State pride as well as an A-League finals place is on the line when his side meets Sydney FC, according to Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey
|By DANIEL COLASIMONE
Brisbane's blockbuster clash with Sydney FC at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday will have a 'State of Origin' feel to it, according to Roar coach Mike Mulvey.
A win for either side in the last game of the regular season will guarantee a top-six finish, while a draw would leave them both sweating on results elsewhere over the Easter weekend.
Brisbane [fifth] and Sydney FC [sixth] are both on 32 points and are only separated on the A-League ladder by goal difference.
But with Perth [seventh] and Newcastle [eighth] each on 31 points, a draw on Thursday would place both Brisbane and Sydney at risk of missing out on the finals.
Mulvey told reporters after Roar training on Wednesday that the Queensland-New South Wales rivalry added yet another dimension to the high-stakes match.
"Everybody's fit, everybody wants to play," Mulvey said of the Roar squad.
"You don't want to miss this game, this is 'State of Origin' stuff.
"Queensland versus New South Wales, there's nothing that gets the blood going more for a Queenslander, so hopefully we'll have a big crowd out there tomorrow.
"They've been fantastic for us lately, the crowd, they've been our 12th man, and if they can get out there tomorrow night, we're going to put on a show for them.
"That's one thing I can feel from the players at training, is that they're ready to go."
Mulvey declared himself a huge Alessandro Del Piero fan, but said the Roar would not be focused solely on smothering the creativity of the Italian maestro.
"As a football fan I'd like to smother him in hugs, because he's a beautiful player to watch," Mulvey said.
"But we won't be watching him tomorrow night, we'll be making sure we take care of business for our own sake.
"When we've got the ball in the final third, we'll be making sure that he's not in pockets of space where he can pick up the ball and have the freedom of the park.
"He's a class player, but we've got some class players as well."
With the return of Jade North from Australia duty, where he was an unused substitute against Oman on Tuesday, Mulvey hinted there would be only one change to Brisbane's starting XI from Sunday's 2-0 win over the Melbourne Heart.
Shane Stefanutto will likely move back to his customary left-back role after filling in for North in the centre of defence last week, and Corey Brown will be the player to make way.