Best of the Press: New Roar coach’s ‘intense’ answer about to what to expect from him

A-Leagues reporter Nalin Mastou takes you through all the fixtures ahead of round five of the Liberty A-League 2023-24. dissects all the pre-weekend media activity across the Liberty A-League as Alex Smith gears up for his first game as Brisbane Roar coach and Jeff Hopkins provides an update on two of his injured stars.

New Roar coach details hectic schedule as he prepares for first game in charge

Alex Smith will take the reins for the first time as Brisbane Roar’s Liberty A-League senior head coach this weekend, when they face Western United on Sunday afternoon.

Smith was announced as the club’s new head coach following the departure of Garrath McPherson earlier this week, having previously worked at the Roar and Melbourne City as an assistant coach, along with managing NPL Queensland side Peninsula Power.

The former Wellington Phoenix midfielder was asked in his introductory press conference what we can expect from him in his first A-Leagues head coaching role.


“I’m pretty intense, I’m pretty serious,” Smith said.

“I try to be as professional as we can be within the circumstances; (I) played for a long time, so I really understand where the players are coming from, with a lot of things.

“So working hard, I’m up at four o’clock in the morning. I don’t leave here until 3-4 in the afternoon.

“A lot of hard work, a lot of on time on the pitch. I like to get involved and really be in with the girls while we’re training.”

Smith was working as Assistant Restaurant Manager at Spicers Retreat in Montville just prior to taking over as head coach.

“Look, it’s the football world here,” he said.

“You kind of have to do what you have to do if you don’t have a job, so it was great for what it was but this is where my passion lies and this is what I’m good at.

“(I’m) just looking forward to the next six months.”

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Victory coach provides injury update on star duo

Melbourne Victory boss Jeff Hopkins shed some light on injuries suffered to key duo Emma Checker and Emily Gielnik leading into their clash with Perth Glory on Saturday night.

Checker was a notable absentee from the 4-0 win over the Newcastle Jets and will miss again this week with a hamstring injury, but Hopkins is confident the Matilda won’t be out for long.

“She started to feel her hamstring late in the game against Adelaide,” Hopkins said.

“So we were pretty cautious with her, I think she’s not feeling it too much, it’s a little bit of a funny one. So we’ve got to just be a little bit cautious with her over the next week.

“She won’t play this weekend, but we’re confident it’s not a real long-term thing and we know the great professional that she is and she’ll do everything that she can to get herself back as as soon as possible.”

Gielnik – on the other hand – only lasted around 15 minutes last Sunday before coming from the field with a calf injury. The Matildas attacker has been named this week but Hopkins confirmed she won’t make the trip west to face the league leaders.

“Probably the big disappointment of from the game on the weekend was Em’s calf,” he said.

“She came on and made an instant impact in the second half and was amazing for 10 or 15 [minutes] and then just started to feel her calf tightening up.

“She was smart about it. She sat down straight away as soon as she felt it, so the damage that could have been caused with her playing on has been minimised.

“But again, short turnaround means that she won’t make it this weekend.”

‘Nix boss weighs in on why star wasn’t in the league last season

Wellington Phoenix’s hot start has been the talk of the town to begin the Liberty A-League season.

The Phoenix are currently in the midst of a club-best three-game winning streak, continuing a brilliant start to life under new coach Paul Temple.

Central to their fast start has been Macey Fraser, who has been one of the revelations of the season so far. Incredibly, these four games have been her first in the competition and Temple was asked why she wasn’t playing for the club last season.

“Ultimately, those are decisions made by people other than myself, so I can’t really say one way or the other as to what the reasons were or why,” he said.

“She’s always had great ability… but she has also been progressing a lot recently and I think is coming into some really good form at the moment and obviously has started the season very well.

“It’s always hard to say in hindsight whether the same thing could have happened a year or two ago. Who knows?

“All I’m kind of really focused on is she’s here now and she’s playing well and we’re just going to try and keep her momentum going.”

Wellington next face Central Coast Mariners to kick-off Round 5, who could hand a club debut to star goalkeeper Casey Dumont after signing for Emily Husband’s side last week.

“She’s a proven goalkeeper in this league,” Temple said of Dumont.

“She was pretty high profile in the in the final series last year, had some really standout performances for Victory, so it’s a big signing for them.

“We’re unsure if she’s going to play this weekend or not, it’s the second week in a row we’ve come up against a team that’s recruited a new goalkeeper… So we’re unsure.

“But we’ll obviously deal with that as and when we know what the answer is to where she plays.”