Catch all the action from the Friday night game in the A-League every week LIVE thanks to Football Federation Australia. Here's five things to look out for in the big clash1. Just how much are the Roar missing their key men?
Brisbane, weakened by injuries for several weeks and then deprived by the Socceroos of Ivan Franjic and Matt McKay, ran out of steam at Hunter Stadium on Sunday, where two costly defensive mistakes saw them lose to the Newcastle Jets.
Jade North came back into the line-up for that game, but Besart Berisha, Liam Miller and Shane Stefanutto were still out. All three are slated to be available for Round 7, although it remains to be seen if they will go straight back into the starting XI, while both McKay and Franjic - barring any mishap in the line of international duty - will also return. Could that tip the balance in the hosts' favour at Suncorp Stadium?
2. Can Michael Beauchamp kiss his first-team berth goodbye?
Tony Popovic surprised us by starting Matthew Spiranovic ahead of Beauchamp against Melbourne Heart two weeks ago, but fewer eyebrows were raised when the new arrival kept his spot in central defence for the 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory. 'Popa' insisted the decision to select and retain Spiranovic was a tactical one and claimed Beauchamp will still have a role to play this season. But many observers now expect Spiranovic to become a permanent fixture in the Wanderers' backline, leaving Beauchamp to fight it out with Nikolai Topor-Stanley for the right to partner the usurper.
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3. Will style triumph over substance?
The Roar have a strong claim to being the A-League's entertainers early in 2013-14, evoking memories of Ange Postecoglou's dual title-winning team, but now featuring the likes of impressive youngsters Kwame Yeboah, Dimitri Petratos and Corey Brown, to name just a few, alongside the survivors of the previous incarnation.
The Wanderers meanwhile have picked up where they left off last term, shutting teams out before picking them off, home and away. The trip to Suncorp Stadium represents their sternest test since the grand final re-match away to Central Coast in Round 1. So which side will come out on top in this clash of contrasting football philosophies?
4. When will Popovic risk recalling Youssouf Hersi?
The Wanderers have overcome their inability to win without the Dutch winger, but his absence continues to be felt, as a lack of incisiveness in the final third has left them relying largely on pluck and determination to breach opposing defences - their last three victories have all been by a single goal. With bullocking striker Tom Juric out for approximately four weeks and the workmanlike Brendon Santalab and Mark Bridge toiling manfully in the final third, the return to fitness of Hersi will add a consider threat for the league leaders. But has he overcome his foot injury and will Popovic start him in Queensland, or bring him off the bench as an impact substitute?
5. Who gets the blame for the Roar's defensive calamity against the Jets?
It was all going so well for Brisbane at Hunter Stadium. Luke Brattan's deflected shot gave the visitors the lead, and they appeared on track to bag all three points, even with so many key figures missing. But then skipper Matt Smith made a hash of his attempt to hold off Adam Taggart, allowing the livewire young striker to equalise. Jade North's blatant, ill-judged handball gifted the Jets a penalty, which they missed. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, James Donachie played a square ball to Smith which held up in one of the many puddles covering the Hunter Stadium surface, and Taggart promptly stole in to net the winner. Does Mike Mulvey mark down their various mistakes as a bad day at a rain-soaked office and keep faith with the guilty trio, or will someone make way for the visit of the Wanderers?
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