Roar 'keeper unfazed by Brosque, Juninho

January 25, 2008
By Philip Henderson

Queensland goalkeeper Griffin McMaster has set up an intriguing showdown in the second leg of the A-League minor semi-final after claiming Sydney FC's strike force held little fear for the Roar's last line of defence.

The A-League rookie, who was playing Queensland State League only a few months ago, kept the Roar on even terms in their elimination bout after a man-of-the-match performance in the first leg 0-0 draw at Sydney Football Stadium on Friday.

McMaster said he felt "10-foot tall" after twice coming up trumps when one-on-one against former Roar striker Alex Brosque early in the second half.

He then claimed to know Brosque's "game inside out" while saying not even Brazilian star Juninho had him cracking a sweat in just his fourth A-League game.

"To be honest, Alex Brosque was at the Roar in version one and I trained against him for the duration of the season, so you could probably say I knew his game inside out," said McMaster.

"They played one up front with Alex Brosque and I just didn't feel any sweat or any bother about coming up against him.

"It doesn't matter if it's Juninho, anybody, I feel like I can stop whoever is coming up against me."

The 23-year-old's performance came less than a week after his worst game for the Roar when his early blunder saw Queensland fall behind and eventually lose 2-0 to Adelaide and drop from first to fourth on the ladder.

"Obviously you ask a few questions about yourself, whether you're capable of playing at this level," McMaster said.

"We looked at it during the week and never spoke about it again, moved on from it and obviously this was a big opportunity for me to prove myself at this level.

"These are the finals series, these are the nights in Australian football you want to perform well in.

"Finals are about stepping up that extra five per cent, playing in front of a big crowd, you just get this aggression inside of you to make a save, and you just get pumped about it.

"When Alex Brosque was one-on-one on with me just outside the 18-yard box, I just said to myself `I'm going to stop this', and I don't normally use those words, but he probably put it where he shouldn't and I just felt 10 foot tall out there after that."

While McMaster would have given coach Frank Farina a few heart palpations as he rushed out of his box on several occasions Friday, the Roar boss may yet have a tough decision to make for the return leg at Suncorp Stadium on February 8 with No.1 `keeper Liam Reddy scheduled to return from a thumb injury,

More pressing for Farina, though, will be finding a way to break down Sydney's defences.

The Roar have not scored in all four games against Sydney this season.

"The most disappointing thing for me was a lot of our decision making in the final third or when we were breaking," Farina said.

"Before the game we would have accepted that (the draw) more than Sydney would have.

"I'll take the result, I'm not over the moon about it, but still there's everything to play for both sides.

"We've got a lot to work on, for sure, but I'd say the same thing for Sydney."