Neville’s bold finals prediction for experienced Roar

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A-League Men’s stalwart Scott Neville has little doubt the Brisbane Roar can ascend back up the ladder this year after a dire 2021/22 season.

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Placing second last in the previous year’s competition was unfamiliar territory for the three-time A-League Men champions, but Scott Neville believes the Roar’s strong off-season additions and a return to their spiritual home has allowed the Brisbane outfit to approach this new year with a clean slate.

The 33-year-old joined the Roar in 2019, and says that more experience within the squad will only benefit them this season.

“I think this year we’ve brought in a bit more experience and some of our foreigners and older players are back playing again,” Neville told The Football Sack.

“There’s more competition for spots. It’s good, there’s a positive vibe around the place which is what you want to see.”

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The experienced defender is adamant that last year’s horrendous campaign was an anomaly for a club more familiar with success than failure.

“Last season was tough”, he said.

“We had COVID and we had to fly in, fly out on the day of the game with a very inexperienced squad.”

Now into his 15th season in Australia’s top league, Neville cites experienced signings, like that of former Premier League striker Charlie Austin, as a major reason the Roar can correct last year’s deficiencies.

“The guy’s scored goals at the top level which is what we were lacking last season,” Neville explained.

“We had the second most shots in the league last year, but I think we scored the third least amount of goals which is a bit of a reflection of our season.”

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Austin and his side were warmly embraced by the Roar faithful on the weekend at Suncorp Stadium, a new aspect to this year that Neville’s teammates will need to take advantage of.

“We haven’t played there for a couple of seasons and I had the pleasure of playing in a grand final there, albeit for a losing team, in front of 55-60,000 people that day”, Neville recalled.

“It’s a bit of a colosseum and to be honest it’s one of the best sporting stadiums in Australia if you watch league or soccer with a good crowd.

“It’s not easy coming up to Brisbane, it’s a humid place during summer and we have a real benefit which we need to capitalise on.”

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Shrewd off-season recruiting and a return to Roar heartland has Brisbane setting high expectations for this season.

Neville believes that his side is right in the mix to claim the A-League Men’s premiership, in spite of many pundit’s predictions.

“I don’t think there will be any team who will run away with it this year”, he claimed.

“The A-League’s a funny league, one week you’ll beat the top team but lose to the bottom team.

“Because of the salary cap it makes it a really honest league, and I don’t see why we can’t push as high up in those final’s places as possible.”

Feature Image Credit: Andrew Hudson

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Liam Cook
Aspiring football enthusiast. Covering Brisbane Roar in 2022/23.

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