Posts Tagged ‘Brisbane Roar’

Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar, Saturday 6th December 2015, 7.30pm

February 28, 2016


The second A-League game of our trip to Sydney took us out to the suburb of Parramatta for the game between Western Sydney Wanderers and Brisbane Roar.

Parramatta was twenty-odd kilometres away from our hotel in the CBD and as we didn’t have a hire car we were reliant upon public transport. In this case that meant an hour-long ferry ride from the Circular Quay.

It was the sort of journey that you’d happily take just for the sightseeing rather than to actually get somewhere and as we set off we had both the Opera house and the Harbour Bridge in view. The Opera House was a lot smaller than I’d assumed it to be from when I’d seen it on the telly as the backdrop to the New Year fireworks.

We went to a gig there a few days later, not opera, although I wouldn’t have minded that if I’d been able to wear one of those collapsible hats, but Father John Misty. He was ok, better live than recorded, I’d say, with a nice line in self-deprecation over his newly announced Grammy nomination for the quality of the packaging of his latest LP.


The Harbour Bridge was also smaller than I’d expected. Maybe it’s because these things are famous that I assume they’ll be enormous. You all know what it looks like, it’s just like the Tyne Bridge, which isn’t surprising really as both were built during the same era by Middlesbrough’s own Dorman Long.

As we passed beneath the bridge I looked up at the Teesside steel above me and reflected that the recent steelworks closures meant that there wouldn’t be any future opportunities for me to do the same somewhere new.

I did a bit of work as a contractor at British Steel thirty years or so ago and can remember the fire resistant jacket and trousers that I had to wear when in the vicinity of a furnace. The material was like carpet, which isn’t ideal for trousers. Or jackets either I suppose.

I sweated enough wearing them outside, but that was nothing compared to being indoors in the summer with a furnace blasting out its heat.

It’ll be young Chinese fellas who will have to dress up like that from now on and take their turn to point out their steel when travelling around the world.


The ferry that we caught sometimes goes all of the way to Parramatta, but on this occasion it only went as far as the Olympic Park and so we then had to catch a couple of buses to get within walking distance of the Pirtek Stadium.

Neither driver would accept any cash from us, I think, as a consequence of the impending implementation of a card-only payment system. If all you had was cash, then you were just waved on-board for free.

Pirtek Stadium dates back to, well, quite a long time ago. Long enough for WG Grace to have played cricket there in the century before last. Or rather the site dates back that far. The current ground’s history only goes back forty years or so.


There were plenty of people milling around with an hour or so to kick-off, many of them sporting the Dennis the Menace style shirts worn by Western Sydney Wanderers. We queued briefly to collect our pre-booked tickets, using my newly acquired Northern Territories Driving Licence as ID.

I like the idea of having two licences and am hoping that by using my Australian one when in the UK and vice-versa, I might very well be able to reduce the amount of penalty points that I accrue.


On our way around the ground to the South Stand I was handed a leaflet by a bloke outside of the north terrace. He was a member of a fan’s group who were boycotting the game in protest at the banning of a number of ‘active’ fans.

It’s an A-League wide problem and the main complaint seems to be that the banned supporters had no chance to put evidence forward and no right of appeal. I sympathised with the cause, but my principles aren’t strong enough to miss a game at short notice after travelling from Darwin and with a ticket in my hand.


We took our seats in the North Stand, opposite the deserted South where the ‘active fans’ would normally have been found. The ten thousand crowd half-filled the stadium but was around four thousand down on their gate from the previous game. On a selfish note, the boycott cut the queues for food and drink and so it was no trouble to get a couple of beers and a very fancy selection of three mini pies.


The home side opened the scoring after half an hour when Mark Bridge knocked one in at the far post. The lead didn’t last for more than a few minutes though with Jamie McLaren equalising for the visitors.


There were plenty of chances for both sides in the second half as play opened up, but the only other goal came ten minutes from time when Mitch Nichols curled in the winner. The result was sufficient to take Wanderers to the top of the table.

I’d have liked to have taken the boat back to the Circular Quay for the river view at night, but they’d stopped running and so despite the ‘free’ buses we opted for a taxi for the half hour drive back to our hotel.

Brisbane Roar v Adelaide United, Sunday 1st November 2015, 2pm

January 28, 2016


Brisbane is a decent place to spend a week or so, with plenty of options for getting out of the city and going for a walk. In addition to the earlier trip to Lamington, Jen and I also managed to fit in hikes at Noosa and Tambourine.

Noosa was a coastal walk where we were able to watch a couple of giant turtles been buffeted by the waves in a cove. They didn’t seem too bothered, so I imagine that there was enough of whatever turtles eat to make braving the waves and rocks worthwhile. There were also sharks or dolphins. Or maybe tuna. Whatever they were, they had fins.


We also saw a koala sat high in a tree, although it didn’t do much of interest. I understand that they sleep for most of the day and I suppose that being wedged between a couple of branches twenty feet up in the air makes being disturbed that much less likely.

I doubt we would have spotted the koala if it hadn’t been for other people pointing upwards. We probably see only a small proportion of the wildlife that we pass by.


The trip to Tambourine was a different type of walk, mainly on tracks that at times reminded me of the forest at the start of the E.T ride at Disney. There was a short trail to a waterfall that seemed to be the most popular route for visitors and then a longer loop that wasn’t so busy or as well signposted. It was only when we found ourselves peering into a hole in a tree trunk that we’d looked into half an hour earlier that we realised we’d taken a wrong turning and repeated a loop.

If it hadn’t been for that tree we might very well have just lapped that particular part of the circuit for the rest of the day. There wasn’t much in the way of wildlife. I think the best we saw was a dragonfly. Pretty to look at but no doubt, like most things seem to be over here, deadly poisonous to Teessiders.


