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Mar 28, 2012

Roar lap up rivalry with 'twin' Mariners

Brisbane Roar vice-captain Shane Stefanutto has likened A-League minor premiers Central Coast to a rival twin - one who brings out the best in the defending champions.

Despite the Mariners' wresting acquisition of the 2011-12 Premiers Plate, the Roar boast a dominant record against their closest challengers over the past two seasons.

In their nine matches, Central Coast have won only once while the Roar have five victories and forced three come-from-behind draws, including last season's memorable grand final when they triumphed on penalties after two goals in the final four minutes of extra time.

Stefanutto said the entire Roar squad was buoyed about meeting their toughest rivals in another play-off at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

"We're like twins now, nearly, we've met each other that much," he said.

"We have (had the wood on them). They've talked about maybe scars from the grand final so I guess we're in the back of their mind, and they're in the back of our's of course.

"It's great for the A-League that there is that competitiveness and rivalry between us at the moment, it's good for everyone."

Stefanutto freely admitted Central Coast, who finished two points clear of the Roar on the A-League table, deserved the minor premiership but the reigning champions want to show them who's boss.

"The best side will now be determined by who wins that grand final now," he said. "That's what will test us.

"A trophy is up for grabs and we let the first one slip so we want the next one."

To get to the grand final, it's imperative for Brisbane to win their opening home leg of the two-match major semi-final as they must travel to South Korea for an Asian Champions League match before the return leg in Gosford.

Stefanutto warned the Roar were back near peak form despite losing to FC Tokyo and drawing with Beijing Guoan in the ACL this month.

Central defender Mohamed Adnan remains in doubt for the Roar after the former Bahraini international tested his injured knee at training on Thursday morning.

Adnan appeared in some pain as he completed some fitness drills away from the main group but Stefanutto said the lanky centre-back would be given as much time as possible.

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