A-League Women mid-season report card: Brisbane Roar

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As we approach the halfway point of the A-League Women season, the Football Sack takes a moment to look at how your club is faring so far.

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Semester Summary: Sitting in sixth place on the ladder at the halfway mark of the season would not typically inspire much optimism for the Roar. However, with a chunk of injuries, a stretch of unavailability to key players, and the introduction of fresh faces, to still be in the fight for finals at this point is a net positive.

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Brisbane’s three wins, three losses and round one draw has them three points off  Melbourne Victory in fourth position. Inconsistent is the most apt description of the Roar’s on field performances in 2022/23. In the space of a month, Brisbane’s women have yoyoed between dominant displays and demoralising drubbings. December alone was bookended by 4-0 and 4-1 thrashings by Sydney FC and a 3-0 loss to Melbourne City, yet the side produced two compelling wins in between to keep their season afloat.

Area of excellence: There is no shortage of resilience in this side’s makeup. Brisbane have persevered despite being without Matildas’ star Katrina Gorry for the opening games of the season and incurring a season ending injury to key forward Mariel Hecher. Just as a myriad of personnel changes hasn’t changed the Roar’s attitude, nor has fluctuating form. As mentioned previously, Brisbane still remains in finals contention despite what could’ve been irrevocable damage caused by the imposing Sydney FC.

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Area in need of improvement: Roar’s goal differential leaves a lot to be desired. In the games they have won, Brisbane have only scored a maximum of two goals. Leaking several goals, particularly to competition leader Sydney FC and also Melbourne City, in conjunction with a lack of attacking potency will mean Brisbane will have to constantly play catch up football in pursuit of a goal deficit that befits a final’s position.

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Top student: Larissa Crummer remains the number one threat in Brisbane’s lineup. While goals have been scored with ease at the other end, Roar’s attack has to work very hard for their seven goals, two of which Crummer has scored herself.

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Losing her partner in Hechel has seen Crummer assume greater responsibility in the front half of the pitch. She has brought others into the games and produced opportunities from limited supply.

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Class clown: American Hensley Hancuff has had mixed fortunes at the start of her professional career. The goalkeeper made a brilliant start to the season with a plethora of courageous saves against Canberra and Newcastle in particular. She has consistently put her body in harms way amidst an onslaught of opposition attack. Hancuff’s brilliant saves feature regularly in highlight reels, however she equally has conceded big bags of goals against the best sides as an inexperienced goalkeeper making her way in the ALW.

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Whilst her poorly performed teammates in defence have a lot to do with this, Hancuff is evidently still finding consistency at the top level.

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Grade: B-

Outlook: Consistency and cohesion on the team sheet may well ensure a finals birth for Brisbane Roar in 2022/23. The back half of the season is a slightly softer draw than the first half.

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Two games against bottom teams in Wellington and the Wanderers should give the Roar a stable base to push toward the final four. When push comes to shove will Brisbane’s leaky defence solidify? The answer to that question may well be season defining.

Feature Image Credit: Kyoko Kurihara

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

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