Fowler takes reins at Brisbane Roar

Robbie Fowler has been appointed as Brisbane Roar's new coach, on a two-year deal.

The Liverpool legend has been given his first coaching job by the A-League side and is returning to the competition where he played for North Queensland Fury and Perth Glory.

He will succeed Darren Davies, who has been interim coach since John Aloisi resigned in December.

Davies has only won three of his 17 games in charge and the Roar, who were thrashed 6-1 at home by Newcastle Jets at the weekend, are guaranteed to finish next to bottom in the table.

Fowler has confirmed that Davies will stay on his coaching staff but that former Everton midfielder Tony Grant will be his assistant.

The 44-year-old said: "I'm so excited; it's something I've wanted for a long time. To actually get a job with a great team is very very rewarding and I'm really proud of myself.

"I always knew if I wanted to become a manager, it had to be the right club and I just feel as though Brisbane is. It's a long way from home but I think the club has got a lot to offer, and I feel like I've got a lot to offer the club as well."

Fowler will be presented to the crowd at Suncorp Stadium ahead of Thursday's Anzac Day match against Adelaide United when the Roar will finish their season.

Speaking of the team's fortunes this season, he said: "[It] has obviously been a little bit disappointing but you always look for positives and as far as I'm concerned, the only way is up. Everyone knows the club and the place probably needs a bit of a freshen up; I'm confident I can do that, I feel as though I am the right man."

Fowler has been working as a pundit in recent years and has served as an academy coach at Liverpool.

Brisbane Roar are 9/2 to win their next game against Adelaide United, who are 8/15 with the draw 10/3.

The Roar are 25/1 to win 1-0.

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Jets hand Brisbane heaviest home loss

Newcastle Jets ran riot against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium, handing the home side a 6-1 hammering.

Roy O'Donovan and Joey Champness both scored twice in the penultimate round clash between two sides who have failed to make the A-League Finals Series.

It was Brisbane's record home defeat and confirmed that the Roar will finish next to bottom in the table.

The Jets, who made it five consecutive wins over Brisbane, took control with two goals in a four-minute period midway through the first half.

Winger Champness sliced open the right side of the Roar's defence before cutting inside firing a shot that was deflected into the corner of the net.

The youngster then went around the outside of Daniel Leck to tee up O'Donovan's instinctive finish.

Jamie Young made a good save from Angus Thurgate to keep Newcastle from adding to their tally before the interval.

Darren Davies' team pulled a goal back four minutes into the second half when 18-year-old Jack Duncan followed up to net after keeper Lewis Italiano had failed to hold a fierce Dylan Wenzel-Halls strike.

Six minutes later O'Donovan had his second of the night when he headed home Ivan Vujica's cross, and the visitors scored twice more in a three-minute spell.

Kaine Sheppard's left-footed strike deflected in off the head of Dimitri Petratos to make it 4-1 and Champness tapped in to complete his double.

Substitute Kwabena Appiah-Kubi rounded off the scoring in added time, tucking away a one-on-one.

It was a particularly disappointing night for the Roar given that they hoped to send captain Matt McKay off into retirement on a positive note.

McKay will make his final appearance in the final round clash at home to Adelaide United.

Meanwhile, minor premiers Perth Glory are 13/10 to win the Grand Final. Sydney FC are priced at 2/1 with Melbourne Victory 5/1.

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McKay calling time on long career

Brisbane Roar captain Matt McKay has two final games in front of home fans before he heads into retirement.

The 36-year-old former Australia international is bringing down the curtain on his 18-year professional career.

The Roar are out of the running to make the A-League Finals Series, so McKay will bow out when the Roar face Adelaide United at Suncorp Stadium on 25th April.

Born in Brisbane, McKay holds the club's record for league appearances having played for them since the start of the A-League.

He led the club to their first championship and premiership in 2010-11 before moving to Scottish side Rangers.

He spent one season with the Glasgow club then played for South Korean side Busan IPark and Changchun Yatai in the Chinese Super League before returning to Brisbane for a second spell in 2013.

McKay played every game in Australia's Asian Cup campaign in 2011 when they lost to Japan in the final, and was also in the squad when they won the tournament on home soil in 2015.

He won 59 caps between 2006-16, scoring twice, for the Socceroos.

After returning to the Roar, McKay helped the club under Mike Mulvey win another A-League double in 2013-14.

"I'm grateful for everything football has given me," he said. "I've had an enjoyable career with plenty of highs and lows, but I've always had a smile on my face and that's what's made it for me.

"I've always tried my hardest and I think that's what has made my career last as long as it has – I've always given my al. I was there from day one at the Roar and played with some immense players with a great work ethic, which has been really special."

Brisbane Roar are 7/2 to win their next game against Newcastle Jets, who are 7/10 with the draw 16/5.

Phoenix set to lose coach Rudan

Wellington Phoenix suffered a big low to their chances of a top-four finish when they lost 2-1 away to Brisbane Roar.

The defeat came hours after it was reported that coach Mark Rudan would be leaving at the end of the season.

Rudan would not confirm his departure after the match, but he is expected to switch to expansion club Western United and an official announcement is due on Monday.

