Brisbane Strikers FC
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|Full name||Brisbane Strikers Football Club|
|2016||NPL Queensland, 1st|
Brisbane Strikers Football Club is an Australian semi-professional football club based in Brisbane, Queensland. Founded in 1994, the club competed in the National Soccer League until the 2003–04 season and was one of two clubs contending for an A-League licence during the establishment of the league in 2004. Brisbane Strikers currently competes in the National Premier League Queensland, with home matches played from Perry Park.
Brisbane's first representation in the National Soccer League (NSL) – (then known as the Philips Soccer League (PSL)) came from Brisbane City, who still play in the Brisbane competition, and Brisbane Lions. Brisbane City won the first two national knockout competitions, by defeating Marconi in 1977 and West Adelaide in 1978. Brisbane Lions won the knockout competition in 1981, also defeating West Adelaide. Brisbane City left the NSL in after the 1986 season and Brisbane Lions after the 1988 season.
The next Brisbane team in the NSL was Brisbane United, who played from 1991 to 1993. From their demise came the Brisbane Strikers in the 1994 season.
National Soccer League 1994–2004
Initially the Brisbane Strikers were owned by the Queensland Soccer Federation, which handed the running of the club to a Trust Management Group composed of Ian Brusasco ( a former President of the Queensland Soccer Federation and the Australian Soccer Federation), Dr Clem Jones (former Lord Mayor of Brisbane) and leading football official Frank Speare.
Coached by Bruce Stowell for three seasons, the Strikers steadily improved their position in the NSL pecking order, finishing fourth in 1995/96 to qualify for their first NSL finals appearance in which they lost a semi-final playoff over two legs to Sydney United.
But revenge was just around the corner in the most extraordinary of circumstances. In the 1996/97 season the Strikers were led by player-coach Frank Farina and finished second on the NSL ladder to Sydney United before going on to beat United in their semi-final to set up a home grand final – against the same team.
At a time when football was struggling for mainstream acceptance and credibility in Australia, NSL Grand Finals – the pinnacle of club football in Australia – generally drew crowds between 12,000 and 25,000. But the 1997 Grand Final, played at Lang Park in Brisbane, completely changed perceptions of football’s standing in Australia when it drew a capacity 40,446 spectators to watch the Brisbane Strikers beat Sydney United 2–0 with goals by Farina and Rod Brown.
This was a watershed moment for football in Australia but the Strikers struggled the next season, finishing twelfth. Nevertheless, a significant event in the history of the club occurred in 1998 when the QSF divested itself of its ownership, which passed to the Strikers Football Club Pty Ltd.
Scarcely three years after the club had played its part in Australian club football’s proudest moment it was dealt a savage blow when Soccer Australia, as part of a restructuring of the national competition, refused the Brisbane Strikers’ application for a place in the new league, citing financial reasons for doing so. This left the national league without a representative from the country’s third most populous state. Outrage ensued within Queensland and northern New South Wales, with politicians, supporters and the general public waging a vigorous campaign to have the club reinstated to the national league. This eventually convinced Soccer Australia to reverse its decision and grant the Strikers Football Club Pty Ltd a licence for the 2000/2001 season.
Back on the field, under coach John Kosmina, the Strikers justified the efforts of those who fought for their place in the national competition by finishing fourth and qualifying for the NSL finals against all the expectations of those south of the border. While eventual premiers, South Melbourne FC, prevailed over the Strikers in their two-legged semi-final, the Strikers had flown the flag for Queensland with honour.
The next season, however, saw the Strikers struggle again and led to the club parting ways with Kosmina. Despite a host of coaches showing interest in the vacancy, including some from overseas, the Strikers took the bold step of appointing 28-year-old club captain Stuart McLaren as head coach, assisted by Luciano Trani. Together the two formed an innovative combination, assembling a squad of unsung players from the local leagues and turning them into a team which took the club back into the 2003/04 NSL finals only to lose a memorable semi-final play-off to Adelaide United.
That season was the last for the NSL. A strong reform movement within the game in Australia had seen a new Soccer Australia Board appointed (which would change its name to Football Federation Australia) under the Chairmanship of Frank Lowy and the new governing body set about creating a new national competition called the A-League.
The Brisbane Strikers were a prime candidate for the Brisbane position in the new A-League that kicked off in mid-2005. Football Federation Australia boss Frank Lowy was quoted at the time saying that the two Brisbane bids were outstanding, but the reality was that only one team would make it.
The A-League decided to go with the Lions bid, who changed their name to the Queensland Roar, whose name changed once more to the present Brisbane Roar, maintaining their local link to the Lions, and ethnic links.
