Fowler demands fast start from Roar

Ed Jackson
Brisbane coach Robbie Fowler has demanded his players show more urgency early in A-League games

Brisbane's players are being told it's up to them to find the spark to end their run of slow A-League starts.

The Roar host Central Coast at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday as the only team in the competition yet to score in the first half of a match in 2019-20.

Their solitary win against Melbourne City a fortnight ago was a 4-3 comeback after being 2-0 down at the break.

And it seems last weekend's loss to Wellington, where the previously winless Phoenix used Steven Taylor's 10th minute opener to set them on their way to a 2-1 win, was the final straw for Roar coach Robbie Fowler.

"Let's face it, it's taken us to a go a goal down, two goals down before we start," Fowler said.

"That can't happen all the time. We know we need to do better in certain areas and that's one of them.

"A lot of it is the players. We can give them as much motivational talk as we want, as much tactics as we want but as soon as they cross over the white line on to the pitch then it's up to them."

The Roar have just one win and two draws from six matches so far but Saturday's game will be just their second at Suncorp Stadium this season.

Defender Scott Neville accepts Fowler's challenge and is hopeful a return to Suncorp will be the moment the Roar find their form.

"We need to start bright and we need to start sharp," Neville said.

"Hopefully this can be the game which really kickstarts our season and propels us into the new year."

The Mariners, who haven't beaten the Roar in their past 15 A-League encounters, head north buoyed by their first clean sheet in 39 A-League matches in their 1-0 win over Western United last weekend.

New recruit Jair won't travel as he builds up his match fitness but otherwise the Mariners head to Brisbane with an unchanged squad while the Roar are are also untroubled by injury.

KEY MATCH STATS

* Brisbane haven't lost in their past 15 A-League matches against the Mariners, winning 11 and drawing four of those games.

* Central Coast will be looking to keep back-to-back clean sheets for the first time in the A-League since November 2017 following last weekend's 1-0 win over Western United.

* Brisbane are the only team in the competition without a first half goal, with their 0-0 draw against Western Sydney the only match they haven't trailed in so far this season.