The Australian coach had admitted publicly he was finding it extremely difficult to be separated from his family, who live in Sydney.

Speaking after the game at Suncorp Stadium, Rudan said his players had been award of his plans since early last month.

"What's important with the speculation is that once it started I was very upfront and honest with my football club and with my players as well," he said.

"Everyone knows at the football club what's going on. It was known before we scored a record number of goals in three games (15)."

The Phoenix needed to beat the ninth-placed Roar to cement their place in the top four, but instead completed an unhappy Australian tour which had seen them go down 3-1 at Adelaide United last week.

Their remaining two matches are against Melbourne City and then away to leaders Perth Glory.

Brisbane scored twice in the final eight minutes of the first half, Frenchman Eric Bautheac netting both.

He played a one-two with Nick D'Agostino to set up his first, ending the move by beating defenders Andrew Durante and Michal Kopczynski before firing past keeper Filip Kurto.

Bautheac had an easy tap in for his second, when Dylan Wenzel-Halls' cross found him at the far post.

Wellington pulled a goal back eight minutes into the second half when Steven Taylor headed home from a corner.

The visitors missed two late chances, substitute Cillian Sheridan crashing a shot into the post and David Williams shooting wide of an empty net.

Meanwhile, Perth Glory are 4/9 to overcome Newcastle on Sunday. The Jets are 6/1 while the draw is 10/3.

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Win can’t get Wanderers nearer to top six

Oriol Riera scored twice for Western Sydney as they beat Melbourne City 3-0 at ANZ Stadium.

Wanderers undermined the visitors' hopes of a top-four finish, while the three points come too late resurrect their own Finals Series chances.

Though it cut the gap to sixth-placed Adelaide United to eight points with four rounds left, the Reds then beat Central Coast Mariners to take it back up to 11.

City could have taken the lead before Riera netted his first of the night from the penalty spot with 10 minutes left in the first half.

Shayon Harrison fired in a powerful effort which Vedran Janjetovic saved well to preserve parity, with Wanderers then winning a penalty for Rostyn Griffiths' foul on Kwame Yeboah.

Riera sent Eugene Galekovic the wrong way with a composed finish into the bottom corner.

City were unlucky not to level early in the second half when Ritchie De Laet saw his low shot bounce off the outside of the post.

Wanderers second goal on 53 minutes was well worked on the counter attack, Mitch Duke finishing off the move.

City were undone again six minutes from time as Riera completed his double.

It secured Western Sydney's fourth win in six games, with the club left to rue their poor form earlier in the campaign. Markus Babbel's team only picked up 10 points from their first 17 matches.

"We started on a different level to now so the quality in training is better, it's getting higher and for me it is not a surprise that we are getting results now," said the German coach.

Melbourne City are 2/7 to win their next game against Brisbane Roar, who are 9/1 with the draw 9/2.

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Corica hails marquee De Jong

Coach Steve Corica praised marquee Siem de Jong after the Netherlands international netted on his return for Sydney FC in the 3-1 win over Brisbane Roar.

A knee injury had kept the former Ajax man on the sidelines for two months before the Suncorp Stadium clash.

He came off the bench with 17 minutes to go when the Sky Blues were level at 1-1, and by the end of the match he had set up one goal and scored another.

First he sent a shot against the post which leading scorer Adam le Fondre followed up to restore the visitors' lead.

And with a minute to go he squeezed a shot inside the near post past Brisbane keeper Jamie Young to complete the victory.

"We see him at training, so we see the best of him," said Corica. "You probably haven't seen the best of Siem yet other than a couple of the fantastic goals he has scored so far, but it's vital for us to keep him fit and everyone else because we haven't really had that option this year.

"He's worked hard to get back fit. He was on a good run before he got injured, scored in his last game and in his first game back he has scored again which is great and it was a vital goal for us, it made the game done and dusted."

De Jong has returned with a month left in the regular A-League season to help the Sky Blues fight for a third consecutive minor premiership.

He will also be involved in their Asian Champions League campaign, which will be a big boost for Corica's team who have picked up just one point from their first two Group H games.

The Dutchman said: "I have trained a lot and I am used to being here more now than I was at the beginning of the season. I am used to at the style of play, I know the guys more and it helps me focus on my own game and helped the team perform better."

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Calver catches Brisbane cold

A first-minute goal from Aaron Calver sent Sydney FC on their way to a 3-1 victory over Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.

Strikes from Adam le Fondre and the returning Siem de Jong sealed the three points for the Sky Blues after Eric Bautheac had equalised for the Roar.

It kept Steve Corica's second-placed side in the hunt for a third consecutive Premiers' Plate.

The visitors won for just the third time in 18 visits to the venue, while struggling Brisbane were left to rue a nightmare start.

The home side fell asleep when the Sky Blues had a free-kick in the opening seconds, leaving Calver unmarked to head against the underside of the crossbar and in.

Alex Brosque was just wide with a cheeky backheel on the half-hour mark, then saw Roar keeper Jamie Young tip his shot around the post in the second half.

Brisbane levelled soon after, as Nick D'Agostino played a superb ball into the centre where Bautheac tapped home from close range.

