After what has been a terrific start to the A-League season, rather disappointingly, just three matches will take place this weekend.
In typical Melbourne weather – a bright summer day followed by heavy rain – and with the AAMI Park floodlights focusing on the two sides, Melbourne Victory opened their season against Warren Moon’s Brisbane Roar.
Stand By Me echoed around the hallowed Victory home turf for the first time in nearly ten months as the two new-look sides fronted the half-capacity crowd. British import Callum McManaman impressed for the home side and Dylan Wenzel-Halls led the way for the visitors, with Brisbane Roar surprising the Vuck faithful with a 3-1 win.
Max Crocombe: 5.5
Max failed to live up to the expectations he set following his outstanding ACL performances, conceding multiple goals, of which the second should have been scraped away.
Adama Traore: 6.5
Adama showed his vast European experience and his composure on the ball. He looked like he had an ankle injury late in the first half yet strung back up, placing numerous balls into the box that fell slightly short.
Nick Ansell: 6
He had a strong header off a crossbar in the eighth minute. Ansell played Dylan Wenzel-Halls onside, leading to Brisbane Roar’s opener, but he began to look slightly nervy in the second half, with Brisbane’s dependency on counterattacking football startling both Aaron Anderson and Ansell.
Aaron Anderson: 6.5
Anderson looked slightly nervy, with some launching through balls failing to meet Marco Rojas on the left. He was unfortunate for his fiery header to not find the back of the net in the 34th minute.
Storm Roux: 6.5
Storm, like much of the Victory back line, proved confident in defence, illustrating his dedication in multitudes of situations. He played an outstanding cross to Jake Brimmer in the 41st minute that was unfortunately not capitalised on.
Leigh Broxham: 6.5
The veteran looked strong in most facets of the game, controlling the midfield and making his captaincy felt in the middle of the park.
Jacob Butterfield: 6.5
Another one of the British imports, Butterfield displayed plenty of tenacity in midfield, showing composure and moving the ball with assurance.
Jake Brimmer: 7
He looked comfortable in front of his Victory brethren. He and Callum McManaman formed an elite partnership, trading balls with ease. His 23rd-minute set piece was driven too low, yet as the game progressed his set pieces gradually improved. His glaring chance in the 41st minute led to a perceived goal lost for the Victory as they had the opportunity to go 2-1 up. As with much of the Victory contingent, he failed to deliver in the second half.
Callum McManaman: 7.5
He scored one of the greatest debut goals in recent A-League memory. Top left corner. Sublime. However, McManaman’s A-League debut for the Vuck began with him earning a set piece in the second minute, with the FA Cup hero impressing with his dazzling footwork on the right side of the pitch. He went down for a penalty shout in the ninth minute as his footwork and experience proved lethal in the opening stages. He was effective in reading Brisbane’s midfield play, intercepting the ball in many instances. However, he dropped off in the second half, struggling to penetrate the Brisbane defence.
Marco Rojas: 6.5
Marco is believed to have succumbed a hamstring niggle early in the contest, entering the fray again only late in the first half. He held up play effectively, displaying his vision. Despite glimpses of quality, he went down in the 71st minute, leading to his substitution.
Ben Folami: 5.5
On his A-League debut Folami struggled to latch onto the midfield balls early in the first half, albeit earning a corner in the 20th minute.
Rudy Gestede: 5.5
Jay Barnett: 5.5
Elvis Kamsoba: 6
Jamie Young: 6
Young demonstrated his veteran status with plenty of moments when he was under pressure. Excepting an unsavable strike for McManaman in the 25th minute, he showed his composure and was largely untroubled in the second half.
Jack Hingert: 6.5
Like much of the Brisbane defence, he effectively pushed away the Victory attacks. He played a strong sliding tackle in the 52nd minute. Collectively, the defensive line Brisbane held in the second half was outstanding.
Tom Aldred: 7
He was able to effectively lead from the back with an abundance of headed clearances. He contributed to an immensely strong and impenetrable defence in the second half.
Macaulay Gillesphey: 6.5
Gillesphey possessed a commanding presence in the opening stages, playing several thorough balls to the right side of the pitch. Gillesphey scored the third goal, with a well-timed header beating Max Crocombe in the second half.
Corey Brown: 6.5
Facing his old side, Corey’s nerves showed as he failed to latch onto a ball in the third minute. He was lucky for a 16th-minute cross to be called as onside against the general run of play, with VAR overturning the linesman’s initial call. However, he contributed to the positive instances of play in the second half, leading to Brisbane’s victory.
Riku Danzaki: 7
The Japanese midfielder was excellent in transition, moving the ball with ease. He played a delightful ball to Joey Champness on the right side in the 42nd minute, showing his skills despite his innumerable amount of senior football.
Jay O’Shea: 6.5
In a game of European experience, his high ball failed to reach Wenzel-Halls in the 11th minute. He looked tenacious in the middle of the park, delivering during the second half.
Rahmat Akbari: 7
The Olyroos aspirant and former Victory loanee flushed a shot high in the sixth minute and looked slightly nervy in the orange of the Roar. He was unlucky to slot it in the bottom right corner in the 74th minute but impressed in the midfield.
Joey Champness: 6
It was Joey’s plan to perform off the back of the loss midweek to Melbourne City by providing plenty of width to play with. Champness attempted to utilise his trickery in the midst of a through ball played to him by Danzaki in the 42nd minute, where several step-overs eventuated in a scuffed shot for the former Newcastle attacker.
Dylan Wenzel-Halls: 8
Wenzel-Halls, like most of the Brisbane attacking contingent, proved comfortable across the front line yet were unable to penetrate the area despite the early goal in the first half. Gliding brilliantly into the box in the 62nd minute, he was unfortunate not to finish in the bottom-left corner. His composure improved into the second half, and he was extremely comfortable on the ball. He slid past the Victory defenders with ease and proved lethal with a strike in the 79th minute to kill Victory’s hopes of an opening win.
Scott McDonald: 6.5
McDonald looked tidy in the middle of the park, playing deeper than Wenzel-Halls in many instances as his minor headers assisted Wenzel-Halls in his striking abilities.
Jesse Daley: N/A
The former USL and NPL Victoria product looked comfortable in his A-League return, playing numerous reliable balls in the attacking areas of the pitch.
Jai Ingham and Alexander Parsons: N/A