This weekend, December 4 2016 will mark five years since the end of Brisbane Roar’s historic 36 game unbeaten streak.
Their run narrowly broke the record of 35 for the most consecutive games without a loss in Australian top level sport which was set by the Eastern Suburbs rugby league club in the 1930s. Led by Australia’s current head coach Ange Postecoglou, Brisbane Roar were a goal machine, never going a game without scoring for a total of 84 over the course of their unbeaten run.
To mark the anniversary, FourFourTwo traced the fortunes of the squad members in the years since…
Goalkeeper Michael Theo was key to Brisbane Roar’s unbeaten run. Playing every minute of every game except for 10 minutes when he came off to give Andrew Redmayne some experience in goal he made himself an instant hero with a multitude of man of the match performances and key saves to keep the unbeaten streak alive. His heroics unsurprisingly earned him the Goalkeeper of the Year award for the 2010/11 A-league season.
The win had special significance for Theo, coming on his return from the UK after an embarrassing spell with Norwich City in League One. After signing for the East Anglian side following a title-winning season at Melbourne Victory, he conceded seven goals on his Norwich debut…and his UK career was over before it even began.
After his return to Australia, he later shortened his name from Theoklitos to just Theo having once again proved himself between the sticks for Brisbane.
These days Theo is still the main man between the sticks for Brisbane Roar, despite injury ruling him out for the majority of the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons. Theo, 35, has since made a full recovery and has started every game of the 2016/17 season. Although under some pressure and only being on contract till the end of the 2016/17 season, Theo believes he will be able to find his best form and continuing playing into his 40s.
Winning three titles in his four seasons at Roar, Matt Smith will always be regarded as one of Brisbane’s greats, ultimately taking the skipper’s armband. Coming from North Queensland Fury, he was a key signing during coach Postecoglou clear out phase of the the old guard at Roar to create Brisbane’s unbeatable squad. One of just three players who featured in every game Brisbane played during the streak, the Australian international was key to Roar’s strong back line.
After four years at Brisbane, Smith, now 34, found himself in Thai First division playing for Bangkok Glass. Moving late in December of 2014 for an undisclosed fee Matt Smith has played almost every game for the now title contending team.
Franjic, now 29, was one of Brisbane’s first choice fullbacks, playing in 28 of Roar’s 36 unbeaten games after joining the Queensland side from Oakleigh Cannons in 2009. With speed and great ball skills down the flank, he soon earned a call up to the Australia squad, making his debut in December of 2012.
After a five year stint at Brisbane, Franjic was signed by newly promoted Russian Premier League side FC Torpedo Moscow on a three year deal in 2014. But in April 2015, Franjic left the club after only four appearances in a row over unpaid wages. He was quickly picked up by Melbourne City and in between a series of nagging injuries, is first choice for the right back slot.