With just six games remaining in the A-League Premiership season, essentially every team in the competition still has something big to play for. Leading the pack are the Brisbane Roar, who currently sit seven points clear of their nearest rivals who find themselves in an uneven patch of form. The key for head coach Mike Mulvey is to ensure that his players are performing at their peak as the season approaches its conclusion.
With the importance placed on the Grand Final in Australia, this impressive season will feel incomplete if they cannot go on and complete the double. To do so, they have to make sure that they do not get complacent and cruise to the finish line. In recent weeks the Roar have found themselves struggling to hit the heights of the first half of the season but have been able to grind out enough points to stay ahead of the chasing pack. If they were playing in Mulvey’s native England, where the Premiers are also the Champions, the next month and a half would all be about self-preservation and maintaining the lead on the table. Instead, they will need to have themselves in top form going into the sudden death finals series to give themselves the best chance of winning the big trophy.
Their first hurdle comes on Sunday afternoon against Adelaide United who have found themselves in a red hot patch of form and have worked their way up to third on the table. Just three years ago, the Roar’s possession based, Barcelona style of play revolutionalised the A-League and now Adelaide have adopted that theory behind Josep Gombau, a former Barcelona assistant. A win in this game will not be easy, but it will put the Roar one step closer to getting their first trophy of the season as well as putting them in prime position for another home Grand Final.
It is easy for the armchair sportsman to say that the Roar should win, they cannot let themselves look too far ahead. The old cliché of “one game at a time” has never been more relevant as the Roar just have to take care of what is in front of them on a weekly basis. Doing that will give them the best chance to become the first Australian team to win three championships.