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Apr 11, 2012

Roar play down Berisha's absence

A quick glance at Brisbane Roar's training session on Thursday showed just how much their nightmare schedule had taken its toll.

But Roar playmaker Thomas Broich believes it should play into their hands ahead of the A-League grand final.

The Roar were the first to admit they were "rusty" as they went through the motions on Thursday despite a couple of days rest after booking a second straight grand final appearance.

However, the biggest concern was what the Roar didn't see at training - strike weapon Besart Berisha.

While Broich played down Berisha's absence, he conceded a schedule that was showing no signs of slowing down had left the team "run down".

And he wouldn't have it any other way.

Still buzzing from taking out the Johnny Warren Medal this week, Broich hoped juggling the Asian Champions League with a title defence would have them primed for April 22's domestic decider.

They host Ulsan Hyundai in the ACL on Tuesday night - and five days later the A-League grand final.

Berisha's absence was a concern after the Albanian international admitted he was "struggling" following Sunday's 3-2 major semi-final second leg win over Central Coast at Gosford - their third game in nine days.

And that run of matches included a 1-1 draw in South Korea against Ulsan Hyundai.

But Broich said of Berisha on Thursday: "It's just a cold. We've got plenty of time to fix that.

"We were all pretty run down after the trip (to Gosford) - everyone was a bit rusty today.

"To have two weeks without a game is probably not the best - it (busy schedule) might be good for us.

"It (ACL clash) is a great warm-up game for us.

"It's a big game every week now and that's what you want. It's really exciting."

Broich considered the re-match with Ulsan Hyundai a must-win for their ACL hopes - they currently sit bottom of Group F after three games.

"We've not only got the grand final but also a Champions League game in which we still have a great chance," Broich said.

"But we need a win there and then we can start thinking about the grand final.

"We need to win and if we do we are back in the competition."

The Roar will play the winner of Saturday night's Central Coast-Perth Glory preliminary final.

"It would be nice to play someone different for a change but Central Coast deserve to be there again - but it makes no difference to me," Broich said of a grand final opponent.

Broich was a surprise Johnny Warren Medal winner considering he played 17 of the Roar's 27 games due to injury.

But he was not surprised he was one of four foreigners to take out the prize in the A-League's seven seasons.

"That's the way it should be. If you bring in foreign players they should have something special about them - they don't bring in average players right?" he said.

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