Lustica: Roar full of confidence

Brisbane midfielder Steven Lustica has dispelled concerns that the Roar has been disadvantaged having a week off and says his team is full of confidence heading into Sunday’s A-League decider.

The Roar claimed the Premier’s Plate in round 24 with a 1-0 defeat over Melbourne Victory, but won just one of its three remaining matches left in the regular season. The Premiers sat out week one of the finals and then beat Victory 1-0 in a very tight match at Suncorp Stadium.

In contrast Western Sydney have not lost in the A-League since March 8 against Sydney FC, recording four wins and two draws. The Wanderers have also notched four victories and just one loss in the Asian Champions League since the start of March. 

Lustica said: “I think our last game showed that the week off did us a world of good.

“There were questions there but I think we backed it up pretty well against Melbourne Victory on the weekend and we’ll be even better after this game leading up to this weekend, even more full of confidence.”

Lustica said his Roar teammates are excited about the Grand Final and know how to beat the Wanderers, after emerging with a home win and two away draws against Tony Popovic’s men in the regular season. 

“We’ve been working for the past, however many weeks now, towards the finals because obviously we had three games left before the end of the season when we knew we had won the league,” he said. 

“So all the preparations went towards preparing for the finals series and now we’ve got a positive result against Melbourne Victory we’re excited for the Grand Final.

“Western Sydney have got their own style of play but we’ve played them three times this season and we’ve had three positive results so we’re aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

“For us it’s just about our game and making sure we’re firing and we’re all ready for it.”

Lustica spent half of the 2012-2013 A-League season on loan with the Roar before joining Adelaide United on a one-year contract.

He made 15 appearances for the Reds before securing a surprise mid-season move back to Brisbane in February.

The 23-year has primarily featured off the bench for the Roar, coming on in the second-half of matches to replace Liam Miller or Luke Bratton and is likely to start on the bench again on Sunday.

“I knew arriving half-way through the season to a team coming first it wasn't going to be that straight-forward to break in,” he said. 

“I knew there were a lot of quality players so I was prepared for that. I’m training every day as hard as I can and hopefully I can contribute when I get my chance.

“We’ve got this last game now and hopefully we can finish on a good note.”

The former Young Socceroo said he is happy to be back in Brisbane and reunited with Mike Mulvey, who he played under at the now defunct Gold Coast United.

“I’m back at the Roar, I think it’s the best football team in Australia for the last few years and I’m happy to be part of it,” he said. 

“I love Brisbane, the football and the lifestyle. My focus is now just to help the Roar win the Grand Final.

“We have a great team, a fantastic coaching staff - Mike Mulvey has a great philosophy on how football should be played and this season’s results confirm he’s a fantastic coach.”

Lustica enjoyed a dream run under Mulvey in Gold Coast’s title-winning National Youth League team picking up a premiership (2010/11) and two championships (2010 and 2011)

“We've had a lot of success together and hopefully it can continue,” he said.