Brisbane Strikers FC
|Full name||Brisbane Strikers Football Club|
|2017||NPL Queensland, 1st|
Brisbane Strikers Football Club is an Australian semi-professional football club based in Brisbane, Queensland. Founded in 1994, the club competed in the National Soccer League until the 2003–04 season and was one of two clubs contending for an A-League licence during the establishment of the league in 2004. Brisbane Strikers currently competes in the National Premier League Queensland, with home matches played from Perry Park.
- 1 History
- 2 Players
- 3 Notable players
- 4 Notable coaches
- 5 Honours
- 6 Records (FFA Cup)
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Brisbane's first representation in the National Soccer League (NSL) – (then known as the Philips Soccer League (PSL)) came from Brisbane City, who still play in the Brisbane competition, and Brisbane Lions. Brisbane City won the first two national knockout competitions, by defeating Marconi in 1977 and West Adelaide in 1978. Brisbane Lions won the knockout competition in 1981, also defeating West Adelaide. Brisbane City left the NSL in after the 1986 season and Brisbane Lions after the 1988 season.
The next Brisbane team in the NSL was Brisbane United, which played from 1991 to 1993. From their demise came the Brisbane Strikers in the 1994 season.
National Soccer League 1994–2004
Initially the Brisbane Strikers were owned by the Queensland Soccer Federation, which handed the running of the club to a Trust Management Group composed of Ian Brusasco ( a former President of the Queensland Soccer Federation and the Australian Soccer Federation), Dr Clem Jones (former Lord Mayor of Brisbane) and leading football official Frank Speare.
Coached by Bruce Stowell for three seasons, the Strikers steadily improved their position in the NSL pecking order, finishing fourth in 1995/96 to qualify for their first NSL finals appearance in which they lost a semi-final playoff over two legs to Sydney United.
But revenge was just around the corner in the most extraordinary of circumstances. In the 1996/97 season the Strikers were led by player-coach Frank Farina and finished second on the NSL ladder to Sydney United before going on to beat United in their semi-final to set up a home grand final – against the same team.
At a time when football was struggling for mainstream acceptance and credibility in Australia, NSL Grand Finals – the pinnacle of club football in Australia – generally drew crowds between 12,000 and 25,000, but the 1997 Grand Final, played at Lang Park in Brisbane, completely changed perceptions of football’s standing in Australia when it drew a capacity 40,446 spectators to watch the Brisbane Strikers beat Sydney United 2–0 with goals by Farina and Rod Brown.
This was a watershed moment for football in Australia but the Strikers struggled the next season, finishing twelfth. Nevertheless, a significant event in the history of the club occurred in 1998 when the QSF divested itself of its ownership, which passed to the Strikers Football Club Pty Ltd.
Scarcely three years after the club had played its part in Australian club football’s proudest moment it was dealt a savage blow when Soccer Australia, as part of a restructuring of the national competition, refused the Brisbane Strikers’ application for a place in the new league, citing financial reasons for doing so; this left the national league without a representative from the country’s third most populous state. Outrage ensued within Queensland and northern New South Wales, with politicians, supporters and the general public waging a vigorous campaign to have the club reinstated to the national league; this eventually convinced Soccer Australia to reverse its decision and grant the Strikers Football Club Pty Ltd a licence for the 2000/2001 season.
Back on the field, under coach John Kosmina, the Strikers justified the efforts of those who fought for their place in the national competition by finishing fourth and qualifying for the NSL finals against all the expectations of those south of the border. While eventual premiers, South Melbourne FC, prevailed over the Strikers in their two-legged semi-final, the Strikers had flown the flag for Queensland with honour.
The next season, however, saw the Strikers struggle again and led to the club parting ways with Kosmina. Despite a host of coaches showing interest in the vacancy, including some from overseas, the Strikers took the bold step of appointing 28-year-old club captain Stuart McLaren as head coach, assisted by Luciano Trani. Together the two formed an innovative combination, assembling a squad of unsung players from the local leagues and turning them into a team which took the club back into the 2003/04 NSL finals only to lose a memorable semi-final play-off to Adelaide United.
