Marco Rojas (Vfb Stuttgart II), James Troisi (Liaoning Whowin), Alan Baro (Ponferradina), Mitch Austin (Central Coast Marriners), James Donachie (Brisbane Roar), Stefan Nigro (promoted)
Kosta Barbarouses, Gui Finkler, Matthieu Delpierre, Danny Vukovic, Archie Thompson, Connor Pain, Thomas Deng, Jesse Makarounas, Giancarlo Gallifuoco, Dylan Murnane, Joey Katebian
Victory have perhaps had the busiest pre-season of all the clubs due to their early participation in the International Champions Cup. They started with a penalty shootout win over Italian champions Juventus. Ingham cancelled out Carlos Blanco’s 50-yard chip on a night where Austin made an exciting debut and Thomas was the penalty shootout hero. Victory continued their fine form with a 1-0 win over Spanish giants Ateltico Madrid. Again Thomas starred in goals, and Ansell scored the only goal from a header via a Khalfallah cross.
Victory are still in the FFA Cup, with a Melbourne Derby semi-final awaiting on Tuesday the 25th of October. Victory started with a 3-1 away win over Newcastle Jets, with Berisha, Bozanic and Howard netting the goals. Next was a 1-0 win over Hume City where a Berisha penalty was just enough to overcome the NPL Victoria side, on a night where the Albanian scored a record 10th goal in the competition. Finally, a second-half flurry saw a full-strength Victory outclass Bentleigh Greens 2-0 with Rojas and Troisi finding the back of the net.
Same, same, but different. Victory has kept the core of its squad this season, have recruited some familiar faces, but there’s a hint of renewed anticipation in the 14/15 premiers this season. Out goes Barbarouses and Finkler, and in comes the return of club stars Rojas and Troisi. There’s a like-for-like replacement down back, with Baro replacing Delpierre; and Valeri may as well be a new signing after missing most of last season through injury, an absence which was sorely noticed. Victory undoubtedly have their sights set on another trophy this season after making good headway in their cup campaign and having one of the best squads in the league. Their attack again will be a force to be reckoned with and their midfield has the personnel to create serious worry in opposition. The only issue foreseeable is if their defence can hold up as well as it did last season with the departure of Delpierre, but by no means let this be an illusion from the fact that Victory means business this season.
Brisbane (away), City (home), Adelaide (away), Wellington (home)
Predicted Round 1 Side
Geria, Baro, Donachie, Broxham
Bozanic, Troisi, Valeri
Rojas, Berisha, Austin
Early signs seem to indicate that visa players Khalfallah and Georgievski may have had their spots in the line-up taken due to inconsistency and form, but don’t be surprised to see them swiftly make a return at the hand of injury or poor form to anyone already on the park. The battle for spots down back will be tight to begin with, especially with Ansell waiting on the sidelines and Broxham being trialled across one of his many positions. However, take note that Rojas is likely to miss round 1 due to international commitments
Troisi (MID, 290k) and Rojas (FWD, 250k) return to the A-League for the first time in a few years and fantasy-football fans could not be happier. At different times, each of these players were one of the best players in the league, worthy of a price-tag much bigger than their current ones this season. Considering not only their A-League experience, but their pedigree and class developed internationally since their first departure, expect a deadly partnership between them and Berisha (FWD, 300k). The Albanian himself has historically had no issues justifying his price tag thanks to his dead-eye for goal and the passion and commitment which he brings to every game.
A lot hangs on how Muscat’s men line-up this season as so to figure out who to ignore out of Victory’s star-studded options. Pre-season indicators suggest that Khalfallah (FWD, 280k) and Georgievski (DEF, 190k) are over-priced due to the question marks around their starting positions, and perhaps also simply due to the impact they can make in comparison to their similar-priced counterparts. Everyone’s favourite DJ Broxham (MID, 210k) goes between way too many different positions on the park in one season to justify his price-tag, with goals or assists no guarantee anyway for the utility man.
LEAGUE: Don’t forget to join the SuperCoachHQ.com league on aleaguefantasy.foxsports.com.au – the league code is 117-325.