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Jan 14, 2013

Roar banishes Paartalu, welcomes North

The official arrival of Socceroo Jade North at the Brisbane Roar coincided with Erik Paartalu's banishment as the A-League premiers prepared for his likely departure to China.

Roar coach Mike Mulvey on Tuesday told 2011 grand final hero Paartalu he must train with the club's National Youth League ranks until his future is decided.

Paartalu appears to have played his last game for the Roar.

The towering defensive midfielder - who has started 85 straight games for the Roar since his 2010 arrival - is expected to announce a lucrative two-year Chinese Super League deal this week.

Mulvey's call came days after maintaining his faith in Nick Fitzgerald despite the exciting winger signing a two-year deal with the Central Coast starting next season.

Paartalu's absence almost overshadowed the presence of North who underwent a fitness test while his new teammates trained on Tuesday.

North has been injected into a Roar side that sits one point clear of dead-last Wellington on the A-League ladder due to nine losses in 16 games.

A question mark over Paartalu's future only adds to the pressure ahead of the Roar's tough home game against in-form Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday.

North - whose most recent club stint was in December for Japanese outfit Consadole Sapporo - hoped to be the catalyst Brisbane needed to turn their season around.

"Hopefully I bring something different to the team. If it is a bit stale hopefully I can freshen things up a bit by just having a different personality around the training room or on the pitch," North said.

"(And) players come and go, it's part of football - we are all professional.

"Everything they need is here. They have won back to back (titles). They just need to grab it by the scruff of the neck and show who the true champions are."

North - who started his career at NSL club Brisbane Strikers aged 16 - believed the Roar's slump under new coach Mulvey came down to confidence.

"I don't think they are struggling," he said.

"I have kept close tabs on the A-League in Japan and Brisbane have been dominating games but they have been unlucky in front of goal.

"The right make-up is there. They just need to get the confidence back in the group."

North hoped to be available for the Roar on Sunday.

"I've come out of the J-League season, I've been on holidays, so I need to do whatever I can as fast as I can to get myself fit," he said.

"I'm always ready to get back on the park. But you can't be silly and try to come back when you're not 100 per cent condition-wise.

"That's how you can get injured."

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