Jets defender says Roar has lost aura

JETS defender Josh Mitchell had a front-row seat when Brisbane striker Besart Berisha converted from the spot in the dying stages to seal the Roar a pulsating 2-1 win over Perth in the A-League grand final last year.

Mitchell was on the bench for the Glory but did not get on the field as the Roar completed back-to-back championships with the Victory at Suncorp Stadium.

The golden run by the Queenslanders included an Australian-record 36-game unbeaten streak. Six months on, things have changed.

Mitchell is now the senior member of the Jets back four.

The Roar, under new coach Rado Vidosic, have won just two games and sit second last on seven points before the battle against the Jets at Suncorp Stadium tonight.

Their preparation this week has been disrupted by reports of in-fighting and a split between some of the senior players and the coach.

Though rating Brisbane "one of the toughest trips" in the league, Mitchell said the aura they had at the height of their form had diminished.

"The competition is so even. I don't think any team has a tag of being above anybody else.

"They are similar teams. The players are the same. They are a little different in how they play but not a lot.

"The results are not going their way at the moment.

"They are down on their luck and we will be aiming to take advantage of that and prey on their lack of confidence, if they have any."

The main concern for the Roar has been defence.

They have conceded eight goals in their past three games, which included a 4-2 win over Sydney.

They enter tonight's clash without central pairing Matt Smith and Ivan Franjic, who are in Hong Kong with the Socceroos. Matt Jurman comes in and is likely to be joined by debutant James Donachie.

"When the assistant coach comes out and starts saying they are not a happy group, there is obviously something not right," Jets coach Gary van Egmond said.

"We have a good knowledge in what they look to try and do, how we counter that and how we profit from that."

The Jets have also struggled to keep teams at bay.

They were 2-0 down after five minutes against the Heart last round but staged a miraculous comeback to snatch a 3-all draw. They have conceded 16 goals in eight games.

Van Egmond has kept faith in the back four but has demanded more concentration.

"We just have to ensure we don't allow those cheap goals," he said.

"We want oppositions to earn them, rather than be aided by poor defensive positioning or poor defensive decisions."

Jets fullbacks Dominik Ritter and Scott Neville have been profiting from pushing high up the pitch in attack.

The flipside to that though is when they turn over possession cheaply. Opposing teams have been quick to exploit the space in behind and have attacked the inside channels with success.

Twice Ritter gave away the ball against the Heart, which led directly to the home team's second and third goals.

It is a similar scenario if the ball is turned over in midfield and the fullbacks are bombing forward.

Brisbane have the pace in Ben Halloran and firepower in Berisha to punish the Jets if they repeat the mistakes.

"On the transition it's going to be very important that defensively we're very compact and we have to understand our positioning with their rotations that occur," van Egmond said.

SNIFFING VICTORY: Josh Mitchell says the Roar’s aura has dimmed.  Picture: Anita Jones

SNIFFING VICTORY: Josh Mitchell says the Roar’s aura has dimmed. Picture: Anita Jones


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