End of 2021/22 season report card: Brisbane Roar

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With the 2021/22 A-League Men’s regular season over, it is time we reviewed the performance of those clubs that failed to make the finals series – on this occasion it’s Brisbane Roar’s turn. 

Season summary

The Roar started the season flat, taking only two points from their first five games. The side looked a long way from the team which had finished fourth through the regular season the year before.

This fall from grace can be most easily attributed to the lack of goals Brisbane managed in their opening matches. The Roar only managed to score two goals in their first five matches. 

This sluggish start meant Brisbane had dug themselves an inescapable hole as the competition rolled into 2022. A win against eventual wooden spooners Perth Glory may have brought back some hope but it was short-lived as Brisbane fluctuated between dominant and helpless to win four of their next 13 games. 

Ultimately the Roar’s goal was to make the finals series at the minimum but a lack of cohesion between performances week-to-week meant this became an impossible task. 

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To finish the season coach Warren Moon turned his attention to developing the young talent in his squad as the more established players failed to perform as expected. 

Roar fans will hope that youngsters like Henry Hore and Louis Zabala have had enough time this season to become accustomed to the A-League Men environment and are ready to make a real push for finals football next year. 

Areas of excellence: Youngsters rewarded

In a season comprising seven wins, five draws and 14 losses you could be forgiven for thinking that there wasn’t a single area of excellence for the Roar. However, as mentioned before, the ability of Brisbane’s younger players to step up and prove their worth is an undeniable highlight. 

The faith Moon has shown in his younger players has been thoroughly rewarded in their performance on the pitch despite the results. 

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Youngsters including Kai Trewin, Henry Hore and Rahmat Akbari have all established themselves as key players in Brisbane’s starting 11 and are undoubtedly some of the first names on Moon’s team sheet each week. 

The development of Louis Zabala and Cyrus Dehmie, who have shown glimpses in their limited minutes, is also encouraging for the future of this Roar squad. Moon should be excited for an off-season in which these players can further develop and grow their connections with teammates on the pitch. 

Areas of improvement: Stringing two halves together

The biggest area of improvement for the Roar comes from their inability to control and then dominate games both home and away. Too often the Roar play an excellent 45 minutes but fail to carry it on for the full 90. 

This could be blamed on the youth present in the squad but it is in these moments when you need your experienced players to stand up and motivate those around them, something which was sorely missing for Brisbane all season. 

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The second biggest issue for Brisbane is the lack of goals they scored through 2021/22. The Roar scored 29 goals in 26 games, a figure which puts them second last in the league for goals scored. 

Brisbane’s struggles in front of goal were no more evident than in their 2-0 loss to Central Coast Mariners, in which the Roar fired off 21 shots to the Mariners six but still failed to find the back of the net. 

Whether it’s a lack of confidence in front of goal or just pure lack of ability it should be clear to Moon where he needs to strengthen his squad in the off-season. Especially when midfielder Jay O’Shea finished the season second in the league for assists. 

Top student: Henry Hore

A tough choice between midfield veteran Jay O’Shea and rising-star forward Henry Hore, but the youngster gets this one on his more experienced teammate.

The 22-year-old Hore made 17 starts in his debut A-League Men campaign for a total of just over 1500 minutes through 2021/22. The young Queenslander seemed to grow with every game for the Roar as he nailed down the left-wing spot by the end of the season. 

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He scored a total of five goals during the A-League Men season, a figure only topped by Juan Lescano, who tallied six in 20 games. A modest return but the goals he did score were so calmly taken in big moments that Hore looked like a seasoned veteran. 

If the young winger can continue to grow his game through the off-season and gain more confidence at the top level, the sky looks like the limit for him. 

Class clown: Matti Steinmann

Matti Steinmann earns the dishonour of being Brisbane’s class clown in 2021/22. The midfielder had a torrid season in the orange and black, failing to register any goal involvements from his midfield role. 

Coach Moon undoubtedly expected more out of his German midfielder, who came through at Hamburg SV in the Bundesliga. Especially after a season to acclimatise with Wellington Phoenix in 2020/21. Unfortunately, too often Steinmann played sluggishly, wasting possession and turning the ball over.

Steinmann’s negative play was also opposite to Moon’s style with the midfielder regularly playing balls backwards and sideways instead of forwards. His lack of positioning in the attacking half was also noticeable as he often sat too deep playing more like a centre-back than a midfielder. 

Ultimately Steinmann was dropped from the match-day squad altogether for Brisbane’s last eight games of the season. Meaning it’s unlikely we’ll see him run out again in a Roar jersey considering his profile as a marquee visa-player

Grade: D

Outlook

While most Roar fans will lament a dismal season that saw them fall from fourth-place the year prior to second last in 2021/22, the future does look bright for Brisbane. 

If Moon can develop the young talent he’s already exposed this season into quality A-League Men players and sign complimentary visa-players to surround them there is no reason Brisbane can’t return to challenging for the premiership or championship. 

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The key will be holding onto O’Shea, who keeps the squad ticking at all times in his role as captain and seems to have an undeniable talent for picking the perfect pass when in attack. 

While many have called for Moon to be replaced after such a shocking season, this reaction seems needless, particularly after he led the club to fourth position the year before. For his sake and the fans, lets hope Brisbane can return to their best in 2022/23. 

Feature image credit: Josh Springfield

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Bill Hedley
Journalism under graduate at the University of Queensland. I have been a die-hard football player and fan for the past 16 years and am now a passionate multimedia Journalist, covering Brisbane Roar for the 2021/22 A-League season.

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