Paul Okon Previews Brisbane Battle


This Sunday sees two teams go head-to-head who are eager to record their first win of the 2017/18 campaign. The Central Coast Mariners travel to Suncorp Stadium to face Brisbane Roar and kick-off is 5pm.

Tickets Sydney Gam

Former Socceroo teammates, Paul Okon & John Aloisi go head-to-head this week after both of their sides recorded draws against Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix respectively.

Brisbane take plenty of confidence after their round four encounter, where they travelled away to Wellingotn Phoenix. The Roar went down 3-0 in the first half, only to pull three goals back to finish with a draw.

The Mariners hosted Melbourne Victory at Central Coast Stadium and delivered a performance that could have very well warranted three points. Connor Pain fired home a stunning goal and was narrowly denied a brace by the apex in the second half. Pain’s goal was cancelled out by an equally impressive free-kick to Leroy George which left the Mariners to rue their missed opportunities.

Paul Okon’s Mariners are quickly becoming one of the most enjoyable teams to watch in the Hyundai A-League with a proactive, possession-based approach.

The Mariners have taken the lead in all four matches this season and are keen to capitalise on four quick starts to convert into a win.

But their maturity is starting to show, as Opta data reveals.

An average of 515 passes per match at an impressive 80% accuracy sees them ranked as the competition’s undisputed pass masters.

Okon will be especially encouraged by the inroads his team is making in the final third, where their 708 completed passes are 66 more than next-nearest Sydney FC and a whopping 227 ahead of Western Sydney Wanderers.

Danny De Silva is pulling the strings. The 20-year-old’s 80% accuracy in attack is the best of any player to have made at least 50 passes in the most important area of the pitch.

Paolo in the press

“Overall, we played against a side that is strong as Melbourne victory and we really believe that we should’ve won that game, but we’ve got a tough game at Suncorp and we’re going to need to be close to perfect in order to bring back three points.

“With Storm, we knew it wasn’t a serious injury and we knew that at the time but also knew that it was in an area that Storm has had issues, so we didn’t want to take any risks and if he is available for Sunday’s game that’s great. Especially knowing that he has some important games coming up for New Zealand to qualify for the World Cup.

“To be honest we are not looking at the ladder, going to Suncorp to play Brisbane is a tough place to go. They’re very strong at home and are yet to win a game but I’m sure that they’ll take a lot of confidence from the second half in Wellington, when you’re down three after 30 minutes and turn it around to make it 3-3 that won’t seem like a draw it’ll feel more like a win. It will be a difficult task for us but if we play our style of football and are better in key moments then we hopefully will do well.

“Brisbane are a good football team, they had a disrupted pre-season with players coming in late which would make it hard for them, it is not an easy game, we are not under the illusion that we’re going to go up there and it’s going to be easy, we know that we’re going to have to work for it.

“Their front four is very strong, Bautheac looks like a really exciting player, but also at the back they are very strong, yes they have not had the best of starts but we’re not focused on their results, it’s going to be a tough game so we need to make sure that we are ready.

“I still think that we can use the ball better, we can try to use it better in the front third, sometimes we try to force it a little bit and pin teams back, I said defensively we were solid in the back apart from the first 30 seconds, but every game is a different challenge, Brisbane will most likely come at us hard, but it will be similar to last week in that we need to go hard in the start and throughout the game.

Opta Stat-Attack

  • The Mariners (2,061) have attempted more passes than any other team this season and also boast the best passing accuracy (80%) of any squad.
  • Brisbane Roar haven’t picked up a regular-time win in any of their last six games (Shootout Win 1, D1, L4), the only previous time they’ve gone longer without a win in 90mins was a seven-game drought in 2008 (D4, L3).
  • Brisbane Roar have conceded three goals from outside the penalty are this season; a league-high number.
  • Corey Brown and Antony Golec are two of only four players (Kearyn Baccus, Ivan Vujica) to have made 10+ interceptions and 10+ tackles this season.
  • Golec (87%) has the best passing accuracy of any player to have made at least 200 passes this campaign.

Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO, 21.Jamie YOUNG, 2.Dane INGHAM, 6.Avram PAPADOPOULOS, 13.Jade NORTH, 19.Jack HINGERT, 24.Connor O’TOOLE, 10.Brett HOLMAN, 16.Mitchell OXBORROW, 17.Matt MCKAY (c), 18.Joe CALETTI, 9.Massimo MACCARONE, 11.Corey GAMEIRO, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 22.Eric BAUTHEAC, 25.Rahmat AKBARI, 26.Nick D’AGOSTINO, 33.Petros SKAPETIS
**Two to be omitted**

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jake McGING, 5.Antony GOLEC, 6.Tom HIARIEJ, 9.ASDRUBAL, 10.Daniel De SILVA, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 15.Alan BARO (c), 16. Liam ROSE, 17.Josh BINGHAM, 18.Tom GLOVER (gk), 23.Wout BRAMA, 24.Lachlan WALES
**Two to be omitted**

Match Details
Sunday, 5 November 2017
Hyundai A-League Round 5
Match: Brisbane Roar vs. Central Coast Mariners
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 5:00pm
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA
Hash-tag: Join the match conversation using #BRIvCCM & #CCMFC