coast a few weeks back, he looked as effective as anyone in a Roar shirt has been this season. Last night, again, on the one occasion when he found himself in a right-wing position, he evaded two defenders and sent in one of the more dangerous crosses of the game.

With Spase Dilevski in such indifferent form, Packer seems the obvious choice to provide Farina's team with some bite on the right-hand side.

2. Restore Hyuk-Su Seo to central midfield

Last season, Seo proved himself a holding midfielder of drive, great stamina and considerable passing ability. In his role as metronome of the side, he could rarely be faulted.

Honestly, what on earth is he doing being wasted at right-back?

For a start, he is no true full-back, as Alessandro proved last night by skinning him with embarrassing ease on two occasions. But far more importantly, the Queensland side is denied his quality in the middle of the park, where they are palpably lacking a "general". Marcus Wedau has been a disappointment, and the Chad Gibson experiment last night was a disaster. It's time to give "the Korean", as Miron Bleiberg called him, his proper role.

3. Rest Reinaldo

The big Brazilian has been an ever-present for Queensland this season, but in the last few games he has simply been ineffective (although, interestingly, he looked a lot better against Melbourne once he drifted over to the right wing). Farina was denied the presence of Simon Lynch due to a training-ground injury, but when the Scotsman is fit again he should surely start.

There are, of course, concerns for Queensland in other areas, but given the essentially lopsided nature of their squad, I find it hard to offer suggestions. Since there is no right-back and no left-winger on the roster, Farina will have to make the best of a bad bargain in those areas. The left is a particular headache at the moment; Dario Vidosic was utterly anonymous last night, and although Matt McKay could probably fulfil the role capably, he is surely better off in the centre.

Altogether, not an easy task for our erstwhile national manager.

"Honestly, what on earth is he doing being wasted at right-back? (Seo)"

Baffles me more than Advanced Quantum Physics. Incredible. It's like playing Grella right back.

- Sub
I think Seo is better a right back then in the mids but i still think he should be played in the mids cause qld already has enough defenders and not enough good centre mids.

Although he played brilliantly last year there has definitely been a drop in his form this year.
Whether Seo was in the correct position or not, he was the most outstanding creature (in orange) on the park by a country mile. Whilst reading your post, my initial reaction to the question of why Packer is on the left is because Seo is so bloody strong on the right. Who are you suggesting should replace Packer on the left?

At the same time Matty was a bit off his game if anything. Maybe due to the uncharacteristic 4-4-2 they were playing. (I wouldn't know that incidentally if Farina didn't spell it out).

Agree with you about Reinaldo. I began being disillusioned with him weeks ago, and every week it seems to be reinforced.

Troubling times indeed for the Dutch coloured ones. What choice for a mere fan but to trust Mr Farina? Onward!
...Whether Seo was in the correct position or not, he was the most outstanding creature (in orange) on the park by a country mile. Whilst reading your post, my initial reaction to the question of why Packer is on the left is because Seo is so bloody strong on the right. Who are you suggesting should replace Packer on the left?...

Well, IMO Seo would be strong just about anywhere, but a player like him deserves (and needs) to be in a position of maximum influence, and especially given his performances last season, that has to be central midfield.

As for the left, there's always Remo Buess. By the way, I wasn't suggesting Packer go to right-back (although that would be better than having him at left-back), but to the right wing.

He's just about the only natural winger you've got at the moment (with the possible exception of Dilevski, who's out of sorts), so it makes sense to have him there I feel.

Having said all that, I sympathise with Frank. The Roar have a badly unbalanced squad, and it was always going to be difficult to adapt to a few dips in form and so forth.

For what it's worth, and I doubt very much it's going to happy under Farina, who prefers a 4-4-2, I reckon the Roar outfit is suited to 3-5-2. Here's how;

Keeper; Reddy
Sweeper; Gibson
Stoppers; Ognenovski and McCloughan
right and left wingbacks; in no particular order, Dilveski and Packer, switch them around during th game if necessary
Central trio (this is full strength); Seo holding, Mass right and Matt left. Without Mass, midfield loses alot of balance and there is no natural sub. Perhaps Wedau is worth a bit more time although he hasnt really impressed. Might also be worth an experiment at some stage of giving Vidosic free licence to roam from central midfield, screened by Seo and McKay.
Up front; any two from Lynch, Milicic, Reinaldo and Zhang, all have been up and down.

Systems are one thing, the key is getting everyone in touch, something Farina struggled with in the national team and again on Friday.

Anyway, he deserves some time to work on things for sure and the key is probably to build the confidence as they guys have shown they can play.
Sounds good to me, Tony. Packer on the right and Dilevski left might be best, but as you say, they can switch.

Farina certainly didn't show much inclination to ever move to a three-at-the-back system with the NT, though.
Yeah, which is why he tended to use any defender who ever showed any inclination to be more of a sweeper than a stopper in central midfield. Here's only a few off the top of my head; Okon, Zelic, Costanzo, Juric, Milicevic, McKain.
Seo has played fullback for almost all of his career in the K-League. He played LB before coming to Australia.

McKay needs to go to LM. He gave Sydney FC a lesson down the wing in pre-season and they need a natural left foot out there.
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