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Mar 28, 2013

Roar ready for A-League title defence

The champagne has been kept on ice by Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey despite ensuring the once battling Roar can launch an A-League title defence.

But Mulvey is planning to celebrate - after the A-League grand final.

Two-time champions the Roar locked up a playoff spot with a deserved 3-1 win over Sydney FC in their regular season finale at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.

The victory capped a remarkable rise since Mulvey took over from Rado Vidosic as interim coach in late December with the Roar one point clear of dead last.

And it put Sydney FC's finals hopes on life support as they sweat on other results to scrape into the sixth and last playoff spot.

However, Mulvey wasn't in the mood to party - yet.

Asked if the Roar could claim an unprecedented third straight title, a steely-eyed Mulvey said: "Certainly.

"We just had a little chat in there (dressing room). We are focused. We are ready."

The Roar's title defence appeared in tatters when Mulvey took the helm after 11 rounds.

And Mulvey had hardly silenced the critics when he was surprisingly re-signed for two more seasons after 10 games in charge boasting a modest 30 per cent success rate.

But Mulvey had his eyes firmly on the prize after the Roar sealed their eighth straight home win over Sydney FC.

"What we don't want to do is start thinking it is cigars and champagne because it certainly isn't," he said.

"We still have our moments when we don't stick to the game plan and we invite the opposition back into the game.

"But to me that is a positive because it is something I can drive home before our next game."

Instead of champagne, Mulvey said he would enjoy "a couple of cups of tea" and watch as the make-up of the rest of the finals unfolded over the Easter weekend.

Sydney FC coach Frank Farina would have been forgiven for having mixed emotions in his first game back at Suncorp Stadium since being sacked as Roar coach in 2009.

But Farina felt only regret after Besart Berisha and Steven Lustica made Sydney FC pay for clumsy turnovers before Ivan Franjic's brilliant 79th minute curling strike sealed the result.

"We gift wrapped the first two goals ... just schoolboy errors from us," he said.

On his "homecoming", Farina said: "That's more media talk. It was a long time ago.

"It is always nice coming up here, it's a fantastic stadium and my family are still up here.

"But in terms of emotion, my employers are Sydney FC."

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