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Australian Football: Bulls and Roar ready to battle it out

Macarthur and Brisbane Roar are attempting to look up the ladder but will also be glancing over their shoulder at those below them as they head into Sunday’s clash at Campbelltown Stadium.

Before Saturday’s fixtures are played Macarthur sit in eighth spot on the ladder, Brisbane ninth. But they could slip depending on what happens in the games that are played before they take to the field.

The A-League is tighter than ever. Just six points separate Sydney FC in sixth spot and Melbourne Victory who prop up the rest of the ladder. So there is still a chance that a team like Macarthur or Brisbane could end up with a place in finals or the wooden spoon depending on how the rest of the season pans out.

Consistency will be key but unfortunately for those teams lower down the ladder that is always an issue and is why they find themselves in such a position.

However there is still time with eight rounds of the regular season remaining, but the run has to start now. With that in mind there is plenty on the line in the final game of Matchday 19, so let’s take a closer look at the clash with kick-off fast approaching.

What:Macarthur FC v Brisbane Roar
Where:Campbelltown Sports Stadium
When:15:00 Saturday 5th March 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Macarthur 2.75, Draw 3.20, Brisbane 2.70

Romero to debut for Bulls

Macarthur are having a season to forget and confidence will be rock-bottom following a 4-0 defeat against Western Sydney Wanderers last weekend. The Bulls were also hammered 6-1 by Melbourne City recently and it is hard to see them turning things around over the remaining fixtures.

Even so, quite amazingly they are just three points away from the top six so remain in the hunt approaching the business end of the season.

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It was a season that started full of optimism following the arrival of new head coach Dwight Yorke, but he has since left in controversial circumstances and Macarthur have been on the slide ever since.

They did show what they are capable of with a 2-1 win over high-flying Wellington Phoenix three weeks ago but then slipped back to their old ways when losing 1-0 at home to Newcastle and then being crushed by the Wanderers.

Leaking goals is also a huge issue. The 10 let in against City and Wanderers were crushing and only Western United have conceded more this season. Brisbane do not tend to concede many and both teams struggle to find the net at the other end. It could be a game of under 2.5 goals which can be backed at 2.00.

Discipline also continues to be an issue. Craig Noone was sent after just six minutes against Western Sydney and was the third Macarthur player to see red in the last six games. A red card happening in Sunday’s match can be backed at 3.50.

The Bulls have brought in a new signing in the form of USA striker Jason Romero and he is in line to make his debut. However Noone is suspended following last week’s red card and both Lachlan Rose and Ulises Davila are out with foot and knee injuries respectively. 

Green targeting top six

Brisbane Roar have no fresh injury or suspension worries as they attempt to build on a rare 2-1 victory over Perth Glory last week. Jay O’Shea, Robbie Kruse and Joe Knowles all remain on the treatment table and are unavailable.

Henry Hore grabbed the winning goal against Perth Glory and can be backed at 6.50 to score at anytime during the game with Macarthur. 

Roar axed coach Warren Moon in the lead-up to the Glory game and it remains to be seen whether the three points were a reaction to that sacking. Listening to a new voice, in this case interim boss Nick Green, can often have the desired effect.

Either way the win over Glory, just their fourth of the season, should lift the camp and they need another three points here to stay in the mix for the top six. Green has said the finals are still the aim but they will need to score a lot more goals to get there. 15 in 18 A-League games is a poor return.

Roar’s other issue is they have drawn way too many games and that ultimately cost Moon his job. A 1-1 draw against Macarthur on Saturday can be backed at 6.00.

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