A drum belting, bikini clad, booty shaking festival atmosphere pervaded Lang Park as a clearly football starved Brisbane crowd gathered in anticipation to watch the much vaunted samba boys take on our local plodders… Frank Farina had warned that the South American kids would be skilful and tricky but that the roar would pressure them, cut down there time on the ball and deny them space – sounded like Bolton preparing for a visit to the Camp Nou.
In the end it was all a bit of a fizzer. There were plenty of skills on display – all from the local lads in orange (bizarrely mostly from Danny Tiatto). The visitors barely touched the ball in the first half, let alone executed any tricks. The Roar flowed. Tiatto jinked, Massy twisted, Zullo beat his man, Smits won everything in the air, Van Dijk turned and riffled shots at will, Seo worked up and down the right flank and Moore sprayed pinpoint accurate passes all over the park.
The Brazilians desperately lumped balls forward only for their young strikers to be outpaced by Craig Moore.
For all the talk before this game, the idea that the Roar would be looking to sign one or two of these youngsters is laughable. None impressed and I hope that the Queensland public, 13,000 of whom turned out, don't feel a bit let down by the clearly second rate opposition.
Although the new A-League season will no doubt present a sterner test than the samba kids, the new signings looked good.
Smits' toughness impressed me and belied his tender age and slight frame. While he does not look to have the touch or powerful shot of Van Dijk, he was brave, worked hard and took his goal chance when it came. I wont be surprised if he earns himself a few starts this season particularly against side who will sit back and deny our pacey little folk space to get behind the defence.
Van Dijk himself has clearly got some pedigree, strong on the ball with vicious strike on him. The ironic shouts of "where's Mezenga?" after a third rocket had soared over the crossbar rang a little hollow as the Brazilians clearly struggled to contatin the big (Flying?? surely not) Dutchman.
Luke DeVere looked the part despite the odd positional lapse and what better man but Moore to have at your side while learning the trade?
Tommy Oar looked like a boy playing a man’s game and I hope that the media have not put too much pressure on him with all this “new Harry Kewel” rubbish. He has clearly been signed to keep the Gold Coast local out of the grasp of the new franchise (Boo Hiss -cant wait to have a derby!).
Then we get to Miller. A quick look through his CV showed that the Rangers days had long since passed and nothing much of note had followed. The portly figure in the photos and the highly suspect taste in facial hair did not inspire much hope. Matt Mackay candidly admitted after the game that Miller was wearing a specially made shirt to accommodate his girth.
The Miller’s first touch after being bought on was so silky we nearly stopped shouting “who ate all the pies”. A chant which, perhaps unsurprisingly, my Brazilian associate was unfamiliar with and found, more surprisingly, absolutely hilarious – resulting renditions of such gusto and enthusiasm that the vaguely annoyed looking Scotsman could be left in no doubt of the first impression he was making.
Miller's second touch was a Zizou style turn to create space followed by an intelligent pass. His influence grew the longer he was on the pitch and his performance demonstrate intelligence, skill, flair and an absolute killer volley. Miller topped it all off by providing the last goal in a performance which drained most of my scepticism away.
Unfortunately we had heckled him so much about his portly proportions before he got on the pitch that he did not seem that keen to give us wave after… So Charlie… if you’re reading this – you’re actually pretty good and it would be lovely if you would stay in Brisbane… the weather is warm, the locals are friendly… and the pies are plentiful J
Of course there will be doubts about Miller's fitness and whether that style of playmaker fits with the Roar’s fast paced brand of total football. For me he gives us another way to goal – a plan “B” something which we have lacked in previous seasons. When the flying wingers and mobile midfield are just not getting the result, the option of bringing on a genuine “number 10” would allow the team to shift in shape and style to unlock the opposition defence.
Given his performance on the weekend we hope he signes and gets fit because if he can keep that form up all season it will sure be fun to watch.