A SIZEABLE crowd witnessed the Brisbane Roar defeat the Central Coast Mariners 3-1 in a Hyundai A-League preseason friendly at Sunshine Coast Stadium last night.
Despite the attendance, the first half's atmosphere had nothing on the Coast's McDonald's Premier Men's grand final two weeks earlier.
Granted, the crowd was in full voice in the second half when Brisbane's Thomas Broich burst into the penalty box to go one-on-one with the keeper.
Broich unselfishly cut back to Dimitri Petratos, who tapped in to take the Roar 2-1 ahead, and from then on it was party time as the tribal drums came out.
It was the Mariners, however, who started the game strongest and they capitalised in the 13th minute when the ball fell nicely for Nick Fitzgerald just outside the box.
His perfectly placed long-range effort slotted into the top-left corner, giving Michael Theo no chance.
As the half went on, it was Brisbane with the run of play and when Mariners stand-in captain Josh Rose was subbed out injured, the Roar went into half-time with all the momentum despite being a goal down.
Last year the Roar struggled to find goals in the absence of golden boot Besart Berisha, but the side showed no lack of firepower in the second half as they piled on three unanswered goals.
First-year coach John Aloisi said it could easily have been more than three goals.
"We knew we were going to create chances and I didn't put any pressure on them to score goals," he said.
"We knew we had goals in us - we scored three, but we could have easily scored more.
"We know we're a team that's got firepower."
Both teams are looking for a turnaround after a poor 2014-15 season and Aloisi said he was satisfied with how hard his team had worked in the preseason.
"I said to the players first day that I got there, I'm looking for improvement from every training session," he said.
"And I saw that every day and every game … I'm happy with the way we're shaping up.
"We'll be ready for the first game."
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