That season was the last for the NSL. A strong reform movement within the game in Australia had seen a new Soccer Australia Board appointed (which would change its name to Football Federation Australia) under the Chairmanship of Frank Lowy and the new governing body set about creating a new national competition called the A-League.
First A-League bid
The Brisbane Strikers were a prime candidate for the Brisbane position in the new A-League that kicked off in mid-2005. Football Federation Australia boss Frank Lowy was quoted at the time saying that the two Brisbane bids were outstanding, but the reality was that only one team would make it.
The A-League decided to go with the Lions bid, who changed their name to the Queensland Roar, whose name changed once more to the present Brisbane Roar, maintaining their local link to the Lions, and ethnic links.
Second A-League bid
The Strikers announced in May 2017 that the club would once again put in a bid to join the A-League, with the club making the announcement on the 20th anniversary of its NSL grand final win.
Central to the Strikers bid was the club's plans for a 15,694-seat boutique stadium at Perry Park.
However, the club pulled out of the race when the bid's financial backers pulled their support; the debacle led to criticism from fans about the club's direction and the "inertia" of the bid.
Later, it emerged that the Strikers had approached Brisbane City, another Brisbane club vying for A-League admission, about consolidating their bids. Brisbane City knocked back that approach. City subsequently withdrew its own bid.
Brisbane Premier League 2005–2007
Determined to find an outlet to continue their philosophy of developing the talents of Queensland footballers, the Brisbane Strikers then joined forces with local Brisbane club North Star to field a team in the Brisbane Premier League. Coached by Bobby Hamilton, the new team qualified for the finals play-off in its first BPL season (2005) before falling to Palm Beach in a semi-final. However, in 2006 the Strikers carried all before them, winning the BPL championship, the Grand Final and the Premier Cup.
Another coaching change saw Craig Collins take on the player-coach role in 2007, it was an "almost" season for the Strikers, which saw them finish runners-up in the championship to Rochedale Rovers F.C., before losing a titanic struggle in the Grand Final to the same team by the scoreline of 5–4.
Queensland State League 2008–2012
With the Queensland State League due to commence in 2008 as part of Football Federation Australia and Football Queensland’s goal of enhancing career pathways across Queensland and providing a platform between the local and national competitions, the Strikers saw a position in the QSL as a natural "fit" with the club’s own player development ethos, its application to join the new State competition was accepted and the club, once again under the coaching of Stuart McLaren, put its best foot forward on playing fields from Brisbane to Townsville in the inaugural QSL season. The Strikers finished second behind Sunshine Coast F.C. on the league table before hosting the Grand Final at Perry Park and losing to the same team.
The following (2009) season McLaren and his squad set themselves to the task of delivering on a pledge to "go one better", they did precisely that, clinching the QSL championship in the penultimate round of the competition after a tense season-long battle with Olympic FC. In doing so the Brisbane Strikers became one of the very few, if not the only football club in Australia, to have won trophies at local, state and national levels. However, the Strikers then lost in a Grand Final once again, going down 1–4 in a boilover result to Redlands City Devils, who had finished the season in fourth position on the QSL ladder.
The 2010 and 2011 campaigns took on a familiar path. With David Large taking on the coaching role from the departing McLaren the club finished both seasons in second position on the league table before going on to host the Grand Finals and losing each one by an identical scoreline, 1–0 to Sunshine Coast F.C.. The 2012 QSL proved to be a successful season for the club; the Strikers claimed their second QSL championship in five years in emphatic fashion, finishing eight points above second place Far North Queensland Bulls FC. However the Strikers finals curse struck yet again being eliminated in a home semi-final 2–0 to Whitsunday Miners FC.
