Happiness seemed to be slowly creeping back for Brisbane Roar this season but in retrospect it just turned out to be the club’s walkout song with an absolute rollercoaster of a season going down in the river city.

The Football Sack has compiled the grades and it’s now time to evaluate Brisbane’s tumultuous season!

This season

A-League
Regular season – 6th (10 wins, 5 draws, 12 defeats)
Finals – Knocked out in week 1 elimination final

FFA Cup
Round of 32 exit

Top scorer
Massimo Maccarone – 9 goals

Embed from Getty Images

Season summary

Brisbane stormed home to steal the sixth and final spot of finals football with a turnaround in form that really came out of the blue. Over the last 10 rounds Brisbane earned the second most points in the league behind Sydney FC.

Despite the run of good results to finish the season the identity of the side is still very much up in the air. After 30 games played this season across all competitions it is still not clear how head coach John Aloisi wants his side to play. Some weeks the Roar would set-up in a low block to catch teams on the counter. The next week they would come out guns blazing for 90 minutes of end-to-end football. Brisbane just never nailed down an identity and the squad rarely played flowing football.

Injuries decimated the club for the majority of the season and the beginning of the season reflected this. By the end of round six Brisbane was yet to win a game and sat bottom of the league with three points to their name from three successive draws. By the midway point after round 14 Brisbane had notched three wins and four draws and sat second from the bottom.

The infamous shirt/tape gaffe took place in mid-January during the ACL qualification match against Filipino club Ceres-Negros FC and the events that transpired that night were an embarrassment for the club and the A-League. If you were to grab a silver lining from the debacle it would be that Brisbane finally woke up from their hangover of mediocrity both on and off the field.

Over the next 13 matchdays Brisbane would miraculously pick up 22 points including the scalp of runaway leaders Sydney FC on their home turf. The run of good form would come to an end in week one of the finals however, with Melbourne City convincingly outplaying Brisbane in a 2-0 win.

Areas in need of improvement

Brisbane struggled all over the park at certain times this season but scoring goals was always a constant worry every match. Brisbane scored just 33 goals across all 27 rounds and never really looked a side that could really put opposing defensive lines to the sword at any given time. And then there’s the club’s recruitment of veteran players Massimo Maccarone, Fahid Ben Khalfallah and eventually Henrique.

Securing Maccarone’s signature was an attempt to sign a reputable player with big league experience and bonafide quality, but unfortunately it remained the signing of one of the oldest players to ever grace the A-League. Full credit to Maccarone though, he held Brisbane up multiple times throughout the season, played every single round and was undoubtedly one of their best. However he never really showed to have another gear and became predictable as a predominately back to goal forward. The few rounds where he dropped deeper and was able to play in between lines was where his talent and experience really shone through.

Ben Khalfallah and Maccarone will not be back next season and hopefully the recruitment of their replacements by the club shows the intent to return to the top end next season.

Top student

Jamie Young once again began the season as the designated number two keeper but a lingering finger injury for the now departed Michael Theo handed Young the gloves from round 5 full-time. Young produced a long line of spectacular saves from the get-go, saving Brisbane’s blushes multiple times.

Embed from Getty Images

Only Wanderers keeper Vedran Janjetovic made more saves than Young this season, besting the Roar gloveman with 109 saves to 91.

Young recently signed another two-year contract with the Roar and the club be happy to have secured one of the best goalkeepers in the league.

Class clown

You simply cannot single out an individual here because the whole team underperformed on expectations. From the failed Petros Skapetis experiment to the aforementioned jersey fiasco and then Avraam Papadopoulos’ spitting incident or even Eric Bautheac’s late arrival from France with the season already started. It’s safe to say that there were numerous moments the club will want to forget from this season.

Grade: C-

Outlook

Offseason acquisitions and departures will be an early indication of how the Roar plan to move forward for the 2018/19 season.

A handful of young players such as Rahmat Akbari and Daniel Leck showed sparks of becoming first-team regulars when given the opportunity but both are still very much raw talents that could be hit or miss. Connor O’Toole was well and truly thrown into the deep end late in the season as one half of Aloisi’s makeshift centre-back pairing and performed admirably. Thankfully O’Toole extended his contract with the club recently and looks set to be Brisbane’s long-term left-back for the foreseeable future with Corey Brown’s impending switch to Melbourne Victory next season.

Brisbane were finally able to move into their new home at Logan in March and the move away from Ballymore to a permanent home will do nothing but benefit the entire club.

A positive pre-season not riddled with setbacks and injuries will be Aloisi’s biggest wish heading into his fourth season with the club.

Feature photo: BRFC photographer Paul Smith

SHARE
Josh is in the final stages of a journalism degree at The University of Queensland and is also firmly aboard the Arzani hype-train.