The 2015/16 A-League season kicks off with Western Sydney Wanderers hosting Brisbane Roar at Pirtek Stadium. Both sides are looking to put difficult campaigns behind them and go into the new season with a fresh look as they seek to reclaim their places at the top end of the table.
For the Wanderers there are similarities with the scenario they faced in their debut season in 2012. Coach Tony Popovic has turned over almost an entire squad of players during the off-season following their failure to make the finals. If Popovic can instill the same fighting spirit that took his inaugural squad to the Grand Final, and without the considerable disruption of an Asian Champions League campaign, the Wanderers have the potential to be contenders once again.
New marquee signing Federico Piovaccari will be looked upon to fire in the goals that were desperately lacking last season. Creativity will come from experienced A-League duo Mitch Nicholls and Dario Vidosic, while Spaniards Andreu and Dimas Delgado will anchor the midfield.
John Aloisi has been given the chance to resurrect his coaching career with the Roar after a difficult spell with the then Melbourne Heart. They are also looking to move on from a disappointing season that saw the three-time Premiership winners only scrape into the finals as a result of sanctions handed down to Perth Glory.
Brisbane will go into the opening round with a number of key men unavailable. Shane Stefanutto, Henrique, Jean Carlos Solarzano and Luke De Vere are all injured, while skipper Matt McKay is on international duty.
With the optimism of a new look and a visiting Brisbane outfit missing some of their stars, the Wanderers have an ideal opportunity to win an opening round match for the first time in their history. Pre-purchased tickets include return travel via public transport to Pirtek Stadium.
Thursday 8th October, Pirtek Stadium Parramatta 20:00
Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar
Click here for ticket details