Brisbane Roar were one of the worst teams in the A-League during the 2018-19 season, but since Robbie Fowler’s arrival back in April 2019, they’ve slowly turned their form around to become one of the top teams in Australia. The Roar have their roar back.
After just one defeat in their last seven matches and three impressive wins on the bounce, qualification to the Final Series looks likely with Fowler’s men priced at around an appealing 11.00 to go all the way this season. If you fancy backing them for Grand Final glory, make sure you check out the best AU sites to place bets. Get the best odds possible.
So what has February’s A-League manager of the month done to turn Brisbane Roar’s fortune on its head? It wasn’t an instant turnaround…
A Slow Start for Fowler in Brisbane
Free to Air A-League on ABC TV began a two year deal at the start of the season with Brisbane Roar snatching a last gasp equaliser away at Perth Glory courtesy of VAR. Fowler lost his second game in charge at home to Melbourne Victory, snatched a point away at Western Sydney Wanderers and then lost away at Adelaide. Fans were fearing the worst once again. Was Robbie Fowler the right man for the job?
Fowler and Grant Find Their Feet
It took a little while for Robbie Fowler and his assistant, ex-Everton man Tony Grant, to stamp their style of football onto the side, but the tide started to turn in their favour after a 4-3 win at home to Melbourne City. Coming back from 3-1 down with half an hour left to win it 4-3. What a turnaround. They didn’t call him God at Liverpool for nothing.
The following home match saw another solid win against the Central Coast Mariners. Two defeats did halt their progress slightly after that, but it’s been just two defeats in 13 A-League games since. A lot of praise has been heaped on Fowler for his style of play, and many fans have likened it to the way Liverpool play nowadays; pass, move, and press.
The Liverpool Way
Passing and moving was always attributed to Liverpool’s impressive style of play over the years. Still, Jurgen Klopp has since added pressing to their repertoire and Robbie Fowler has adopted that over in Australia with his side. And it’s working.
Roar’s Jamie Young was also quick to point out the competitive nature of his manager as a key factor for their improved form:
“I think the thing about playing in Europe is, you can never rest on your laurels,” Young said. “There is always somebody to take your spot. He’s not just happy, and he doesn’t always think he’s right, he’s willing to change things if he feels like he needs to. You’ve seen that in games, like when Melbourne Victory probably sat back too much [in Roar’s 1-0 defeat in Round 2] and we changed our tactics. He’s somebody that’s not afraid to learn and say that he wants to evolve.
The mentality from that point of view – I think a lot of people can get stuck in their ways and he’s very adaptable. It’s been really encouraging as a player to see that and you can see the players buy into it. I think that’s really important that the players are always stimulated, and they are willing to change depending on who we play.”
With the 2019/20 coming to a close, Brisbane Roar are in a great position heading towards the Final Series. Can they defy the odds and go all the way? Only time will tell. But what we do know is that Robbie Fowler and Tony Grant are enjoying life in Brisbane, and if the players continue to buy into their refreshing football philosophy, these could be exciting times for the Roar. Not only this year, but next year and beyond too.
It’s been six long years since Brisbane won Australian football’s biggest prize, but fans can be forgiven for being excited about that drought ending sooner rather than later with God at the helm.