Questions over snubbing of Roar’s veteran back
LUKE DeVere never lost the belief he could contribute as a Brisbane Roar player this season despite his lengthy period on the outer suggesting others had.
Out of favour for the Roar's first 12 games of the season, the 29-year-old former Socceroos defender is set to play his fourth straight match when a depleted Brisbane host fellow battlers Western Sydney Wanderers at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
DeVere's long-term snubbing mystified many pundits and fans, particularly with the Roar's season-long defensive woes.
"It (Brisbane's poor form) added to the frustration of not playing because you'd like to think you have something to offer," DeVere said.
"But at the same time you've got to roll with the decisions that come your way and keep working, and I've done that.
"Now that I'm back in, I'm enjoying playing and we've got a long road ahead of ourselves as a club to get ourselves out of this mess, but we're looking forward and trying to be positive about it."
DeVere remained adamant that his exclusion was not the result of him falling out with former Roar coach John Aloisi - who left the club last month - or ex-Brisbane assistant coach Ross Aloisi, who last week followed his brother out the door.
"I was never injured and there was no bad blood," DeVere said.
"It was just a footballing opinion. That's all it came down to. I've got no grudges against John, Ross, whoever else was here previously, whoever's here currently … football's football.
"It was frustrating times but now that I've come out the other end of it, I'm hoping that I can build on my performances I've had."
Off-contract at season's end, DeVere believes he still has plenty to offer.
"I've always enjoyed my time at this club and I still like to think I've got a fair few years left in the game, and they are all things that will be taken care of in time," he said.
"At the moment, it's focusing on the here and now, and the next few games for Brisbane."
The Roar's men's and women's teams gathered for lunch together at La Dolce Vita at Milton, with the club continuing to present a united front despite recent problems, including the exodus of a host of staff.
In good news for Brisbane interim coach Darren Davies, he has been able to replenish his football department, bringing former Melbourne Victory technical analyst George Apostolidis to the club to replace the recently departed Jason Wickham.
Unavailable for the Roar for Friday night's game are suspended trio Matt McKay, Eric Bautheac and Jacob Pepper, and long-term casualties Stefan Mauk (groin), Avraam Papadopoulos (buttock) and Brett Holman (knee).