As for football, we were able to see a second game, again featuring Brisbane Roar against Adelaide United, but this time in the Womens League.

The fixture took place at the Cleveland Showgrounds, which was a short drive out of the city. It was five dollars to get in, or free if you were a Brisbane Roar member, which just about everyone apart from Jen and I seemed to be. The Showgrounds wasn’t really a stadium, more a pitch with a clubhouse at one end and then six small temporary stands dotted around the two long sides of the pitch.

1-P1260853The place was supposed to hold a thousand and I’d say that would be about right. We were too late to get a seat in any of the stands and so just leaned against the railing that surrounded the pitch. I reckon that there were probably five or six hundred people watching but with enough gaps on the rail to accommodate up to the capacity.

Brisbane had started the season well winning their first two games, but Adelaide were quicker out of the blocks in this one with an opening goal after ten minutes. The home side pulled level midway through the half with a cracking shot from Katrina Gorry that the American keeper in the Adelaide goal did well to get a hand to.


Gorry was probably the stand-out player for Brisbane and there wasn’t much that went on that she wasn’t involved in. Her teammate at left back looked decent as well, particularly going forward, although her defensive work came in from some criticism from the bloke stood next to me. I politely agreed with him that she was crap, only for him to reveal himself as her father.

Adelaide regained the lead in the second half after yet more poor home defending. This time though I kept quiet in case I upset any other family members in attendance. Elsewhere on the pitch Brisbane brought on their new Kiwi signing who looked pretty good, as did their left winger who had a trick or two.


The flashes of quality weren’t enough to compensate for the slack defending though and Adelaide deserved the win. As with the previous days A-League game, I wasn’t overly impressed with the standard. There were too many players who struggled to control even the tamest of passes and it certainly wasn’t of the level that I’d seen at women’s games in Germany or even Iceland.

In fact, as the game petered out I found myself paying more attention to the tiny birds that were flying close to the surface of the pitch at high speed, swooping every now and then to eat bugs that had been unearthed by the stud marks. That’s worth five dollars of anyone’s money.

Brisbane Roar v Adelaide United, Saturday 31st October 2015, 6.30pm

January 1, 2016


Five weeks after arriving in Australia, I finally got around to seeing my first A-League game whilst spending a week in Brisbane.  The previous day Jen and I had taken a river cruise from the city centre to a koala sanctuary and had passed the Suncorp Stadium along the way. I didn’t get a photo of it but I did get one of a snake that appeared to be up to no good on the riverbank. I’ve a feeling that snakes are invariably up to no good.


Inside the sanctuary we posed with koalas and hand-fed kangaroos. There wasn’t the same sense of danger as there had been when we’d fed bananas by hand to wild warthogs in South Africa, but I noticed afterwards some skin-breaking scratches from one kangaroo that insisted on gripping my arm as I fed him.

I got to ruffle the hair of a couple of dingoes too. They like that sort of thing, as do I.


On the morning of the game we headed out of town to Lamington National Park and did some hiking. I’d been hoping for plenty of wildlife along the way, but after seeing a wallaby or two in the undergrowth early on, there wasn’t much else to see during the ten miles or so that we covered.


I did encounter a couple of leeches, which turns out to be one of the hazards of walking through a forest with shorts and sandals on. The advice seems to be that you should just let them feed and then when they are full they will clear off. I’m not that patient or generous though and I picked them off as soon as I noticed them, leaving a dribble of blood each time. They pulled away easily enough, unlike a tick that lodged itself in my shoulder a couple of years ago. I had to rely on Jen and her tweezers on that occasion.


We were back in Brisbane in plenty of time for the game and I walked the half hour or so from our hotel to the stadium. It seemed as if most of the home support was gathered in the Lord Alfred pub near the ground and I could hear them from a distance away.


Suncorp Stadium, or Lang Park as it was formerly known, dates back around a hundred years. There’s not much that’s original though after a mid-eighties redevelopment. I had a thirty-five dollar ticket for along one side of the pitch in the East Stand that I’d bought in advance, but it would have been no trouble to pick one up on the day with only a small queue at the ticket office.


I could have bought a cheaper ticket if I’d wanted, as once inside I realised that I could have sat in whatever area of the ground that I’d fancied. The food was pretty good and we were trusted to collect it from the serving areas and fridges and pay for it at tills. I can’t see that ever happening in England, which, I suppose, is quite sad.


Roar had around three hundred or so fans to my right, who I suspect were the ones making all the noise in the Lord Alfred earlier. They kept up the support all of the way through the game, with a couple of fellas at the front leading things through megaphones.


Elsewhere in the stadium there were another ten thousand fans with around forty of them supporting Adelaide. Everything seems such a distance in Australia that I doubt that there will be many travelling fans anywhere. The lack of away support amazed me when I lived in Spain, but here I can understand it.

There were plenty of chances in the first half, but the Roar’s Brandon Borello was the only fella to find the net.


There was still just the one goal in it was we entered the final ten minutes. By that time I’d moved to the south-west corner for a different vantage point and I was perfectly placed to see Jamie Maclaren cut inside and curl one into the top corner.

The goal sparked a bit of aggro between the fans, who didn’t seem to have anything segregating them and the police were happy to let it peter out before intervening and then making a couple of token ejections. Brisbane went on to add an injury time third.


My overall impression was that the standard wasn’t too high. But that’s ok, I’ve watched much worse in recent years in the lower reaches of the Korean leagues and in Africa. Come to think of it, I might have watched worse under Strachan at the Boro. It certainly felt like it at times.

On the plus side, the weather was warm and the beer was cold. That’s good enough for me.