2021/22 A-League Women Season Review: Brisbane Roar left ruing what could have been

The Brisbane Roar's rollercoaster season saw the Queensland-based side finish in sixth after a poor start to the season. (Photo: Brisbane Roar/Instagram)

The Brisbane Roar will be left pondering what could have been after a poor start to their A-League Women campaign proved costly.

The Roar’s sluggish start to their season meant that they missed out on a finals appearance, even after picking up 10 points from their final four games.

The Queensland side showed plenty of signs of what they were capable of throughout the season, however, their failure to see out games was their ultimate Achilles heel.

The 2021/22 season saw club legend, Katrina Gorry, bring up her 100 game milestone in one of her best seasons yet.

The highs

Brisbane’s highlights came in the final stages of the season, as the Roar looked to finally fulfil their potential that was evident at the start of the season. Brisbane’s highest of highs, came in back-to-back games against the Newcastle Jets in March.

The first encounter between the two sides saw Brisbane claim a triumphant 5-1 win in Newcastle. Larissa Crummer was the star performer in that game, with a hat trick to help seal the win for Brisbane.

Just three days later, the Roar took on the Jets again, this time at the James Drysdale Reserve in Brisbane. The Roar continued their fine form from earlier in that week, as they again cruised to victory.

This time they were resounding 4-0 victors at home, with Crummer finding the scoresheet again, along with Gorry. Shea Connors put in an excellent performance, finishing with a brace next to her name.

The lows

The Brisbane Roar were dealt painful blows in consecutive games against the Perth Glory to start the season. In the opening game of Brisbane’s campaign, it led 1-0 over Perth until the 88th minute when Susan Phonsongkham equalised for the home side.

Things would go from bad to worse for Brisbane as it would concede a second goal just two minutes later to gift the Glory an unlikely victory.

The two teams would face each other again six days later at Perry Park, where once again Perth stole three points late in the game, with Alana Jancevski scoring the only goal in the 86th minute.

Brisbane’s horror start to the campaign would only continue when it lost its following game, before dropping two points against Canberra United. This was after leading 3-1 with less than five minutes of normal time to be played.

The lowest of lows came at home for Brisbane against Adelaide where it suffered a demoralising 8-2 defeat at Moreton Daily Stadium.

Fiona Worts put on a show, scoring five goals as the Roar were left to lick their wounds as the English import equalled the record for most goals in an A-League Women game.

The only silver lining to come from the game was the celebration of Gorry bringing up her 100th game for the orange and black.

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MVP

In a frustrating season for Brisbane, there was one standout performer who consistently shone above the rest. Katrina Gorry was at her vintage best in her 10th year at the club, just months after returning from pregnancy.

She continued to terrorise goalkeepers with her trademark long-range strikes consistently causing havoc. Gorry would consistently bring in either goals for herself, or opportunities for attackers to pounce on fumbles by opposing goalkeepers.

The midfielder was instrumental to Brisbane’s attacking play, scoring four goals and providing seven assists in 14 games this season. After having a baby during the offseason, there was a question mark over whether or not she would be able to replicate her previous form.

However, she immediately dissolved any doubts as Gorry was back performing at an elite level. Whenever she was on the ball, there was a spark in Brisbane’s play, with the Roar looking far more threatening when the midfielder was involved.

Gorry was rewarded with a return to the Matildas for the upcoming friendlies against New Zealand.

Breakout player

NPL star Shea Connors was outstanding in front of goal for Brisbane, one of its top scorers for 2021/22.

Connors translated her brilliant form for Lions FC in the NPL, to the Roar in the A-League Women, as she finished the season with seven goals and two assists in 13 games.

After initially breaking into the Roar in the 2019/20 season where she managed just the two appearances before returning to the NPL, Connors asserted herself as a top level mainstay.

The 25-year-old was in inspiring form which was highlighted when she scored in the Roar’s come from behind win over Melbourne Victory, putting Brisbane ahead in the 90th minute.

Final word

Brisbane will be left ruing what could have been in a campaign where it regularly challenged those in finals positions. The fact stands that the Roar struggled to win games at home and threw away far too many points in the late stages of games.

The Brisbane Roar were brilliant in attack, however their defensive issues – which were far too prevalent – meant that the best Brisbane could salvage from this season was sixth place.

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