‘If we win all our games we’ll make it’
AN A-League finals series without Brisbane Roar just doesn't seem right.
It's one of the factors driving the Roar in their late push to play finals football for an eighth successive season.
Seemingly dead and buried after losing from five from six matches between round 11 and 16 to be sitting nine points outside the top six, the Roar have won five of their past seven A-League games to now be just two points of not only sixth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers but also fifth-placed Adelaide United.
The Roar claimed their biggest scalp of the season on Saturday night when they beat competition leaders Sydney FC 2-1 at Allianz Stadium.
Brisbane's destiny is well and truly in their own hands.
Three of their remaining four fixtures are against teams outside the top six - Wellington Phoenix, Central Coast Mariners and Perth Glory, with their other match against the Wanderers.
"If we win our games we'll make top six - it's simple," Roar coach John Aloisi said.
"Now we're starting to get it right, but there are still four games left, and we want to push to make finals.
"We need to make finals because we know we're good enough to make finals."
And tough enough in terms of overcoming adversity.
Ravaged by a crippling injury toll and off-field dramas earlier in the season, the Roar squad has shown belief and proved that the culture at the club remains strong, according to Aloisi.
"They (the Roar squad) never give up, they fight together … that's the mentality they've had for a very long time," he said.
"Most teams, with what we went through at the beginning of the year, probably would have folded and wrote off the season, (but) they don't want to write it off, they want to make finals.
"We've got winners in our team that want to win."
The Roar's patience was again tested on Saturday night when seven minutes of stoppage time were played with Brisbane clinging to 2-1 lead.
There was a major scare when a free-kick from Sydney midfielder Brandon O'Neill looked all but in until a timely intervention from Roar goalkeeper Jamie Young.
The Roar camp was furious that so much stoppage time was needed.
A-League boss Greg O'Rourke said that much time was added on due to substitutions and time-wasting tactics from Brisbane.