A-League season preview: Brisbane Roar

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Despite several key departures, can the Roar achieve success with the oldest squad in the competition?

Powered by Jamie Maclaren's 19 goals, Brisbane finished third after the regular season and were only denied a grand final appearance by a winner from their former star and Melbourne Victory gun Besart Berisha.

Now without Maclaren and club legend Thomas Broich, the club have gone for experience with their recruits in a bid to return to the A-League summit.

2016-17 finishing position: 3rd

Coach: John Aloisi


INS AND OUTS


Ins: Massimo Maccarone, Eric Bautheac, Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Corey Gameiro, Mitchell Oxborrow, Peter Skapetis, Emilio Martinez.

Outs: Thomas Broich, Jamie Maclaren, Brandon Borrello, Tommy Oar, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Manuel Arana, Kye Rowles, Cameron Crestani, Joey Katebian.


STAR PLAYER - Massimo Maccarone


The first thing you notice about Massimo Maccarone is the fact he has just turned 38 - and he is one of the oldest players ever signed to play in the league.

But he scored five goals for Empoli in Italy's Serie A last season, to go with double-figure tallies the two previous seasons, and his powers haven't completely disappeared yet.

Maccarone Empoli Serie A

Long-time English Premier League fans will remember Maccarone for his stint at Middlesbrough - where he scored 23 goals in 95 appearances.

Maccarone is a physical centre-forward, who is a predator when given a chance in the penalty area.

Don't expect many assists from the Italian - he is only averaging one every 10 matches throughout his career.


BREAKOUT PLAYER - Joe Caletti


Young midfielder Joe Caletti made an impression for the club after being given opportunity at the back end of last season.

The 19-year-old played 15 matches across the A-League and Asian Champions League - picking up two assists.

He is a tidy central midfielder, who distrubutes the ball well and likes to drift between the lines.

Expect to see him be given more chances this campaign.


POSITIVES


The club has made some interesting attacking signings, not only limited to Maccarone, including French attacking midfielder Eric Bautheac, Melbourne Victory winger Fahid Ben Khallfallah and former Sydney FC and Melbourne City striker Corey Gameiro.

In recent seasons, Khallfallah's output has failed to reach same heights of his first season with Victory in 2014-15, but Aloisi will hope to deploy him in a role that suits strengths - possibly centrally, while Gameiro has always threatened to score bags of goals in the A-League but has been cut down regularly by unfortunate injuries.

Fahid Ben Khalfallah Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory A-League 11032017

The pedigree of Bautheac appears to be solid - with plenty of French top division experience - but will he be able to fill the boots of Broich?


NEGATIVES


Roar were smashed 5-1 at home by Victory in the FFA Cup round-of-32 in a nightmare opening to the season.

Many questions are being asked about the age profile of their squad, which features 10 players over the age of 30.

It's going to be incredibly hard to replace Broich and Maclaren, while the absence of fellow attackers Brandon Borello and Tommy Oar will also leave a hole.

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FINAL PREDICTION - 7TH


The Roar haven't managed to adequately replace their departures and they may rue their decision to go with the 'Dad's Army' recruiting technique.

Maccarone should be a good signing but will he be able to fill the void left by Maclaren?

It's looking like being a difficult season - particularly if any of the old bodies break down.

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