Saturday, August 8, 2009

Is It Too Much To Ask?

For the last 4 seasons now I have turned up to almost every Qld/Brisbane Roar home game and have managed to catch almost every away game on telly, and for those 4 seasons there has been one outstanding, undeniable and ongoing issue: Set Pieces.

Every time the Roar are awarded a free kick in a promising area or earn themselves a free kick my mates and I rise to our feet; 'Maybe this one will come off?' 'Maybe Charlie Miller or Sergio will take it?'

No, no, no is more than often the resounding answer to our hoopeful questions. I would wager that 95% of the time Roar fan favourite Matty McKay either doesn't beat the first defender, plays on quickly or whacks the ball over the top of everyone. Brisbane aren't alone though, across the board the standard of set pieces in this country is borderline terrible and I reckon I am not the only fan with his/her head in his hands after yet another miserable attempt at a set piece.

It's not until you see players like Fabio Vignaroli from Newcastle Jets whipping vicious, curling balls in from 3 or 40 yards out onto the head of an attacker do you appreciate just how poor the standard is. Every time I've seen the little Italian dynamo play for the Jets he has invariably had opposition defenders at sixes and sevens with his delivery and I think the question has to be made to coaches and administrators as to why the standard is so poor. I know if I was a coach in the physical and robust A-League(where tackles fly in left, right and centre) that one of the first things I'd be taking care of is singing one or two players who can deliver that venomous kind of ball into the box, or the top corner. Not only would it give my team an extra, potent option, it would bring the crowd right into the game. Can you imagine if there was a player in the league with delivery comparable to that of Alvaro Recoba or Mikel Arteta? The crowd would be on their feet everytime a corner or free kick is awarded and the atmosphere would be absolutely palpable.

Here's hoping that A-League clubs start to seek out some players with this gift, starting with Frank Farina and Brisbane Roar of course!


  1. A great point, Mackey.

    I watched Sergio van Dijk's curling free-kick go narrowly wide on Saturday night and wondered how many times I'd seen a similar strike hit the target in both Germany and Japan.

    Just one of the fundamentals we could work hard on to improve in the A-League.

  2. Thanks for breaking my comment virginity Mike!

    At least that time someone different was given a go, and Sergio hits the ball with venom, beats me why he doesn't take more. It's a better option than a floating ball to the keeper of the fans in the 5th row.

  3. ...or the short ones that seem to occur 95% of the time!!!

  4. Oh God, the short ones! they were at it again against Gold Coast - it never works... someone should to tell them, Frank Farina for instance.

    Set pieces have always been a problem for a roar both executing them and defending against them.