Brisbane Roar 2018-19 preview: Can Adam Taggart fire the orange to glory?

Adam TaggartBrisbane Roar

After an ageing squad finished sixth and meekly surrendered in the first week of finals, Brisbane Roar will be hoping to push into the A-League top four in 2018-19.

Having made the key retention of French marquee Eric Bautheac, John Aloisi's side possess some attacking weapons that will trouble defences going forward.

But do they have enough in the midfield and defensive areas to be a solid unit? Goal examines...

Adam Taggart is ready to catch fire

Adam Taggart Perth Glory A-League

Adam Taggart has promised to be a gun player for a long time - and he is primed to reach that level at Brisbane Roar - much like Jamie Maclaren did when he also crossed from WA to Queensland.

The striker burst on to the scene with Newcastle Jets in 2013-14 - scoring 16 goals in 25 appearances and earning an ultimately fruitless move to English club Fulham.

His goals at the Jets were classy and spectacular, but the Perth-born attacker was still refining his game - particularly aerially and in the six-yard box.

After a couple of solid seasons at the Glory, Taggart started to show he could not only score stunning goals, but also that he has developed his penalty box game.

Injuries hampered much of his last season in WA, but the 25-year-old banged in four goals in his last three matches - enough for Roar to make him a huge offer to join their club.

The time is now for Taggart, who has the opportunity to excel like Maclaren did under Aloisi, but also start to force himself into Socceroos calculations - with the lack of striker depth at national team level.

A re-shaped attack that looks dangerous

Eric Bautheac Brisbane Roar

It's in the front third of the pitch where Brisbane look most threatening, with the off-season signings of Taggart, Stefan Mauk and Tobias Mikkelsen complementing returning players Eric Bautheac, Brett Holman and Henrique.

The re-signing of Bautheac was crucial - with the Frenchman showing flashes of brilliance last season and he is sure to excel with better players around him this campaign.

It was a welcome return to form for former Socceroo Brett Holman also, and Aloisi will hope he continues to drive the team forward through the attacking midfield area.

Mauk is already at his third A-League club at the age of 23, and the league is crying out for him to have a consistent season and live up to his potential.

The jury is still out on Mikkelsen but the Dane is a full international for his country and should be a solid acquisition.

There is no doubt their attack, minus the ageing Massimo Maccarone and Fahid Ben Khallfallah, will be stronger in 2018-19.

Worrying squad depth in midfield and defence

Matt McKay Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar A-League 03122016

While the attacking third of the pitch is well stocked, Brisbane's midfield and defensive units look thin on comparison.

Veterans Matt McKay and Thomas Kristiansen are solid players and can do a job, but they are both getting on in age, and the latter had niggling injury problems for most of last season.

The signing of Alex Lopez helps to spread the midfield work load, but next line is utility Jacob Pepper, who can do a job but is not a player to win the team trophies.

Young talent Joe Caletti has long threatened to emerge as a first team player, but struggled with form and injury issues last season.

In defence last campaign, the Roar has some solid centre-backs such as Avraam Papadopoulos, Daniel Bowles and Luke DeVere but struggled to keep them all fit and on the pitch.

If Brisbane can't keep their best defenders on the park again, then it's going to very difficult for them to challenge despite their attacking riches.

Predicted finish: 4th    

Star player: Adam Taggart

Breakout player: Stefan Mauk