Looking back on the last six months, there was so much to enjoy. Jamie Maclaren was an incredible new signing and a sublime goal poacher. Henrique cemented his status as one of the club’s legends with an incredible glut of goals, particularly at home. Huge improvements by Jamie Young and Dimi Petratros made them fan favourites after a torrid 14/15 season. John Aloisi proved himself as a coach and put to rest the spectre of his Melbourne Heart days. There were 5-0 and 4-0 rampages to enjoy. Many, many last gasp comebacks.
Sure we occasionally switched off at the back and shipped four or five goals a whole bunch of times. And we stopped winning in November and January which was a bit scary. But whenever we went off the boil, the team showed great character in getting back on track and rediscovering their form.
I think one of the most satisfying things about this season is seeing three friends who are casual supporters become converted into full blooded Brisbane Roar tragics. They had come along to games before but it was this season that converted them. The sight of Thomas Broich majestically soaring through the air and heading home a stoppage time winner will do that.
Anyway, here it is, my ten favourite moments of the 2015/16 season.
BONUS PRE-SEASON MOMENT
Brisbane Roar vs Liverpool FC
EXHIBITION MATCH, JULY 17 2015
Brisbane Roar played a preseason friendly at home to Liverpool FC. There’s a capacity crowd of over fifty thousand in attendance, mostly draped in Red. Brisbane Roar supporters are sullen about their prospects for the upcoming season.
Sixteen minutes in, Dimi Petratos latched onto a low cross into the area. He jinked his way into a goal scoring position and calmly slotted the ball past Simon Mignolet to give Brisbane the lead over Liverpool and completely bamboozle the capacity crowd in attendance. It was a stunning show of confidence of a player who was badly out of the form in 2014/15. It would be a sign of things to come for Dimi who had a sensational 2015/16 campaign.
THE TEN BEST MOMENTS OF 2015/16
10. Brisbane Roar vs Western Sydney Wanderers
ROUND ONE, OCTOBER 8 2015
The opening game of the season was against a formidable Western Sydney Wanderers side who were one of the favourites to win silverware this season. Brisbane had endured a miserable pre-season that was filled with off-field drama. It was time to put that all behind them and get the season under way. Expectations were very low.
Jamie Maclaren latched onto a wayward pass from Dean Heffernan and coolly chipped the ball over an onrushing Andrew Redmayne. It was Maclaren’s first goal for the Roar. It set the tone for a trail blazing season for Maclaren who would go on to break the record for most goals scored by an Australian player in a single season of the A-League. He would go on to score 20 goals that season and win the Young Player of the Season award.
9. Brisbane Roar vs Central Coast Mariners
ROUND TWO, OCTOBER 18 2015
Round Two of the competition was the first home game of the season for the Roar. They were coming off an unexpected Round 1 victory over Western Sydney Wanderers and they built upon that promising start with a 2-0 win over Central Coast Mariners thanks to a brace from Brandon Borrello.
There were many reasons that Roar fans were angry after the disastrous 2014/15 season. During the pre-season fan forum, a supporter angrily levelled a charge at the panel (Damien De Bohun, Mark Bosnich, David Pourre and two Bakrie representatives) that the fans felt mislead and lied to by the club. The very lifeblood of the club – its connection with its supporters – had been taken for granted and the trust broken.
At that forum, a number of commitments were made to redress the situation. One of which was a commitment to greater engagement with the club supporters and the community at large.
At the end of the game in Round Two, the club arranged a team photo with season members on the field. It was an important first step towards meeting the commitments made to reconnect with the club’s supporters. Crucially, they would go on to meet their most important milestones in the weeks and months ahead. Players were paid what they were owed and the club began to clear their debts. The rebuilding of trust between fans and club administrators began here.
8. Brisbane Roar vs Perth Glory
ROUND SIX, NOVEMBER 15 2015
Six rounds into the competition and Brisbane are flying high at the top of the table. They had been bolstered by goals early in the season from Maclaren and Borrello. For this particular fixture, the club would welcome the return of fan favourite Henrique who had missed the start of the season due to injury.
