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Inside the Lion's den

by Adam Peacock on Nov 02, 2011

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Had the pleasure of getting to Brisbane Roar training this week.

Apart from the ridiculous doof-doof music blaring from the change rooms before training, thanks to Mitch Nichols, who quite obviously thinks he’s still on the Gold Coast’s on Cavill Avenue strip, it is a place at peace.

Everyone on the same page, everyone happy.

Granted, if they’re not happy after the run they are on — and following a 7-1 win — they’d be sad on Christmas morning with a sack full of presents.

This is not to say the other nine teams are ravaged by disharmony. Far, far from it. Haven’t seen a sign of it at those clubs this season.

But Brisbane is a side without ego, for so long the undoing of unity.

Besart Berisha is amazed at the togetherness of the squad, surprised at the difference in attitude to the cut-throat nature of Europe, where a teammate is sometimes more a rival than a mate.

So how do the other teams keep up?

They can’t. Until the semi-finals.

More on the second point in a moment, but for first past the post – the Premiership - the damage is done. The Black Caviar of Australian football has bolted. Ok, there’s even a chance the great mare will someday lose, and as for the Roar, there’s a chance a swath of injuries could derail them. Ange Postecoglou could get the offer of a lifetime too good to refuse. They are ifs and buts, however.
As it stands now, they are playing the type of football that teams can’t get near on a consistent basis. Maybe a loss here, a loss there. But no more than a handful. Apart from last season (Brisbane’s one loss-campaign) the least amount of defeats a Premier has had is four – and that was in season’s 1 and 2 — Adelaide and Victory) when a season was 21 games, not 27.

Wanna bet Brisbane will lose five games the way they are going? Tweet away - @adampeacock3 – if you want to.

The damage was done on this front in the world’s longest off-season.

The way they prepared – barely running a step if it wasn’t football-specific. No boxing, no road runs, no sand dune sprints. The way they recruited — picking the player for the system, not the player then the system. And the way they believed in that preparation and recruitment, and investing everything they could to what they were doing and who they were doing it with.

Seemingly it’s all smooth sailing, until…

Australian sport being what it is – a culture defined by Grand Final mentality – means the big prize is a one off, way off.

The nature of play and what it does to the mind changes. Remember, Central Coast did it not once, but twice in the finals series last season – both times at Suncorp – in the second leg of the major semi-final and of course, that Grand Final.

Sounds like I’m wishing my life away. But no, the finals and the answer to that second point can wait.
Until then, there’s so much to savour. Colleague Mark Rudan calls this the greatest Australian club side EVER. So who knows when we’ll see this again, if EVER.

Enjoy it while it lasts, as the players themselves are doing.