Roar eye another home grand final

By Jim Morton,

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    Brisbane Roar aim to make the Grand Final for the second consecutive year - can they win the A-League? (AAP Image/ Patrick Hamilton)

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    Playmaker Thomas Broich warned Brisbane Roar were back in the midst of another breathtaking run after delivering a 2-0 blow to Central Coast’s hopes of hosting the A-League grand final.

    The German maestro hit all the right notes in Saturday night’s first leg of the major semi-final to have the Roar eying a second straight title decider at Suncorp Stadium on April 22.

    A win, draw or one-goal loss next Sunday in Gosford will mean the reigning champions host the grand final on April 22.

    Brisbane largely dominated the minor premiers for their seventh win in a nine-match unbeaten streak – four months after the national record 36-match run.

    Broich showed his class by mesmerising three defenders in setting up a crucial second goal to Erik Paartalu in the 86th minute, as a blazing strike made amends for a litany of missed chances.

    With the Roar travelling to South Korea to play Ulsan Hyundai in the Asian Champions League on Wednesday night, before a return match against the Mariners in Gosford on Sunday, Paartalu’s goal was hugely important in the scheme of the home-and-away tie.

    “We have a big trip and to go into a second semi-final 2-0 that helps big time,” Broich said.

    “We created so many chances and 1-0 is still a good result but that doesn’t reflect the true story of the game.

    “It will be tough (with the travel) but I think we’re on a good run again. We’ve played some good football and we’re creating many chances in every game.”

    Brisbane led from the eighth minute when Henrique atoned for a failed penalty attempt 60 seconds earlier by slotting home a Matt Smith header from a Broich corner.

    The Brazilian’s penalty was saved brilliantly by Matt Ryan, who came to Central Coast’s rescue throughout the first half.

    The Mariners had the better of the resumption and Tomas Rogic should have equalised from Pedj Bojic just after the break but Michael Theoklitos produced a reflex save.

    Broich, hampered by shoulder and heel problems in recent weeks, came into his own in the final 20 minutes to put his mark on the match.

    Roar coach Ange Postecoglou said a 1-0 result would have been an injustice to his side’s dominance, but Mariners counterpart Graham Arnold rued Rogic’s missed chance and was adamant his side’s grand final hosting hopes were still alive.

    “I thought it was a great game of football, overall both teams played well,” he said.

    Brisbane’s Bahraini defender Mohamed Adnan bravely completely the match despite being troubled by a knee injury which saw Matt Jurman warm-up at halftime.

    Henrique finished with a hamstring concern that saw him replaced after an hour, and leaves him in doubt for Wednesday night’s ACL clash.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (58)

    • April 1st 2012 @ 5:12am
      Kasey said | April 1st 2012 @ 5:12am | ! Report

      Simple football question, were Brisbane just better or were the football Gods punishing the Mariners (and some of their fans) for spending the week talking about how unjust it would be to win the Major Semi final tie and not get to host the GF at Bluetongue? Verily, the Football Gods hate it when footballers and fans get ahead of themselves – they can be spiteful deities as any Socceroos fan well knows! Perhaps the Mariners need John Safran and Father Bob to reverse what ever curse they seem to have on them when playing the Roar. And so it came to pass, Seriously, Brisbane were pretty good weren’t they? even with Broich at what looks like
      80% Broich-factor they are very fun to watch for a neutral IMO.

    • April 1st 2012 @ 5:25am
      Mark Roth said | April 1st 2012 @ 5:25am | ! Report

      While I personally want Brisbane to win, I also agree with Central Coast that it should be able to host the grand final where they wish. If the league is concerned about teams using grounds that might be too small, they should take away the right to host the grand final.

      • April 1st 2012 @ 5:45am
        Kasey said | April 1st 2012 @ 5:45am | ! Report

        I’m on the record as saying it would be much better for football to have a sell-out crowd at Bluetongue than a 60% full SFS if CCM won the rights, butthere’s a reason why coaches drill their players to “take it one week at a time”:) I can’t help thinking that perhaps Arnie lost control of the Mariners players focus a touch. The only times they looked really dangerous was Bernie Ibini occasionally breaking the Brisbane defensive line on the counter, but other than that I thought the Mariners weren’t really in it. I’d love to see them turn it around next week. Not sure if they can, but it will make interesting watching:)

    • April 1st 2012 @ 8:32am
      pete4 said | April 1st 2012 @ 8:32am | ! Report

      Yep Roar and Mariners both have ACL games mid-week which will have a big impact on next Sunday’s match (even if both get away injury free)

    • April 1st 2012 @ 11:04am
      Realfootball said | April 1st 2012 @ 11:04am | ! Report

      Amini was notably poor in this game, again, mirroring his performances in the U20 WC. Hard to see him succeeding at Dortmund unless he lifts his game a good 60% in pace and intensity. Rogic, too, was invisible apart for a couple of moments. The intensity from Brisbane was just too much in midfield – this was very close to Brisbane at their peak.

      Arnold has to shoulder responsibility for much of a very poor Mariners performance. He laid the team out to invite Brisbane to come at CCM, and left both Roar fullbacks free to attack at will, which they did. Sitting deep and relying on a single striker to counter might be fine when you are 1-0 up with 15 to go, but when a team is 1-0 down, to maintain the strategy is simply incomprehensible.

      Champagne corks must have been popping at FFA headquarters after the second goal, with a Suncorp final looking likely.