National Premier Leagues Queensland 2013–present
Since 2013 the Strikers have competed in the National Premier Leagues Queensland, run by Football Queensland, the top tier state-level football (soccer) competition in Queensland, replacing the Queensland State League; the conference is a sub division of the National Premier Leagues. The league consists of teams across Queensland.
In seasons 2013 and 2014 the Strikers finished fourth in the league before being eliminated in the semi-finals by league winners and eventual Grand Final champions in Olympic FC and Palm Beach Sharks respectively.
Season 2015 saw a new coach take the helm in Kevin Aherne-Evans and while enjoying a relatively successful campaign it was to prove a frustrating year for the club. With the Strikers equal top of the league but second on goal difference their final game of the season was abandoned due to wet weather and with the governing body, Football Queensland, choosing not to reschedule the match and deem it a goalless draw they were forced to settle for the runners-up position; the disappointment from the last game controversy was further heightened when the Strikers qualified for the Grand Final, only to lose to their league rivals Moreton Bay United.
The pain of 2015 was put aside with the Strikers proving a dominant force in season 2016, finally clinching the club's first National Premier Leagues Queensland league title. In 2017 Sean Lane took over the coaching duties from the departing Aherne-Evans; the Strikers went on to create history by becoming the first side to win consecutive league titles in the National Premier Leagues Queensland era after a gripping battle with Gold Coast City FC. Postseason football however continued to be a thorn in the Strikers' side with the team losing their semi-finals in both 2016 and 2017 seasons.
As league winners in 2016 and 2017 the Strikers also qualified for the Australia wide National Premier Leagues finals series which sees the winner from each state federation compete in a knockout cup competition to be crowned national champions. After losing at the semi-final stage to eventual champions Sydney United 58 in 2016, the Strikers became the first Queensland side to make the Grand Final in 2017 where they hosted National Premier Leagues Victoria side Heidelberg United. Despite losing 2–0 it had proven a very successful two years for the Strikers.
Qualifying through the Brisbane zone for the national Round of 32 in 2014 the Strikers featured in a piece of Australian football history when its tie against Newcastle based club Broadmeadow Magic became the first live televised game of the new Cup competition; the Strikers won the game 2–1 but were eliminated in the Round of 16 after a 1–0 away loss to Adelaide City FC.
Once again the Strikers made it to the national stage of the FFA Cup in 2015 when the qualified for the Round of 32 from the Brisbane zone; however they suffered a heartbreaking 4–3 extra time defeat to Hume City FC.
The 2016 FFA Cup saw Brisbane Strikers qualify for the third successive time, this time drawing Darwin NorZone Premier League side Shamrock Rovers Darwin FC in the Round of 32. On 27 July 2016, the Strikers ran out 6–0 winners over Rovers Darwin in front of 1358 people at Darwin Football Stadium. In the Round of 16, Brisbane drew A-League side Melbourne City FC. In front of 3571 people at Perry Park, the Strikers' biggest crowd since their exit from the NSL, two Bruno Fornaroli penalties saw the A-League side progress, despite the Strikers taking the lead through Greig Henslee; the match also marked Tim Cahill's first game since arriving back in Australia, joining Melbourne City.
The Strikers next qualified for the Round of 32 in the 2019 FFA Cup, where they met Wellington Phoenix at Perry Park on August 7. In front of 1612 fans, the Strikers went 2–0 ahead through goals to Hiroki Omori and Andy Pengelly, before Wellington scored twice to equalise; the Strikers held on in extra time, thanks largely to goalkeeper Bon Scott, who saved an extra time penalty. Scott continued his heroics in the penalty shoot-out, which the Strikers won 4–3.
The Strikers qualified for the quarter finals for the very first time on August 29, 2019, when they defeated Manly United 1–0 in front of 1240 spectators at Perry Park  and drawing Moreland Zebras in the next round.