Fifteen minutes after coming on as a substitute, Henrique would latch on to a ball from Hervas and knock the ball past Ante Covic. Suncorp Stadium lit up in jubilation and Henrique scored in his first game since becoming an Australian citizen. He wept tears of joy.
He would go on to have another stellar season. Roar supporters were also momentarily excited about what Hervas was capable of.
7. Brisbane Roar vs Melbourne City
ROUND TWELVE, DECEMBER 27 2015
In Round 12, Brisbane met Melbourne City who were beginning to turn heads thanks to the performance of eventual Golden Boot winner Bruno Fornaroli. It was billed as a clash between two of the most exciting attacking teams in the competition. Who would come out on top?
Down 2-1 in the dying moments of stoppage time, City goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen came up to Brisbane Roar’s penalty area when his side won a corner. The Roar defence cleared their lines and the ball fell to Henrique. He bolted towards the Den end of Suncorp Stadium and shrugged off the attentions of the scrambling City players to score from the halfway line.
6. Brisbane Roar vs Sydney FC
ROUND SEVENTEEN, JAN 30 2016
The Roar had a dreadful mid season slump where they conceded four goals in consecutive matches to Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United. To stay in the race for the Premiere’s Plate, they needed to right the ship quick smart. Their Round Seventeen clash was a trip away to Allianz Stadium against Sydney FC.
The Roar would thump Sydney FC 3-1 in resounding fashion. Any win over Sydney FC is a good win but this one had two particularly sweet keepsakes. Firstly, Jamie Maclaren scored a goal directly off of that cool scoop-pass that Broich does which cleared the heads of 3 Sydney defenders. The second goal of the night for the Roar was a header from pint-sized captain Matt McKay.
Matty McKay header goals are things to be treasured.
5. Brisbane Roar vs Western Sydney Wanderers
ROUND TWENTY TWO, MARCH 4 2016
After a 3-0 drubbing in the previous round at Adelaide, the Roar desperately needed to find their form. Sitting in third, the club had an opportunity to make amends when they hosted league leaders Western Sydney Wanderers. The Roar took an early lead through Jamie Maclaren but two defensive howlers saw the Wanderers go 2-1 up with less than ten to go.
Brisbane would rally back and score two goals in two minutes to come from behind to beat the Wanderers. It was even sweeter because Maclaren’s equalizing goal was scored during the travelling RBB’s Poznan.
4. Brisbane Roar vs Melbourne Victory
ROUND TWENTY THREE, MARCH 12 2016
Round 23 of the competition was to be a special occasion for journeyman goalkeeper Danny Vukovic who was making his 250th A-League appearance, a record number for any player in the competition. It would be a pity if someone decided to spoil the party.
The only thing better than beating Melbourne Victory five nil is doing it twice. The Roar destroyed Ange Postecoglou’s Victory side in 2012 and they did it again in 2016. It ties the biggest ever losing margin for Melbourne Victory and even better, Besart Berisha scored an own goal (eventually credited to Corey Brown but whatever).
3. Brisbane Roar vs Sydney FC
ROUND TWENTY FIVE, MARCH 26 2016
With the season entering the final few weeks, the battle for top spot was on a knife edge. The race for sixth spot was also heating up and after going eight rounds without a win, Graham Arnold’s side were desperate for a result. They took an early lead through Filip Holosko but then the Roar stormed back and reclaimed a 2-1 advantage. In the 86th minute, Holosko scored his second to draw the game level. While the Fox Sports coverage replayed the goal several times over, Brisbane Roar kicked off, raced down the field and…
…Tommy Oar latched onto a Jamie Maclaren pass, cut it back to Henrique who coolly slotted home the winning goal. Brisbane had scored straight from the kick off and killed off Sydney FC’s finals hopes. Graham Arnold held his head in his hands. “I really, really hate coming to Suncorp” he muttered.
2. Brisbane Roar vs Newcastle Jets
ROUND TWENTY SIX, APRIL 3 2016
In the penultimate round of the season and with everything to play for, the Roar faced a tricky assignment in the Newcastle Jets. The Jets had endured a miserable season but they still proved to be a bogey side for the Roar with two draws in their previous encounters. When the Jets nabbed a cheeky second half goal off a Jade North handball in the penalty area, it looked like the curse would strike again.
