Both Melbourne teams have experienced fluctuating seasons, but it is the away side that are the more settled heading into Saturday’s derby.
Brisbane Roar are the defending champions of the A-League, yet they sit ninth on the table, one point above cellar dwellers Sydney FC. Now Rado Vidosic has been replaced as head coach by Mike Mulvey, who has only ever been in charge of four A-League matches. It’s an astonishing turnaround for a side that was the pinnacle of the competition for two consecutive years, so what has gone wrong this season for the Roar?
In a rare Friday night double header, back-to-back games featured a battle between two sides playing identical 4-2-3-1 formations.
It would be easy to point to Shinji Ono’s first goal for the Wanderers – a late penalty against Brisbane to steal the win – as the moment in which he asserted himself in Australian football.
The second Sydney derby, the weekend’s marquee fixture, will be a fascinating gauge of either side’s season to date.