With tonight’s Elimination Final upon them, Brisbane Roar coach John Aloisi has challenged his side to “make history” and win the Hyundai A-League championship after finishing outside the top-two spots.
Throughout the 11 previous A-League seasons, the grand final winner has been a team that finished either first or second in the regular season.
Roar – who finished third behind Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory – will need to win three straight matches, including potentially two in a row away from home, to become the first club to lift the Championship trophy on four occasions.
BIG-GAME PLAYERS CRUCIAL
Aloisi believes he has the “big-game players” required to do so.
Four players – captain Matt McKay, Jade North, Michael Theo and Thomas Broich – remain from Brisbane’s previous grand final-winning sides, while Aloisi has brought in three this season that have won league titles elsewhere.
Brett Holman won the Eredivisie with AZ Alkmaar, Thomas Kristensen won the Danish Superliga with FC Copenhagen and Avram Papadopoulos won the Greek Super League with Olympiacos.
“We’ve got big-game players, we’ve got players that have had this experience before and players that know what to do come finals time,” Aloisi told reporters on Thursday ahead of Roar’s elimination final against Western Sydney Wanderers.
“We’re going to have to make history [to win the championship]. We know it can be done.
“There’s no doubt about that… we’ve got the squad that can go all the way but first we’ve got a very difficult game but I think an exciting game tomorrow night.”
REMATCH BUT NO REVENGE
Brisbane will host Western Sydney at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night in a rematch of last season’s stunning semi-final that saw Roar lead 3-0 after 22 minutes but eventually lose 5-4 in extra time at Wanderland.
That match has remained in Roar’s collective memory since.
“That hurt that night because we wanted to go the grand final and, you know, it hurt in the off-season but it just drove us more in pre-season that we want to go the grand final,” Aloisi said.
“Whether it was against the Wanderers or it was against someone else, there’s no revenge here. What we want is to go all the way.”
Roar’s boss called on Brisbane to support their team like they rarely have before, with Aloisi setting a crowd target of 30,000.
“If we can get over 30,000 there for the game and make it an occasion, a spectacle, everyone will remember that day and that will help us get over the line against a good Wanderers side,” he said.