De Jong, having been introduced from the bench by Corica, was denied by the post 13 minutes from time but the rebound fell for le Fondre to convert for his 15th goal of the campaign.

The three points were secured a minute from time when Dutchman De Jong, having been forced wide of goal, fooled Young with a shot inside his near post.

Joshua Brillante, who made his playing return after missing two games while discussing a potential move to South Korean side Pohang, said he was glad to be back on the pitch.

"My head is great at the moment," he added. "Obviously for a couple of weeks there was a bit of interest and I stepped out of the team because I didn't wanna stuff up the team.

"In football these things happens, there's a back and forth and it didn't work out so my head is here and I'm here to finish off the season and do everything I can."

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De Jong return boosts Sky Blues

The expected return from injury of Siem de Jong will boost Sydney FC when they take on struggling Brisbane Roar on Friday.

The Dutchman is fit again and available for what would be his 12th appearance of the campaign for the Sky Blues.

Steve Corica's side are winless and scoreless in their last three games, and teammate Michael Zullo believes de Jong's creativity can help them get back on track.

Defender Zullo, who faced the former Ajax captain during his time in the Eredivisie with FC Utrecht, said: "He's definitely got the pedigree and the ability, we see it every day at training.

"It's just about getting him into the game rhythm, getting him some solid minutes leading into finals, and getting him in the right positions to do the things we know he can do. He's going to be a massive in for us."

De Jong is one of three big inclusions for the Sky Blues along with fellow attacking midfielder Daniel De Silva (elbow) and Josh Brillante.

While he was dealing with a potential move to South Korean outfit Pohang Steelers, Brillante was left out of the last two games, but it is believed that deal has fallen through and he will remain until the end of the season when his contract expires.

Zullo said of him: "I'm not sure what the exact situation if he's going to play or not, but he's definitely back in the squad and back available.

"His aspirations are obviously to make the best out of his career; the general consensus is you have to go overseas in order to do that. He's probably ready for something (else), but obviously now that he's back with us, he just slots right back in to how it was before."

The Sky Blues are 1/2 to win their game against the Roar, who are 5/1, with the draw 10/3.

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Kurz to leave Adelaide at season’s end

Adelaide United coach Marco Kurz is to leave the club at the end of the season.

The 49-year-old German will see out his second campaign at the Reds but said talks about a renewal of his contract had not worked out.

Kurz has been linked with the vacancy at second-bottom Brisbane Roar.

Chairman Piet van der Pol had issued a statement last week after Kurz had accused him of leaving him waiting a month for a reply after leaving him a message.

It left the pair looking unlikely to reach a resolution about a new deal, and Kurz says he they did not share a "common vision" for the club.

"Our goals are very different and therefore a renewal of my contract does not make sense," he said.
 
"Regardless of this decision, it is important now to focus on reaching our aims for the season and to secure a spot in the finals."

Kurz guided the Reds to success in the FFA Cup last year, when they beat Sydney FC in the final.

The club have spent the whole of this season in the Finals Series spots, and though they have not won in four games they are still likely to finish in the top six.

United are sixth, and have a five-point gap above Newcastle Jets with five rounds to go.

Van der Pol said in a statement: "After meeting with Marco…I informed him of our decision not to extend his contract beyond this season. In the coming weeks we will be identifying potential candidates."

Kurz has denied speculation he had held talks with Brisbane, who parted with coach John Aloisi in late December.

Adelaide United are 16/1 to win the Grand Final.

The Reds are 4/7 to win their next game against Central Coast, who are 17/4 with the draw 16/5.

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Warland season over after ACL tear

Defender Ben Warland will miss the rest of Sydney FC's season after tearing his ACL.

The 22-year-old was hurt in Sunday's 2-0 home defeat to Melbourne City, scans revealing he tore the ACL in his left knee.

He is the third Sky Blues player to go down with a long-term knee injury this season, putting pressure on their resources as they challenged for a third-straight minor premiership.

Chris Zuvela and Trent Buhagiar both suffered freak knee injuries in accidental clashes during the early part of the campaign.

Warland missed had a delayed start to the start of the season after breaking a bone in his foot in pre-season but returned to become a regular starter in Steve Corica's side.

Speaking of the Adelaide-born centre-back, Corica said: "He's been doing extremely well at centre-half but he is a quality professional, he has great strength and character and I know he will come back even stronger.

"We have a fantastic medical department at Sydney FC, who will guide Ben through the process as they have with others before."

Corica's team are having to contend with dual campaigns, which is seriously testing their depth.

Five of their six games in the Asian Champions League come before the end of the A-League campaign.

Traditionally that has seen Australian clubs struggle to qualify from their ACL groups while chasing domestic silverware.

In the case of Sydney FC it is their league form that held up – they had taken seven points out of nine before losing to City – while they have only picked up one point from their two ACL games so far.

Marquee man Siem de Jong and young playmaker Danny De Silva are both hoping to be back after injuries for their next game against second-bottom Brisbane on 29th March.

The Sky Blues are 1/2 to win their next game against Brisbane Roar, who are 5/1 with the draw 3/1.

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