The Warren Moon era started in earnest last week, as the Brisbane Roar got their pre-season preparations underway at their new training base in Carrara – with a couple of new faces aboard.
After being tasked with steadying the ship after Robbie Fowler’s acrimonious departure, Moon guided the Roar to a fourth-placed finish on the ladder, before bowing out in a narrow 1-0 defeat to Western United in the preliminary final.
Both additions are well known to the Roar coach.
Josh Brindlell-South arrives from Moon’s former side Lions FC in Queensland’s NPL. The attacking full back- equally adept on either flank-had a brief spell with Wellington Phoenix in 2013 and might have been forgiven for thinking another chance at the A-League had passed him by.
Clearly though, Moon hadn’t forgotten his impressive displays and had no hesitation in securing the 27-year-old’s signature.
Another Brisbane product, Jesse Daley, had spent the last two seasons with Seattle-based Tacoma Defiance, making 50 appearances in the United Soccer League. Here he worked under the tutelage of former Central Coast Mariners legend John Hutchinson.
Midfielder Daley had previously captained the Roar’s NPL side, then joining South Melbourne before moving stateside.
He will help fill some of the creative void of a Brisbane side who have seen Aiden O’Neill move on to Melbourne City and Brad Inman join I League outfit Mohun Bagan.
Crucially, captain Tom Aldred and his English compatriot Macaulay Gillesphey have remained.
The defensive pair had struck up an impressive partnership last season, shoring up a previously porous backline. Gillesphey took out the Gary Wilkins medal, the clubs highest individual honour.
Add in Irishman Jay O’Shea and the evergreen Jamie Young and Scott McDonald, and there should be some cause for optimism among the Roar faithful- should Moon be able to hold on to his prized assets.
Soon after his unveiling, Moon spoke of bringing a ‘Queensland mentality’ back to the Roar, and already judging by his first new signings it’s clear that there is a stark change in recruitment strategy. Local is the way forward.
No more shopping in the lower reaches of the English Football League. A move no doubt welcomed by many of Fowlers detractors.
Moon is a firm advocate in the talent available in Queensland, and given the Covid financial fragility that clubs are suffering, his appointment may prove to be a shrewd one.
Known for being a coach who likes to play on the front foot, the new Brisbane boss will also be looking to connect with a fan-base that didn’t fully warm to his predecessor.
Despite his adulation as a former player, Fowler largely cut a spiky figure during his stay in the A-League.
Moon – a foundation player from the Roar’s 2005 squad- should find fans take more kindly to ‘one of their own’.
And if he can bring some success to a club now six years and waiting for another grand final triumph, well the Orange army will be over the… Moon.