Roar claim Premier’s Plate in thriller

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With only three rounds still remaining, Brisbane Roar claimed the A-League Premier’s Plate after a nail-biting win over a determined and classy Melbourne Victory at Suncorp Stadium.

The Roar now join the Victory as the most successful club in A-League history with two premierships and two championships and have earned the right to compete in the Asian Champion’s League competition next season.

Despite juggling a heavy Asian Champions League schedule in recent weeks, the Victory showed no sign of fatigue and were determined make the Roar earn the silverware from FFA Boss David Gallop.

You could be excused for thinking that this was a Grand Final dress rehearsal as the quality of the match never waned and continued to build in intensity right from the opening whistle.

As often is the case with the Roar, they starved the Victory of possession and their slick one and two touch passing game created plenty of opportunities for a forward line missing key striker Besart Berisha through suspension.

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The most pleasing aspect of this season for the Roar has been the ability and competitiveness of bench players to fill the void and lift in games they were expected to struggle.

Luke Brattan despite an early injury scare battled through the pain barrier to earn his hero status after his cracking strike found the netting deep into extra time and ignited a tense 17, 965 fans at the ground.

As has become the “norm” in recent years, it was the German engineered Thomas Broich who was instrumental in delivering the horsepower and reliability under the bonnet of a Roar outfit that believes they can always win a contest despite the lack of sand left in the added-time “egg timer”.

Melbourne Victory’s glove man Lawrence Thomas went perilously close to claiming his second clean sheet in a week despite being peppered like a sideshow alley wood-duck after contending with nine shots on target to Michael Theo’s two.

An invigorated and match fit Henrique created plenty of headaches for the Victory with his slippery-fish runs but failed to convert many chances on goal.

Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey heaped plenty of praise on both teams but singled out match winner Luke Brattan for a special mention at the post match press conference.

“This is what I love about this kid (Brattan). He’s so humble, he’s just scored the winning goal that has brought the Premiership to the club in the 90th minute and he’s gonna go a long way.”

Mulvey was glowing in his assessment on the game itself.

“It was two teams, well organised, having a go at each other, playing football the way I think it should be played. It’s a great sign for Australian football. That quality of football tonight, I’m very proud to be involved in a game like that!”

Mulvey also had plenty to say about the strong ethos of success at the club “From the tea-lady to the chairman, everybody deserves credit.”

Whoever that magic tea-lady is, she looks in line for a bonus or at the very least a new kettle at season’s end.

For now the Roar can celebrate a wonderful achievement, but come Monday morning it is back to the training pitch as they prepare to host Melbourne Heart and look towards another three points and ticking off the third and most important goal in Mike Mulvey’s sights, winning the A-League Grand Final.

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Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael Theo (GK), 2. Matthew Smith (C), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 10. Henrique, 11. Liam Miller, 14. Diogo Ferreira, 17. Matt McKay, 18. Luke Brattan, 19. Jack Hingert, 22. Thomas Broich, 23. Dimitri Petratos

Subs: 8. Steve Lustica, 16. Jean Carlos Solorzano, 20. Matt Acton (GK), 27. Devante Clut, 28. Brandon Borrello

Melbourne Victory: 20. Lawrence Thomas (GK), 5. Mark Milligan (C), 6. Leigh Broxham, 7. Gui Finkler, 9. Kosta Barbarouses, 14. James Troisi, 17. James Jeggo, 21. Tomas Rogic, 23. Adrian Leijer, 24. Scott Galloway, 25. Jason Geria

Subs: 1. Nathan Coe, 10. Archie Thompson, 16. Rashid Mahazi, 22. Jesse Makarounas, 26. 31. Dylan Marianne

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