Friday, August 17, 2007


A-League Anticipation, Part 5

And next to the team that, in the opening two years of the A-League, has promised so much but faltered when it has mattered:

Queensland Roar

This club has gone youth crazy during the off-season, with Frank Farina recruiting a number of teenage players from either the local scene or the academies. Most of them, however, are only likely to be reserves come the season proper.

Three of last year’s underachievers (Chad Gibson, Marcus Wedau and Yuning Zhang) are gone. Dario Vidosic has also left, to join the Australian contingent at FC Nürnberg; a loss, but not a disaster. His form last season was mercurial to say the least.

Craig Moore as marquee? I’m not too keen on the idea of a defender being a marquee player, but there’s no doubt that it’s a significant coup for the club. With the pairing of Josh McCloughan and Sasa Ognenovski already there, Queensland will certainly be a force to be reckoned with in central defence this season.

With Remo Buess released, who will play left-back? Hopefully not Andrew Packer, who did his best in the position last year but would surely be better used elsewhere. Perhaps Danny Tiatto, another ex-Socceroo signing, will fill the role which he has occupied in the past, although he is more often to be found further upfield.

In attack, Queensland have plenty to offer, but neither Miron Bleiberg nor Farina settled on a deployment that worked last season. Ante Milicic had a poor term by his standards, and Simon Lynch was in and out of the team. Reinaldo is not what one could call dependable.

Just like last season, too, Queensland don’t appear to have much to offer on the wings. There is plenty of talent in central midfield, though; Matt McKay and Massimo Murdocca would be assets to any A-League side, and Marcinho appears to be one of the more promising of the many A-League signings from Brazil. Hyuk-Su Seo, suspended for the opening two games of the campaign, is perhaps the best holding midfielder in the competition on his day.

Will they flatter to deceive again, or will they finally discover how to find the back of the net with more regularity? Hard to tell, but I somehow get the feeling Queensland might end up being the nearly men once more.

I think it all depends on whether Farina uses commonsense with his positional selections. Given his tendency to use defensive midfielders who are unsuited to that position, it wouldn't surprise if he uses anyone but Seo in that possie.

Seo looked below his usual standard when used as a RB, although apparently that's the position he played in his native land. I'd also use Packer as RB and Tiatto @ LB. Sounds sensible enough? Maybe not for Frank.

For the sake of the League, I dearly hope they succeed this season. This time I reckon they'll make the finals, due to the experience and mental hardness of Moore and Tiatto, traits which the team has badly missed in their first two seasons.
Just got back from watching the Roar play a friendly vs Solomon Islands (1:1). Tiatto was left back while he was on, with Moore in the center. Moore made some nice plays and looks very competent there, but Tiatto in my opinion was the best player on the park. I think we'll be hearing his name a lot this season.

There was also a new bloke who was apparently being trialed, come on just for the final 10 minutes. He is black skinned and very short and played right wing. If anyone can tell me what his name is that would be helpful. Anyway he played very wide and made some very nice plays, including a superb cross, which was wasted by (I think) Reinaldo.

Milicic's goal was calm and cool, but the main goers Reinaldo and Lynch still have this frustrating quarter second of hesitation after they find the ball at their feet and just a goalie between them and the goal mouth - just enough time for a defender (the SI defence was pretty good) to get in the way.

Anyway, like Moore, I have a very good feeling about this season. Go the bloody Roar.
Hamish -

1.Liam REDDY (gk) (McMaster 62), 4.Craig MOORE (Nichols 76), 8.Massimo MURDOCCA (McLaren 46), 10.Ante MILICIC, 11.REINALDO (Fenehia 81), 15.Matt McKAY (Zullo 46), 16.Hyuk-Su SEO, 18.Danny TIATTO (Richter 62),19. Sasa OGNENOVSKI (McCloughan 46), 21.Chris GROSSMAN (Lynch 46), 23.MARCINHO.
"Reinaldo is not what one could call dependable."

Mate do you have any idea what you are talking about? Look its pretty clear from some of your blogs that you dont seem to have some objections to the Brazilians coming into the A-league i dont know whether you are envious that they might bring something that very few Australian players have but give it a rest mate.

Reinaldo is on fire in the pre-season he is the top scorer in QUeensland roar, infact he might even be the top-scorer for the whole pre-season

and last season he scored the same amount as your good friend milicic (who by the way is so overrated its not funny, i saw the sitter he missed when Reinaldo teed him up nicely against Sydney fc)..
Anonymous, On Friday night against the Solomons Milicic did fine. I must admit I missed his goal because I was at the canteen but from accounts it was very kind on the eye, calm, controlled and professional.

But I do agree with you that Reinaldo appears to have hit some fine form. He's still a young bloke, and from rumour it seems he struggled with the language and culture last season, and got a big boost when Farina embraced him as a part of the main team (he would have been one of a number of players who would have been made quite nervous by the appointment of the new coach). His decision to make a real go of it was expressed when he decided not to go back to Brazil to be with family and friends in the off-season, but to stay and get better encultured so he could be more comfortable here.

Besides, a few months ago, Jacob and I and a couple of Jake's soccer team passed Reinaldo on the way back to Brisbane on the Ipswich Highway. We first noticed a little hatchback all painted in A-League colours and logos, then noticed it was Reinaldo with his wife driving, and we cheered and waved and they waved back. And on Friday night he signed Jacob's Roar shirt. So as you can see, we're practically old mates.

It's hard to theorise about the need or effect of cultural acclimatisation, but it is a big reason I think why Australians mostly hit the English leagues and why Africans in particular struggle to make the teams in Europe. My source for the latter observation is Kuper's Football Against the Enemy, in his discussion of Cameroon football.

Anyway, I honestly think, Mike, that we'll see the real Reinaldo this season.
...Anyway, I honestly think, Mike, that we'll see the real Reinaldo this season....

I hope so. He's got lots of potential, for sure, but I think any honest QR fan would agree that he's been a bit hit-and-miss so far in the competitive games (i.e. not the pre-season).

Anonymous, my pat judgement of Reinaldo in the piece is based on my observations of his performances in the A-League proper; obviously I haven't had a chance to see him play for the Roar in pre-season, I don't live in Brisbane.

As for your comment about my attitude towards South Americans (I seriously dunno why it's always got to be about "Brazilians") in the A-League, you can't have been reading this blog for very long. Try here and here.
Alright alright i apologise i shouldnt have accused you of having it in for them.

its just that i dont like how people say that when a player from Brazil comes over here and they dont say have the impact of 'Fred' they are automatically labelled as "shit" and therefore we shouldnt bother trying to bring any into our league.

But what these people dont realise is that there is so many aspects not being considered. How well are they adapting to the culture? How well are they adapting to their style of play?? etc

I think there needs to be a little more patience given to these players, and in time they will show their worth and hopefully pass on a few things to some of our players...
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