Thomas Broich is set for a new role in the Brisbane Roar midfield that could see the reigning Johnny Warren Medallist have more influence.
The marquee man, more accustomed to wide positions under departed coach Ange Postecoglou, will be deployed as a deep-lying playmaker in central midfield for Sunday’s grand final replay against Perth Glory.
Broich will sit next to distribution king Erik Paartalu in front of the Roar defence and has been handed a ‘free role’ by new boss Rado Vidosic – meaning he will now have even greater scope to put his stamp on games and craft openings for the side’s new attackers, Ben Halloran and Do Dong-Hyun.
At 31, and having just penned a new four-year contract extension, the move also lifts the veil on how Brisbane intends to use him in the future.
Many creative players in the latter stages of their careers shift to a position deeper in midfield, which puts less emphasis on pace and affords them more time and space on the ball.
Broich looms as a prime candidate for this with Vidosic confident he can dictate terms against the Glory, and beyond.
“Thomas (will have) a free role. He’s playing (number) six, eight and 10,” Vidosic said.
“Last year he played a lot of games in wide areas, but we used him in the central area (on occasion) and especially those first six or seven rounds, he played in the centre.
“That was one of the reasons why I brought him in, because we were quite dominant in those rounds.
“I’m quite sure that he’s going to have a very influential game on Sunday.”
Vidosic vowed throughout the pre-season that Brisbane would be more direct in the final third and with Halloran and fellow young gun Nick Fitzgerald set to start on the wings against Perth – and Broich pulling the strings – the picture of how he intends to do so is becoming clearer.
“What we have in Erik and Thomas is basically two different styles of play,” captain Matt Smith said.
“We’ve been playing with two number sixes for quite a bit of the pre-season. It’s no real secret to Perth that we’re probably going to be starting with two number sixes.
“Erik’s very much sitting there to win battles and pass, while Thomas is creative and very good on the ball.”