Brisbane Roar’s grand final victory was a triumph for all concerned. Club, coaching staff, players, fans and significantly, for the game itself.
Anyone driving around Brisbane in the early afternoon of the game was confronted by a sea of orange as fans made their way to Suncorp Stadium. There was an atmosphere of expectation – soon to be followed by celebration – that matched State of Origin night.
The home team made a slow, uncertain start tempered by a patience born of experience that things can always turn around. That it took until 4 minutes from the end was neither here nor there for a team trained to play for the full 90.
In all of this much credit must go to coach, Mike Mulvey, who conducted himself before, during and after the game in a manner that could become a template for others. In the lead up he was wise, friendly, focused and available. He handled it all with a singular grace, as he did the game itself, never looking ruffled or panicked. Teams pick up on this stuff and Mike was walking the walk they had clearly talked about all week.
To the joy and disbelief of soccer officials, the NRL played no club football on the same weekend. Almost unbelievable. So as Brisbane bathed in orange, league drowned in arrogance.
A Test match that generated minimal interest on the Friday night and a NSW City/Country match of no account on Sunday. Such is the blinkered Sydneycentricity of the administrators. We were actually meant to watch this farce?
There was a time when the annual City/Country clash was an entertaining showcase for players from the country we had never heard of – people like Mick Cronin spring to mind – but in an era when talent scouts roam the land there is not a 16-year-old with potential anywhere who has not been identified. That the entire country team was comprised of players we already see every week confirms the point.
The League, as the league does, has its head firmly in the sand and will persevere with this format for the next few years. They need to understand that the fans won’t forever cop being treated with such disdain and contempt.
For now the complaints are growing – soon they’ll be a Roar!