Saturday night at Suncorp was a spectacular scene. Brisbane captured the A-League Premiership thanks to a Luke Brattan thunderbolt in stoppage time, it should have come as no surprise that the Roar would win the trophy in such dramatic circumstances, they don't seem to know how to do it the easy way. Either way, with three games left in the season proper, the Roar have captured the first of two trophies on offer this season.
After the game, the rhetoric from the Roar players and coaching staff was that their job was only half finished, they wanted to go on and complete the double by winning May's Grand Final. They are in an advantageous position to do so, if they advance to the championship game, it will be in front of their fans at Suncorp. For the next three games, the main objective for the Roar will be preparing themselves for the animal that is finals football.
In the first past the post system of league play, teams such as the Roar would be able to coast to the finish and enjoy their coronation as the champions. However in Australia, the winner of the finals series earns the title of champion so there is still plenty of work to do. There are two schools of though of how to best prepare a team in this position, do they rest up and go into the finals at peak health or do they continue to field their strongest lineup and try to maintain their solid form?
Across any code of football, be it rugby union, Aussie rules or even NFL, history shows that the team in better form come finals time are usually the ones who take out the title. If the Roar opt to rest their big name players to ensure their health, some players could go up to five weeks between meaningful games. When it is a win or go home situation, no team can afford to be spending time shaking off the rust from resting.
Of course that is not to say the Roar should force players to play when they are struggling with injury. Most notably, the hero of the weekend Luke Brattan now has the opportunity to rest what appears to be a hip injury that has been bothering him as far back as January. There have been times where he has been struggling behind play but that has not stopped him playing thus far.
Over the next few weeks the Roar are in a very good position, they have the luxury of being able to pick and choose their approach to prepare for the finals series. Make no mistake, this team knows that there is still plenty of work to do and they will not let up yet.