Round 27 sees the regular season come to an end with a trick trip to Melbourne to take on the Victory with the Premiership on the line.
The race for the Premiership reaches its conclusion this weekend four sides remaining in the hunt to lift the Plate. For Brisbane, a win this weekend would secure the clubs third Premiership but any slip ups would open the door for Adelaide United, Melbourne City or Western Sydney Wanderers. Going into the weekend Brisbane sit top of the table on 47 points, with Adelaide on 46, Western Sydney on 45 and Melbourne City on 44.
With a win needed to secure the plate, its worth noting Brisbane’s dismal record in Melbourne, with just five wins from 24 games in the Victorian capital. Brisbane’s record at AAMI Park is especially bad reading with just two wins from 13 games at the venue against both Victory and City combined.
Their last win in Melbourne however was at AAMI Park against the Victory, with a 3-0 win in January 2014 coming as one of the standout results in Brisbane’s last Premiership winning season.
Last week Brisbane had to fight hard to overcome a stubborn Newcastle side after falling a goal behind due to a penalty conceded by Jade North for handball. Goals from Henrique –also from the penalty spot- and a winner from Thomas Broich sent Brisbane top of the table.
While Brisbane have been winning in recent weeks, they’ve had to come from behind frequently, a recipe which doesn’t always work and giving up leads from winning positions is something that John Aloisi will need to address when the finals start.
Meanwhile Melbourne are locked into an away elimination final next week, but appear to be heading for the finals with momentum on the back of wins over Western Sydney and Wellington. Victory are also fighting on duel fronts with the Champions League taking priority in recent times, and with six points from 4 games they stand in good shape to make it to the knockout rounds.
The two meetings between these sides this season were completely contrasting, with convincing wins at home for both sides.
In round 15 Brisbane started very sluggishly and the home side scored twice in the opening 11 minutes before running away with a 4-0 win. Much of that early damage was self inflicted by the Roar, but it was one of Melbourne’s better performances this season.
In the second match just a month ago, Brisbane put on their best performance of the season in a 5-0 revenge win at home thanks to a Jamie Maclaren hat-trick.
Brisbane XI – Young, Hingert, North, Donachie, Brown, Petratos, Corona, McKay, Borello, Broich, Maclaren
Substitutes – Theo, Bowles, Lustica, Oar, Henrique
Omitted – Stafanutto, Hervas
After last weeks come from behind win over Newcastle, it’s unlikely that John Aloisi will make any changes to the side given there’s so much to play for. At this stage of the season it’s time to stick with those in the side and trust them to deliver.
Melbourne XI– Thomas, Geria, Broxham, Delpierre, Galloway, Valeri, Bozanic, Finkler, Barbarouses, Ben Khalfallah, Howard. Substitutes– Vukovic, Deng, Makarounas, Ingham, Thompson. Omitted- Gallifuoco, Pain.
There’s a bit of guess work in Melbourne’s side given they have little to play for and they had a big Asian Champions League clash midweek in South Korea. Besart Berisha is definitely out due to his red card in Wellington last week, but apart from that it’s unclear who will take the park for Melbourne tomorrow. The above is simply just a best available side of those selected.