Brisbane Premier League 2005–2007
Determined to find an outlet to continue their philosophy of developing the talents of Queensland footballers, the Brisbane Strikers then joined forces with local Brisbane club North Star to field a team in the Brisbane Premier League. Coached by Bobby Hamilton, the new team qualified for the finals play-off in its first BPL season (2005) before falling to Palm Beach in a semi-final. However, in 2006 the Strikers carried all before them, winning the BPL championship, the Grand Final and the Premier Cup.
Another coaching change saw Craig Collins take on the player-coach role in 2007. It was an "almost" season for the Strikers, which saw them finish runners-up in the championship to Rochedale Rovers F.C., before losing a titanic struggle in the Grand Final to the same team by the scoreline of 5–4.
Queensland State League 2008–2012
With the Queensland State League due to commence in 2008 as part of Football Federation Australia and Football Queensland’s goal of enhancing career pathways across Queensland and providing a platform between the local and national competitions, the Strikers saw a position in the QSL as a natural "fit" with the club’s own player development ethos. Its application to join the new State competition was accepted and the club, once again under the coaching of Stuart McLaren, put its best foot forward on playing fields from Brisbane to Townsville in the inaugural QSL season. The Strikers finished second behind Sunshine Coast F.C. on the league table before hosting the Grand Final at Perry Park and losing to the same team.
The following (2009) season McLaren and his squad set themselves to the task of delivering on a pledge to "go one better". They did precisely that, clinching the QSL championship in the penultimate round of the competition after a tense season-long battle with Olympic FC. In doing so the Brisbane Strikers became one of the very few, if not the only football club in Australia, to have won trophies at local, state and national levels. However, the Strikers then lost in a Grand Final once again, going down 1–4 in a boilover result to Redlands City Devils, who had finished the season in fourth position on the QSL ladder.
The 2010 and 2011 campaigns took on a familiar path. With David Large taking on the coaching role from the departing McLaren the club finished both seasons in second position on the league table before going on to host the Grand Finals and losing each one by an identical scoreline, 1–0 to Sunshine Coast F.C.. The 2012 QSL proved to be a successful season for the club. The Strikers claimed their second QSL championship in five years in emphatic fashion, finishing eight points above second place Far North Queensland Bulls FC. However the Strikers finals curse struck yet again being eliminated in a home semi-final 2–0 to Whitsunday Miners FC.
National Premier Leagues Queensland 2013-present
Since 2013 the Strikers have competed in the National Premier Leagues Queensland, run by Football Queensland, the top tier state-level football (soccer) competition in Queensland, replacing the Queensland State League. The conference is a sub division of the National Premier Leagues. The league consists for 12 teams across Queensland.
In 2016, Brisbane Strikers qualified for the 2016 FFA Cup, drawing Darwin NorZone Premier League side Shamrock Rovers Darwin FC in the Round of 32. On 27 July 2016, the Strikers ran out 6–0 winners over Rovers Darwin in front of 1,358 people at Darwin Football Stadium. In the Round of 16, Brisbane drew A-League side Melbourne City FC. In front of 3,571 people at Perry Park, the Strikers' biggest crowd since their exit from the NSL, two Bruno Fornaroli penalties saw the A-League side progress, despite the Strikers taking the lead through Greig Henslee. The match also marked Tim Cahill's first game since arriving back in Australia, joining Melbourne City.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- Grand Final Champions: 1996–97
- League Runners-Up: 1996–97
- Finalists (4): 1995–96, 1996–97, 2001–02, 2003–04
- Premiers: 2016
- League Runners-Up: 2015
- Grand Final Runners-Up: 2015
- Premiers (2): 2009, 2012
- League Runners-Up (3): 2008, 2010, 2011
- Grand Final Runners-Up (4): 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
- Premiers: 2006
- League Runners-Up: 2007
- Grand Final Champions: 2006
- Grand Final Runners-Up: 2007
- National Round of 16: 2014, 2016
- National Round of 32: 2015
- Champions: 2014
- Champions: 2006
- Champions (2): 2010, 2013
- Runners-Up (2): 2009, 2016
Records (FFA Cup)
Biggest Win: Brisbane Strikers 7–1 Ipswich Knights FC (24 May 2014 Fifth Round Preliminary)
Record Attendance: 3,571 Brisbane Srikers vs Melbourne City FC (24 August 2016 Round of 16)
- "Brisbane Strikers would make the grade in A-League insists chairman Bruce Atterton-Evans". adelaidenow.com.au. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
- "Sydney FC to meet Wollongong Wolves in FFA Cup Round of 32". SBS. 30 June 2016.
- "Westfield FFA Cup Round of 16 draw revealed". Football Federation Australia. 10 August 2016.
-  Brisbane Strikers Senior Squad 2015