The Roar have had their best pre-season despite a loss to Wellington in NZ and Everton at home. Do thye have what it takes or will Ange have to walk by year's end?
No. 1 Keeper Michael Theoklitos (5 star?)
Coaches must bring players with them. Michael is Ange's coup. A-League teams are built on defence and defences are built on goalkeepers. Michael has already been a great A-League keeper, but went overseas and lost a lot. After letting in 7 in his only game for Norwich, he now has a lot to prove. And if he does, he could take the Roar to the finals, if not the ACL. At the critical time, Reddy was a dud. Michael could have what it takes.
No. 2 Keeper Andrew Redmayne (2 star?)
If the Roar have to find out if Andrew is any good - or they start playing silly billies and giving no 1 and 2 turns, Brisbane are probably in trouble, particularly Ange.
The Roar have never looked so good in defence - except with Moore at his best - 2008-9.
Luke DeVere (4 star?)
Won great praise against Everton. Has learnt from Moore. A lot expected this year.
Ivan Franjic (3.5 star?)
Has looked fantastic as an overlapping right back. If the Roar click, Ivan could be setting up goals this year.
Matt Mundy (2 star?)
Start his career with great promise 2 years ago but faded last year. Needs to prove himself this year.
Matthew Smith (3 star?)
Looked OK playing for NQ Fury for 2 months. Lots of lower league English experience in the middle of defence.At 28 could be still young enough to learn and excel in the A-League. Brisbane need him to be still learning and improving. A real test for Ange's opportunistic buying from Fury.
Shane Stefanutto (4 star? or injury prone?)
Left back, 30 year Shane was born in Cairns and last year was in the top 10 highest paid in the A-League. No doubt his pay will have come down with a thud. However, it was long term injury that really hurt him and Fury last season. Lots of experience in Norway. Could be the difference for Brisbane in defence. Not worked too hard in the pre-season as he was eased back into it.
Milan Susak (3.5 star?)
Another central defender, Milan has great experience for a 26 year old at this level - 5 years in Serbia, 10 games with Adelaide United and 2 years in Germany. Not sure about him. I suspect the thinking is that if he can standout he will get a great sales margin at the end of the season.
Perhaps, on paper the midfield looks a little weaker than last year. But this year they will be more trainable and disciplined. And..
Matt McKay (4 stars? or 5?)
.. has turned down China and got the captaincy he was promised before Craig Moore turned up. he and Massimo will provide the fans names they recognise and respect. if this is Matt's year, it will be Ange's and Brisbane's.
Thomas Broich (5 stars?)
Could Broich be Brisbane's well behaved playmaker - at long last? Big shoes from Miller - but the rap from the pre-season including assessments from other teams is very good. Good to see that he seems to be able to play 90 minutes. Looking forward to seeing him. Against Gold Coast we could know.
Luke Brattan (2 to 3 stars)
If Luke had emerged last year as hoped things could have been different. Classic middle of the park passer. Interesting to see how much game time he gets. My guess is only a lot if things do not go well.
Massimo Murdocca (3 stars)
Fans love him or hate him. Gets lots of credit for holding up the midfield, pace and stamina. Can he keep going?
James Meyer (2 stars?)
Seems to have had a lot of promise early but hasn't been able to convert it - returned from overseas to play lessor leagues here. Huge incentive to show he has career ahead of him. Not sure.
Erik Paartalu (2 Stars)
Again had enough to get overseas early but didn't kick on (see a theme here? good sign in some ways for Australians overseas that they will get a second chance to get attention, get game time and learn). 2nd division Scotland isn't what it used to be. very gald to be surprised here.
Mitch Nichols (I would like to think a 4 Star?)
last year was a nightmare for Mitch. So many one-on-one's with keepers didn't go his way (or they did). This is his chance. Mitch must now show he is a trainable.
Brisbane's forward line has new faces. With van Dijk gone, someone has to stand up or Ange is in trouble.
Reinaldo (2 Star)
The goal again Sydney in 2007-8 won him over for many fans. Then he went to Korea and was broken by the training schedule. We got him back for free. But he hasn't been the same. Now he has done his hamstring and will not play till game 3 or 4. Oh dear.
Jean Carlo Solorzano (needs to be 5 Star for Brisbane to make the ACL)
There is a lot riding on Costa Rican Solorzano. On paper he seems to have potential and his loan deal seems to indicate he is here to get exposure for a European sale. Ange needs him to be a star. But with no pre-season (he arrived today to play 8 August) - he may take half the season to get going.
Henrique (3 stars)
Injury robbed Roar fans of Henrique last year. he needs to back to his best.
Kosta Barbarouses (4 Stars?)
Could keep some other forwards out. Has surprised in the pre-season. What were Wellington doing not playing this guy. Probably to be sold at the end of the year. But could be a real answer for Brisbane. May add to the midfield pace with some gas upfront. Watch this space.
Rocky Viconte (2 to 3.5 stars)
Already out with injury. I wish him well. Apparently looked good in what pre-season he had. game time?
Unfortunely Brisbane would be better off playing Gold Coast later in the season. As it is they need to do well to convince fans to stay with them. The Gold Coast are unlikely to have any fans anyway.