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Jan 12, 2013

Mulvey sure Roar will make A-League finals

Far from the side that roared to back-to-back championships, Brisbane's A-League title defence took another hit as they whimpered to yet another loss.

But new coach Mike Mulvey remains certain they are still finals contenders despite continuing their stop-start season with a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.

It was Mulvey's fifth match in charge of the Roar after he took over from Rado Vidosic in late December.

And while there are signs the reigning champions are turning their form around, the loss to the Jets - their ninth defeat in 16 matches - indicates there is still some way to go before they can get back in the title hunt.

"The club is going through a period of change - there is no doubt about it," Mulvey admitted.

"There was a malaise following the grand final wins and there is going to be some short-term pain before long-term gain.

"To be talking about third in a row is a ridiculous thing to be talking about now because we're at the other end of the table."

The Roar were outplayed by the Jets for the first hour and conceded a soft goal to Ryan Griffiths just two minutes after halftime.

The loss leaves them sitting in eighth spot while the Jets climb to fifth.

But so congested is the ladder, the Roar are within one win of the top six.

"At the moment, we don't deserve to be thought of as finals contenders," Mulvey said.

"We've won two, we lost two and, if we go on like that, we might just squeak into the finals.

"We don't want to limp in there - we want to be in there with a bang.

"But there's no doubt in my mind whatsoever that we'll make the finals.

"We've got quality here - there's no doubt about that.

"What we need to make sure is that everybody is on the same page and we need to have a complete performance from 11 very committed players."

Brisbane will receive a timely boost with Socceroo defender Jade North, who they picked up in the transfer window, able to play from next week.

North, who finished his season with Japanese club Consadole Sapporo five weeks ago, trained with the Roar in Newcastle on Saturday morning and watched them take on his former side at Hunter Stadium.

But while Mulvey says his versatility will be a huge asset, his lack of recent match practice means he won't be rushed into the struggling side.

"He's played for Australia across the whole backline so he can play in any one of the four positions along there plus he can also play in midfield," Mulvey said.

"So he's very versatile plus he's very experienced.

"He's excited about joining us and he's looking forward to rolling his sleeves up and doing his best for the club."

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