It took 26 weeks but it was worth the wait. Thomas Broich’s first goal of the season ensured that the Roar would be in control of their own destiny in the final round of the season.
1. Brisbane Roar vs Melbourne Victory
FINALS, APRIL 15 2016
After Melbourne Victory denied the Brisbane Roar a third Premiere’s Plate by holding them to a scoreless draw, the two sides would meet again five days later in the first round of the finals. Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas had put in a Man of the Match performance and the talk during the week was how the Roar would find a way past him. Controversially, Besart Berisha was allowed to play in the game after successfully appealing a two match ban for kicking Nix captain Andrew Durante.
The Victory dominated the game without anything to show for it. That is until the 86th minute when -who else? – Besart Berisha pounced on some poor defending off a corner to give the Victory the lead. With mere minutes left in the game, it looked like the Roar’s season was over.
Captain Matt McKay levelled the scores immediately after kick off to a thunderous reaction from the Roar faithful. Down to ten men and sitting deep, the Victory tried to hold on to reach extra time. The Roar won themselves a corner in the dying seconds of stoppage time. Corona curled in a sweetly struck ball and Thomas Broich soared six feet into the air and veritably smashed the ball into the back of the net, practically ripping the goal apart, such was its force. The goal secured a stunning comeback for Brisbane and a tearful Besart Berisha left Suncorp Stadium a beaten man.
Western Sydney Wanderers vs Brisbane Roar
FINALS, APRIL 24 2016
While its pretty stupid to throw away a three goal lead, let alone one in the finals, I still have fond memories of the last game of the season against Western Sydney Wanderers. The game was absolutely crazy from the opening whistle. I delighted in celebrating every goal the Roar scored and doing the Poznan when we were up 3-0. The atmosphere at the ground was incredible. It was a match for the ages.
I’m gutted we didn’t win but you can’t always have it your way. The next time we get one over the Wanderers in a big game, it will be that much sweeter.
A mad game to end a fantastically entertaining season.
THE SEASON IN TWEETS
— BrisbaneRoar (@brisbaneroar) March 29, 2016
— The Den (@BRFC_TheDen) April 4, 2016
— Dirga Ongkowidagdo (@diekarasu) March 26, 2016
— Daniel Carr (@danieljcarrr) January 30, 2016
— Dirga Ongkowidagdo (@diekarasu) March 26, 2016
— Patrick Barnes (@patrick478) March 4, 2016
— Kazonaki (@kazonis) March 4, 2016
Going to be hard to beat this admittedly. pic.twitter.com/qcHRzPcCzU
— Nice Orange (@AardigOranje) March 4, 2016
— Sportsbet.com.au (@sportsbetcomau) February 20, 2016
— Matt (@DTDmatt) February 20, 2016
What to do in Brisbane for 3h?Meeting my good friend Thomas Brioch and enjoying the city with all the good memories. pic.twitter.com/pCYSC0spMB
— Nadine Angerer (@NAngerer) February 19, 2016
To discover the content of a person’s character, lay on a sublime assist and see where they run to celebrate. pic.twitter.com/SNlTLBiAo5
— Nice Orange (@AardigOranje) January 31, 2016
— JYoung App. Society. (@JYoungSociety) January 2, 2016
— Ben Clark (@scouse_roar) December 27, 2015
— Nice Orange (@AardigOranje) December 20, 2015
— Nice Orange (@AardigOranje) December 9, 2015
— Hyundai A-League (@ALeague) November 23, 2015
— Jean Carlos (@jcsolorzano11) October 8, 2015
Hey WSW I got some Spanish for you. Jajajajajajaajajajaaaaaa
— Morgan Frendin (@MFrendin) October 8, 2015
Kicks off at 8pm, posted at 8.02pm. FOOTBALL IS BACK pic.twitter.com/0jOU8PzsKb
— A Fear Of Football (@FearOfFootball) October 8, 2015
— (not) Brisbane Roar (@Brisbane_Roar) October 6, 2015
Anything we get out this season will be hewn from granite with the bloody fingers of unpaid staff, coaches and players. Some start.
— Nice Orange (@AardigOranje) October 8, 2015