Thursday 24 February 2011
by Michelle Tobin
Defender Matt Smith has lauded Brisbane Roar’s loyal supporters as instrumental to the club’s success this season as the team prepares for the second leg of the Hyundai A-League major semi final against Central Coast Mariners at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
An impressively large number of travelling supporters turned out at Bluetongue Stadium on the weekend to see their team take a 2-0 lead in the first leg of the major semi final and Smith was overwhelmed at their unwavering dedication to the cause.
“It was fantastic, I wasn’t expecting that many to come down and we certainly heard them loud and clear throughout the game,” Smith said.
“Just their support and loyalty to come down to Gosford and support us down there was fantastic so I just hope we can get another big crowd at home this weekend.”
The memory of their most recent home fixture against Gold Coast United, where over 20,000 passionate fans turned up to watch the 4-0 drumming of their local rivals and see the club collect the Premiers’ Plate, was on Smith’s mind as he looked ahead to the return leg.
He said he hoped that even more would be present at the Milton stadium on Saturday night, saying their support was invaluable as they chased the rights to host this year’s Hyundai A-League grand final.
“The 20,000 people at Suncorp Stadium, they make it sound like 50,000,” he said.
“If we can build on that this weekend against the Mariners, it’s going to be a fantastic atmosphere.
“It definitely helps us and aids us as our twelfth man because they sing from the moment we start warming up to the moment the final whistle goes.
“They definitely give us that second wind when they need it sometime.”
While Smith’s arrival at the Roar has happily coincided with Brisbane’s best ever finish to a Hyundai A-League season, the solid central defender recognised many of the club’s faithful fans had stuck through the side’s ups and downs since the league’s inception.
With that in mind, Smith said the team would not let the chance to book a place in this year’s grand final slip away easily.
“It’s been a long season and we’re into the last little bit,” the 28-year-old said.
“It’s something we’ve been working towards for a long time and potentially only two games to go, so fingers crossed.
“It certainly wasn’t easy on the weekend, the Mariners had their chances so it’s not something we’re about to get complacent about.”
Brisbane Roar host Central Coast Mariners in the second leg of the Hyundai A-League major semi-final on Saturday 26 February at Suncorp Stadium. Kick off for the match is at 7pm.