Brisbane Roar are on the road again this weekend, this time in Northern Queensland as they take on Wellington Phoenix at Cazalys Stadium in Cairns.
While the Roar have taken some pre-season games to Cairns in the past –most latterly in September 2013 in a 4-1 win over Sydney- this is the first time that the A-League has gone to Cairns for a competitive game.
This is also the first completive game in North Queensland since early 2011, when the North Queensland Fury played their final home game against Melbourne Victory.
While this isn’t the first time they’ve taken games away from Brisbane, this is the first time that the Roar have taken their bi-annual extra home game to the regions, with the extra game previously being held at Suncorp Stadium.
This time around however that wasn’t an option with the ground currently being re-turfed following the recent concerts at the venue.
The Roar have spent the better part of the last week in Cairns promoting the game with a host of community engagement activities engaging the football family as they seek to make the Roar seen as a team for everyone in the state.
Those in the far north are using this weekends match to kick-start a campaign to return football to the North on a permanent basis, with reports of Hong Kong based Aquis –who sponsor NPL Queensland’s’ FNQ Heat- considering funding expansion in the north should the FFA show any interest.
A-League Preview/ Western Sydney Review
Despite playing their part in arguably the game of the season on Saturday night, Brisbane came away on the wrong side of a 2-1 score line against the Wanderers.
Despite playing well, Brisbane were perhaps not clinical enough in front of goal to make their chances pay, something they will need to do this weekend and beyond if they are to remain towards the top of the A-League table.
On a bright note, off-season signing Jamie Maclaren netted his fifth goal of the season and looks to be a striker capable of getting the goals and leading the line. Having seen imports Mensur Kurtishi and Andrija Kaluderovic both come and go last season with limited success, it’s good to see the gap that was left when Berisha went to Melbourne may have finally been filled.
Onto this weekend’s game, it looks to be an interesting one between two teams who’ve shown the capacity, if not the consistency to compete for honours this season. Both of these sides have plenty of attacking talent so it should be an entertaining encounter with both sides hoping to push for the top of the table.
Brisbane arrive in the Cairns having played well recently but are winless in their last three games, while Wellington arrive off an impressive win over Victory on a shocking pitch in Auckland.
In the National Youth League this weekend Brisbane play just their second home game of the season against Adelaide United, as the truncated NYL season enters its second half.
After a strong start to the season, the Young Roar side have slipped to 3rd in Conference A, while Adelaide –who won the reverse fixture between the two sides- currently sit top of the section.
Kick-off between Brisbane and Adelaide is set down for 10.30am Saturday at Cleveland Showgrounds.
The women’s team have their scheduled bye this week which will hopefully give them the chance to re-set ahead of the final third of the season as they chase a finals berth. Currently the Roar ladies sit 8th on the table, with their next home game away to Sydney FC Sunday week.