The Strikers defeated the Zebras 3-2 in front of 1915 at Perry Park on September 18, 2019, to become the first Queensland side to qualify for the FFA Cup semi finals, setting up a match with Melbourne City, they lost that match at Perry Park 1-5, in front of a post-NSL club record crowd of 3706.
- As of 18 September 2019
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Youth and Under-18s
Players who have represented their nation at senior level.
- Clint Bolton
- Rod Brown
- Nathan Coe
- Sean Cranney
- Frank Farina
- Glenn Gwynne
- Stephen Laybutt
- Jason Polak
- Alan Hunter
- Jon McKain
- Matt McKay
- Jade North
- Adam Sarota
- Matt Smith
- Shane Stefanutto
- Kris Trajanovski
- Kasey Wehrman
- Michael Zullo
Papua New Guinea
Ex-players who have gone on to coach national teams
- Karl Dodd
- Guam (2018–present)
- Frank Farina
- Stuart McLaren
- Scotland U/16 (2018–present)
- Gary Phillips
- Bruce Stowell (1994–96)
- Frank Farina (1996–98)
- John Kosmina (1999–2003)
- Stuart McLaren (2003–04; 2008–10)
- Kevin Aherne-Evans (2014–16)
- Mel Andreatta (U16/U18 2019–present)
- Grand Final Champions: 1996–97
- League Runners-Up: 1996–97
- Finalists (4): 1995–96, 1996–97, 2001–02, 2003–04
- Joe Marston Medal: Alan Hunter (1996–97)
- Johnny Warren Medal: Fernando Rech (2001–02)
- NSL U/21 Player of the Year: Kasey Wehrman (1996–97)
- Grand Final Runners-Up: 2017
- Premiers (2): 2016, 2017
- League Runners-Up: 2015
- Grand Final Runners-Up: 2015
- Golden boot: Andy Pengelly – 41 goals (2019)
- Premiers (2): 2009, 2012
- League Runners-Up (3): 2008, 2010, 2011
- Grand Final Runners-Up (4): 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
- Golden Boot: Matt Thurtell – 23 goals (2010)
- Premiers: 2006
- League Runners-Up: 2007
- Grand Final Champions: 2006
- Grand Final Runners-Up: 2007
- Champions: 2014
- Champions: 2006
- Champions (3): 2010, 2013, 2018
- Runners-Up (2): 2009, 2016
- Third-place play-off winner: 2019
Records (FFA Cup)
Biggest Win: Brisbane Strikers 10–1 Souths United (April 9, 2019 Fourth Round Preliminary)
Record Attendance: 3706 Brisbane Strikers vs Melbourne City FC (October 1, 2019 Semi Final)
- "Brisbane Strikers | The Brisbane Strikers". The Brisbane Strikers. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
- "Brisbane Strikers would make the grade in A-League insists chairman Bruce Atterton-Evans". adelaidenow.com.au. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
- Rugari, Vince (25 May 2017). "Brisbane Strikers officially in the race for an A-League licence". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
- "Brisbane Strikers – what could have been | FootballToday.news". footballtoday.news. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
- Atfield, Cameron (5 September 2018). "Brisbane needs a boutique stadium and the World Game can deliver it". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
- "Statement – A-League expansion | www.brisbanecityfc.com.au". www.brisbanecityfc.com.au. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
- "Sydney FC to meet Wollongong Wolves in FFA Cup Round of 32". SBS. 30 June 2016.
- "Westfield FFA Cup Round of 16 draw revealed". Football Federation Australia. 10 August 2016.
- Smith, Pete (8 August 2019). "Brisbane earns a 'cupset' double as the Roar and Strikers progress". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- Smith, Pete (29 August 2019). "Brisbane Strikers advance as Roar pay the penalty". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
- "Couriermail.com.au | Subscribe to The Courier Mail for exclusive stories". www.couriermail.com.au. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
- Jackson, Ed (1 October 2019). "Melbourne City demolish Brisbane Strikers to reach FFA Cup final". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
| NSL Champions