For the past two seasons Brisbane Roar have had their fair share of ownership drama throughout the off-season, this year, not a whisper. Is this long-awaited ownership stability the missing ingredient of John Aloisi’s tenure after consecutive semi-final exits?


Last season
A-League: 3rd
Finals: Semi-finals
FFA Cup: Round of 32

They’ll win the league because…
The tandem efforts of new recruits Massimo Maccarone and Eric Bautheac possess the quality to take the A-League by storm. The debate has raged regarding the Roar’s signing of Maccarone but he has shown glimpses in pre-season of his worth and his link-up play with the likes of Brett Holman, Bautheac and Fahid Ben Khalfallah could prove dangerous for A-League defensive lines.

The Roar backline on paper is one of, if not the best in the league. The re-signing of Avraam Papadopoulos was a masterstroke following his short cameo late last season and Roar faithful should expect assured performances from both himself and Luke DeVere throughout the season.

Talented new boys Corey Gameiro and Peter Skapetis will be out to prove a point after promising starts to their professional careers were hampered by major injuries. Look for both to return to form with a bang this season while storming up the goalscoring charts.

They’ll be cellar dwellers because…
Fitness is already an issue for a number of members of the squad and the first official fixture is just under a fortnight away. Papadopoulos is yet to log a single minute in any trial matches and Ben Khalfallah has only recently returned via an internal club match. Brisbane faithful will hope these early issues do not set an early precedent for a forgettable season riddled with injuries and inconsistent lineups.

The FFA Cup disaster against Melbourne Victory was not pleasant viewing and their cup exit was quickly followed by another four-goal defeat to Western Sydney Wanderers. It may only be pre-season, but these are still worrying signs and alarm bells will be ringing for John Aloisi if this trend continues into the opening rounds.

Talk around the water cooler…Look smart in front of your colleagues with this valuable piece of information.
Massimo Maccarone recently celebrated turning the ripe old age of 38. ‘Big Macca’ is the oldest active player in the A-League this season, edging out Tim Cahill by a couple of months to arguably the most unwanted statistic in the league. Here’s hoping that Maccarone shows just why he was a Serie A regular for Empoli when he walks out at AAMI Park on October 6.

The off-season brought…
A new style. Last season’s heroes Jamie Maclaren and Brandon Borrello have departed for the Bundesliga and have been replaced with much, much older heads. Maclaren was at times limited to his poacher mentality. Maccarone, on the other hand, will bring a welcome change in terms of not only scoring goals but creating them. Expect some absolute sublime moments of technical ability from the Italian this campaign.

Out: Thomas Broich, Jamie Maclaren, Brandon Borrello, Tommy Oar, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Manuel Arana, Kye Rowles, Cameron Crestani, Joey Katebian.

In: Massimo Maccarone, Eric Bautheac, Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Corey Gameiro, Mitchell Oxborrow, Peter Skapetis, Emilio Martinez. 

Key Player
Eric Bautheac – Ben Khalfallah was not shy in handing out praise to the 30-year-old French winger and has tipped Bautheac to dominate the league this season. Brisbane desperately required a wide man to replace the departed duo of Borrello and Thomas Broich and have done so successfully with the arrival of Bautheac. His peach of a left foot is going to do a lot of talking in the A-League this season.

One to watch
Peter Skapetis – Skapetis left for England at sixteen with spells at Queens Park Rangers and Stoke City and was widely tipped as one of the most talented young Australians in the national youth set-up, before an injury setback in 2014 sparked a tumultuous couple of seasons for the powerful front man. Now back on home shores Skapetis has already impressed his new club, upgrading him to a full one-year deal after he was initially placed on the books as an injury replacement. Banging in the goals during pre-season, Skapetis might just prove to be Brisbane’s most shrewd investment of the season.

Full squad list
1. Michael THEO, 2. Dane INGHAM, 3. Luke DEVERE, 4. Daniel BOWLES, 5. Corey BROWN, 6. Avraam PAPADOPOULOS, 7. Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8. Jacob PEPPER, 9. Massimo MACCARONE, 10. Brett HOLMAN, 11. Corey GAMEIRO, 13. Jade NORTH, 14. Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 16. Mitchell OXBORROW, 17. Matt MCKAY, 18. Joe CALETTI, 19. Jack HINGERT, 20. Shannon BRADY, 21. Jamie YOUNG, 24. Connor O’TOOLE, 26. Nicholas D’AGOSTINO, 33. Peter SKAPETIS, *Eric BAUTHEAC (Yet to receive official squad number).

SHARE
Josh is a student journalist at the University of Queensland currently covering Brisbane Roar's 17/18 season.