    • April 1st 2012 @ 11:12am
      Roarsome said | April 1st 2012 @ 11:12am | ! Report

      Here’s hoping for a Suncorp Final, the atmosphere last year was incredible. I just hope both the Mariners and the Roar get through their ACL games unscathed.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

    • April 1st 2012 @ 11:45am
      Dinoweb said | April 1st 2012 @ 11:45am | ! Report

      A good game by the Roar, but apart from some great work by Adnan to deny Ibini on two occassions, and one piece of magic by Broich, I’m hard stretched to think of anything any Brisbane player did that was outstanding. They played great as a team, but individually most were average. Broich lost the ball or made bad passes on numerous occassions, Nichols passing was hit and miss, and Berisha hardly touched the ball. This is just a sample. I could say something similar about the entire team.

      Despite a lack of outstanding individual performances though, Brisbane totally dominated CCM who never really looked like they were in the match. CCM will have to at least try and attack next week, but unlesss they improve dramatically, or get lucky early, it should be an easy win to Brisbane.

      On the down side, I was very dissappointde with the attendance. 15k this year compared with 25k for the same fixture last year. Come on Brisbane, it’s not good enough.

      • April 1st 2012 @ 12:59pm
        Realfootball said | April 1st 2012 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

        Agree with your observations on individual players. Broich, apart from a couple of wonderful passes, was poor in his distribution and in his decision making, losing the ball over and over again. But as a team, they overran CCM.

        You are not correct on the attendance – it was 21k last year. Still a significant difference, but the Broncos pulled 38k the night before at Suncorp, and what we are seeing here is the result of going head to head with the NRL and AFL at the much anticipated start of their seasons – those that were missing from the Brisbane/CCM game were, I suspect, the cross coders who put NRL first and football second. Two expensive games in successive nights would be too much for most budgets.

        There are three other factors to take into account:

        1. The 21K crowd last year came to see the deciding leg of the major semi, and the first leg this year was far less attractive to cross coders.

        2. There is definitely a Roar/CCM fatigue factor coming into play. I’m a committed fan and even I thought, Oh no, not the Mariners again. Add to this the fact that the Mariners are efficient but certainly not inspiring to watch, and you have a notably low key event for the crosscoders and uncommitted.

        3. CCM are, like it or not, a small provincial club lacking the profile of Victory or Sydney. If that had been the Victory last night, I am confident that there would have been a minimum of 30k there. CCM, like Phoenix, have never pulled crowds as a visiting team, and I doubt they ever will. The rivalry is between the cities, not – and I don’t wish to offend CCM fans – a club representing what is essentially a large suburb most people outside of Sydney have never heard of. The mystique, the frission, just isn’t there with the Mariners – and that is not a value judgement; simply a clearly observable fact.

        The positive out of all this, however, his that even up against the Broncos, the Roar can now clearly rely on the rusted on support of 15,000 fans – no small achievement when you consider that they were pulling 6-8k in the early to mid stages of last season. It was a great crowd to be in – passionate, knowledgable and committed.

        • April 1st 2012 @ 1:39pm
          Ballymore said | April 1st 2012 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

          According to the Sunday Mail, Wikipedia and my memory is was 25,000 last season.

          • April 1st 2012 @ 2:04pm
            Realfootball said | April 1st 2012 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

            I stand corrected on the crowd figure.

          • April 3rd 2012 @ 1:26pm
            j binnie said | April 3rd 2012 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

            The actual figure for that game as given out at the time was 25,168. jb

        • April 1st 2012 @ 8:55pm
          BrisbaneBhoy said | April 1st 2012 @ 8:55pm | ! Report

          No mention of local football games being at the same time?? I know this is why a few of the regulars I know couldn’t attend the match.

        • April 2nd 2012 @ 8:23am
          Kasey said | April 2nd 2012 @ 8:23am | ! Report

          You know, I feel sorry for those on here that can only offer comment on the crowd size as their contribution to the conversation. To me it seems like football is falling into a trap set by the AFL dominated media and its lapdog talking heads rthat set the asgenda in sports mad Australia. That trap is to directly equate crowd size to enjoyment of those in attendance or watching at home. My folks had the AFL game on in the back ground when I visited last and I think I heard the commentators mention the “marsive crowd at the Gee”! about 5 times in 10 minutes rather than you know actually calling the game being played. I equate linking the crowd size at a football game and importance to the way football illiterates link the number of goals in a game to its entertainment value. It’s a trap because obviously the AFL gets incredibly high crowds and is one of the best attended sports leagues in the world so anything else in this country, be it RL, RU or football is going to pale when directly compared. I watched all the games over the weekend and I enjoyed all of them, even the goalless first half of Heart @Glory. That was like watching cage fighters parry and thrust trying to find a weakness before going for the jugular. a very interesting game all-in-all. Sure enough, cometh the moment, cometh the man in Smeltz with a brilliant finals hat-trick.
          Now if we were to talk about promotion of the league and the game we would all wish for the FFA to do more in terms of its promotion, but again, we are comparing apples to oranges. How much of the AFL’s promotion is league driven/spend and how much is a part of the contra deals negotiated as part of the broadcast agreement that league has with the TV networks? FFA simply doesn’t yet have the money to go head to head and toe to toe with the AFL on advertising itself.
          Just concentrate on the football and the game will look after itself in the long run.

          • April 2nd 2012 @ 8:50am
            Realfootball said | April 2nd 2012 @ 8:50am | ! Report

            Kasey, I agree in general about the attendance focus, but when a game between the same teams in the same major semi final loses around 40% of its paying spectators, it would be very unwise not to look at why.

      • April 1st 2012 @ 3:18pm
        stu said | April 1st 2012 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

        I am sure many remember 32 odd thousand at the knock our finals game against sydney 3 or 4 years back. The Roar management should never think they are winning the battle for bums on seats, indeed they are far from it and again highlights if they have a market out there why are they not getting them through the turnstiles?

        • April 2nd 2012 @ 2:11am
 said | April 2nd 2012 @ 2:11am | ! Report

          It was 36 v sydney

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