2021/22 A-League Women Season Preview: Brisbane Roar set for battle

Can Brisbane replicate last season's stunning form? (Picture: Brisbane Roar)

Brisbane Roar had a stunning campaign last season, finishing in second place under Jake Goodship. However, they now find themselves without their Matildas superstars, and without Goodship. In a new-look side, it will be fascinating to watch how they look to find similar levels of the last campaign.

Last season’s finish: Second (25 points, seven wins, four draw and one loss)

Biggest in:

Katrina Gorry is technically a new in but is very much a familiar face to Brisbane Roar.

She endured an eight-year stint at Brisbane made up of 88 games, before leaving to join Norwegian side Avaldsnes IL.

Gorry returned to Brisbane on loan for the 2020/21 A-League women’s campaign but paused her career after becoming pregnant, playing just four games for Brisbane last season.

Now she is back from her pregnancy and has once again signed on loan to her beloved side. 

Gorry is the biggest in for Brisbane, with her ability to control the tempo of a game making up only a small part of her capabilities. 

Her reading of the game allows her to control any given football match with her tactical and positional awareness, permitting her teammates to move forwards to support the attack while she holds a deeper position. 

Gorry’s range of passing signifies a major avenue of Brisbane attacks, and when adding on her controlled first touch, she is the key cog of this Queensland side.

She can play through the press through smart in between the lines passes, can control the ball under pressure and retain possession for her side, using her first touch and positional awareness.

This, combined with Gorry’s long-range passing, goal threat from deep and set-piece taking abilities make her a major coup for Brisbane Roar. Her leadership abilities will also be on show in the 2021/22 season as she takes on the role of vice-captain.

Biggest out:

When it comes to big outs, you can’t really go much past the Matildas duo of Emily Gielnik and Tameka Yallop

Moving to join Aston Villa (via Vittsjo GIK) and West Ham United respectively, they are hard to separate in terms of their importance to Brisbane.

With 95 Matildas caps combined, the pair resemble star-studded absentees and will be replaced by the next generation of Australian footballers. 

Gielnik was extraordinary for Brisbane last campaign, scoring 13 goals – nine higher than the next top scorer, who was Mariel Hecher with four.

Gielnik also got two assists, meaning she was directly involved in fifteen goals in twelve matches for Brisbane and scored a goal every 79 minutes in the A-League Women. 

It would be remiss to not also mention Clare Polkinghorne – the trio of Matildas certainly will be hard to replace in the upcoming season. 

More A-League Women season previews:

2021/22 A-League Women Season Preview: Newcastle Jets fueling up for better-placed season

2021/22 A-League Women Season Preview: Western Sydney building up a new Wanderland

2021/22 A-League Women Season Preview: Wellington Phoenix are the new kids in the comp

What to expect:

With coach Jake Goodship departing in the off-season, it’s tough to predict how Brisbane will fare in 2021/22.

Goodship played a 4-2-3-1 in his final campaign, which relied heavily on the spine of the team, containing the aforementioned Gielnik, Yallop and Polkinghorne.

Brisbane finished second last season, well within the finals, and will be stretched to finish in a similar outcome this campaign.

With a vastly new squad, it could be a few weeks before we see Brisbane at their best, with the fluid football they will perhaps be aiming to play. 

Expect a heavy reliance on Gorry for ball progression in midfield, which will lead to teams targeting her when pressing to try and halt Brisbane moving up the field.

Expect a similar reliance on foreigners up front – Mariel Hecher and Shea Connors will be tasked with replacing the extraordinary scoring feats of Gielnik. 

Brisbane Roar is going into the unknown this season, which makes them all the more exciting as a possible end product. 

Predicted XI:

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