HOW TO BEAT: Brisbane Roar

Welcome to this week’s ‘How To Beat:’ – a weekly tactical preview of Western Sydney Wanderer’s opponent and how they can be beaten.

This week – Brisbane Roar. Let’s get right into it.


Brisbane Roar – Round 4 – Saturday 3rd November 5:35pm (Glen Willow Sporting Field – Mudgee)


HAL Round 2 – Brisbane Roar 0 – Wellington Phoenix 0
HAL Round 3 – Perth Glory 2 – Brisbane Roar 1


HAL Round 2 – Brisbane Roar 0 – Wellington Phoenix 0

Brisbane Roar had it tough playing out from the back against Phoenix’s front three. In the first ten minutes of this match; the Phoenix were very well organised and defended compactly when they get men behind the ball. Brisbane had it tough trying to find players to get in Phoenix’s final third.

For the first 30 minutes of this match, the Phoenix were relatively comfortable. Brisbane were forced to pass sideways in possession trying to penetrate in to the opposition half and found it difficult to find midfielders available to pass too. Though, Brisbane did eventually figure out how to penetrate the Phoenix; countering with speed.

This match went from a relative comfortable pace to one that was quite frantic and end to end. It was risky for both sides as Phoenix are strong on the counter too.

Where Brisbane found success in this match is by penetrating centrally and getting in behind Phoenix’s front third. Taggart did have joy at times at pulling players out of position but was ultimately unlucky at being unable to turn and shoot with precision.

Bauthéac enjoyed the right wing to explore and cut in at the 18 yard box to use his favoured left foot to cross or put a through ball in. We must force Bauthéac to stay wide and to use his right foot; we can isolate him in this match and stop him from linking up with McKay & Kristensen.

What is also of note in this match is the distribution from defenders on the halfway line. The Roar were bypassing the press of the Nix’s front third and were trying to get a quick ball over the top to catch the Nix from setting up defensively. This seemed to have a better effect.

I spoke quite extensively of this match in the previous weeks How to Beat that can be found here.

HAL Round 3 – Perth Glory 2 – Brisbane Roar 1

Defensively, Brisbane show a similar shape as to what Wellington Phoenix do. Whereas Wellington want you to attack their wings and avoid being countered; Brisbane show a bit of weakness down their wings. Quite a few times, Perth were able to penetrate by going down to the byline and cutting back or crossing early to find Keogh available.

Perth under Popovic enjoy using their width – they have so much pace and quality in players like Davidson, Ikonomidis, Franjic, etc. that they can get in behind Brisbane’s defence and cut in via the byline or they cross early by finding Andy Keogh with enough space to take some chances.

Brisbane lack a bit of organisation in defence – Keogh is able to pull players out of position with ease. Brisbane also look like they lack communication in defence. They’re also susceptible to a press. Perth did well to close their channels when trying to play out.

Offensively, Brisbane in possession, are forced wide by Perth. This puts a lot of pressure on Bauthéac & Henrique to beat their man and cross – typically a low chance opportunity to score. Eventually in this match, Bauthéac is forced to play a little more centrally to get something working for Brisbane but this also exposes the space available to Davidson in a counter.

It’s interesting as Perth aren’t giving space to allow Brisbane to cut in earlier to connect with Taggart. Perth were playing with two defensive midfielders who both stay back to protect their back line and dominate the centre of the park. This makes it difficult for Brisbane to build up play and create opportunities.

In this match, you will notice I talk a considerable amount about what Perth are doing. I think that is quite telling in itself. Brisbane lacked ideas in attack and discipline in defence in this match. If Brisbane come out like this against the Wanderers and we continue our winning form; it should end in a similar result.


The front line rotation we exhibited against the Nix in round 3 will be of good use in this match. Rotating the players along with changing up the direction of runs and passes will pull Brisbane’s defence out of position and create opportunity. If Riera has the same success as Keogh did in the Perth game, we could see some opportunities come our way.

Again, like last week against the Nix; we can’t concede any fouls near our box. Bauthéac has the quality to test Janjetovic in a set piece.


Wanderers will need to be conscious of the space that Kristensen, McKay and Bauthéac occupy when we are defending with numbers behind the ball. If Bauthéac is coming in a little more centrally; he will link up with Kristensen & McKay. Those three together create an extra man versus two holding midfielders (of which is a current weakness of ours).

Together, those three plays like to penetrate centrally and find Taggart who will try to drag a centre back out of position and allow the likes of Henrique to get through on goal.

The Roar against Perth didn’t seem to be quick in their build up – they tried to be a bit patient  and see which of the opposing players will fall out of position to penetrate. Whereas, when the Roar played the Nix in round 2, they exploited pace on the counter to get Nix out of their shape.

Given our weaknesses in defence, we need to be conscious of which tactics the Roar will exhibit against us. I dare say given the lack of structure in our defence when we try to build out from the back, they may want to pressure our centre backs and win the ball in the midfield to create that counter.


As mentioned earlier, more of the same from last week against the Nix. Baumjohann truly shined in that match and having the pace of O’Doherty behind him gives Baumjohann the opportunities that he desires. That along with the efforts of Roly Bonevacia & Bruce Kamau will ensure that our front line will sing.

What may be of value is having Oriol Riera stay as the lone target man who pulls players out of position for Baumjohann to put that decisive through ball to an attacking player and create a 1v1 opportunity against Jamie Young.

Pace on the counter will also catch Brisbane out of position and conceding fouls inside their own half.


Brisbane Roar won’t enjoy the travel to Perth last round and then to Mudgee in this round. We must also ensure that we are fit after the travel across the Tasman last round also. The more we can tire out Brisbane; the more effective we will be. Make the ball work and continue that lovely first touch and one-two passes that we exhibited against the Nix in this match will help us in forcing Brisbane to chase this game.

We also have Ruon Tonyik & Tass Mourdoukoutas available along with some players who missed starting against the Nix after copping some niggling injuries as a result of the Sydney Derby.

This is a game we can win against a team who is finding it difficult to find rhythm and the ability to break down the opposition. Here’s hoping this is the game we get our defensive structure just right.

NEXT WEEK: Newcastle Jets – Round 5 – Friday 23rd November, 7:50pm – Spotless Stadium

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