Melbourne City won’t fall into the trap of under-estimating a Brisbane Roar side tipped to struggle this season.
City’s A-League title bid kicks off on Tuesday night at Dolphin Stadium, the Roar’s new home ground after their decision to abandon Suncorp Stadium.
The Roar played two A-League games at the boutique Redcliffe venue last season, one of them against City, who led 3-1 before losing 4-3 in windy conditions in front of a packed house of 10,000 fans.
New City coach Patrick Kisnorbo was the club’s assistant coach at the time, and promised City would not again become complacent on Tuesday night.
“The lessons we’ve learnt is that for 90 minutes you’ve got to stay in the game (and) concentrate – you can’t take things for granted,” Kisnorbo said.
“We’ll respect them for what they are because they are a good team.”
While Kisnorbo regards the Roar as a “good team”, Brisbane have been largely written off heading into the season, with most predicting them to finish well outside the top six under coach Warren Moon, who replaced Robbie Fowler for the closing stages of last season.
Not that Kisnorbo cares for predictions.
“I don’t listen to what people say about expectations because one person last season said that we wouldn’t make the six and we finished second, so I never really listen to what people have to say about that,” he said.
“We’ll respect Brisbane Roar because they’re a good side with good players and a good coach.”
“We put our own expectations on ourselves. The expectations is to try to play as best as we can, week in, week out.”
The Roar will need strong performances from the team’s spine of goalkeeper Jamie Young, central defensive pairing Tom Aldred and Macaulay Gillesphey, Irish midfielder Jay O’Shea and attacking weapon Scott McDonald to have any chance of beating City.
Captain Aldred is relishing his battle with City’s Socceroos striker and former Brisbane marksman Jamie Maclaren, last season’s Golden Boot.
“I’ve played against a lot of good strikers in my time and I won’t change for him, just like I’ve never changed for others,” the England-born former Scotland under-19 international said.
“I’m excited to play against him, (and) I’m sure he’s excited to play against me. I’m looking forward to it.”
City’s side is expected to include former Roar and Burnley midfielder Aiden O’Neill, as well ex-Melbourne Victory star Andrew Nabbout.
Brisbane’s line-up may feature midfielder Riku Danzaki, one of their two new Japanese imports.
The other, striker Masato Kudo, trained with his new teammates on Monday for the first after finishing his quarantine spell.