BRISBANE V MELBOURNE Friday night, Suncorp Stadium

This is a fantastic game to get the start of the A-league season underway. Melbourne Victory are one of the biggest clubs in Australia and there is no way they would have been happy with the way their season ended last campaign.

One of things that Kevvy Muscat has tried to do is secure a few marquees in the off season, however, after chasing Alessandro Diamanti and Michael Essien and missing out on both that will be somewhat of a disappointment. In saying that they welcome back a few old favourites in James Troisi and Marco Rojas while Alan Baro’s biggest challenge will be to try and replace Matthieu Delpierre.

Arguably their biggest loss will be club legend Archie Thompson who remains at the Victory in an ambassadorial role.

There is a very good vibe about them though and they had a solid preseason and are still in contention for the FFA Cup. Remember they played Juventus and Atletico Madrid a little while ago and that is great grounding for a game of this nature.

As for Brisbane, well we were probably having the same conversation about them 12 months ago with regards to off-field issues with the owners and player payments etc.

We all saw that John and Ross Aloisi were able to put all that to one side and get their players to buy in to their philosophy. They ended up playing an exciting brand of football and went down in a 5-4 thriller to the Wanderers in the Grand Final qualifier last season.

The issue for them will be the fact they have lost some good players in Corona, Donahie, Henrique, Polenz and Steffanutto. In their place comes the like of Socceroo Brett Holman who I am really keen to see in the A-League. He will give the Roar some much-needed experience.

I am eager to see Thomas Kristensen in action for Brisbane too because he was bought in to replace Corona who was a key man when it came to setting up goals and plays.

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While Melbourne aren’t always the best travellers, I can’t shake the feeling that we could see something special from them this season. Go for the Victory to take the points on opening night.
MELBOURNE - 1pt @ 2.90