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Roar out to break Jets hoodoo

12 February 2014-SBS: Greg Prichard

Ivan Franjic has his sights on breaking an unwanted hoodoo against Newcastle Jets

Motivation... Ivan Franjic has his sights on breaking an unwanted hoodoo against Newcastle Jets. (Getty)

Brisbane Roar has already dealt with one bogey team this season - Melbourne Heart. Now it plans to deal with another - Newcastle Jets.

While it will have to make do without midfield aces Matt McKay and Liam Miller, Roar star Ivan Franjic said the runaway competition leader is going to "come out all guns blazing" against the Jets at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

McKay is still troubled by a lingering ankle injury while Miller is suspended, although their absence is covered by the return of Steve Lustica.

Newcastle is in the horrors at the moment, having lost five and drawn two of its last seven games to fall from a seemingly solid position in the top six to ninth.

Its last win was against Brisbane - 2-0 at Suncorp Stadium on 20 December. It also beat Roar in the other clash between the two teams this season. That was at Hunter Stadium on 17 November, when the score was 2-1.

In fact, Newcastle has won three and drawn one of the last four clashes between the two teams.

It looks, at least on paper, like Newcastle is Brisbane's Kryptonite and when asked about that Franjic didn't try to sugar-coat the results. But, he added, Roar believes it is about to turn that run around.

"They've got two wins against us this season and the 2-0 loss last time was particularly disappointing from our point of view," Franjic said.

"But come Sunday we'll be ready and hopefully we'll put in a lot better performance than last time.

"They're our bogey team, but I think Heart was our bogey team for a couple of years and we broke that run, so we're going to try to do it again with the Jets.

"We're just going to concentrate on ourselves and getting back to the attacking football we're known for playing and we're going to come out all guns blazing."

Heart had three wins, two draws and a loss in its six games against Roar during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, but in their only clash so far this season Roar prevailed 3-0.

Statistics show how out of whack Roar's results against Jets this season are. Roar has scored 33 goals in 18 games overall, but just one goal in two games against the Jets. It has conceded 16 goals in those 18 games, but four in two against the Jets.

Franjic said that, sometimes, there was no apparent rhyme or reason as to why one team experienced a good run against another team that was against the overall run of form for both.

"Football's a funny game and that's the beauty of the game sometimes," he said. "We struggled to beat Heart for a while as well.

"But obviously we want to break the losing streak against Newcastle and there is no better way to do it than in front of our home fans at Suncorp.

"The way to do it is by us concentrating on ourselves and how we're going to play - our attacking football and our philosophy.

"We're always focused on ourselves, because we know that if we play the best we can then that will make it very hard for the opposition to beat us.

"We'll respect the opposition on Sunday. They've got good players - players that can hurt you from anywhere on the field - and this competition has shown that any team is capable of beating any team on their day.

"But, while we pay the opposition that respect, we like to play our football - our attacking football and our possession-based game.

"We'll try to get on top of them early. I'm sure if we do, the result will go our way." Franjic, a current member of the Socceroo squad, is arguably the most versatile player in the A-League.

He often gets moved around in the Roar team to cover for injured or suspended players, or for tactical reasons, and does it without hesitation or complaint.

Asked how many different positions he had played in this season, Franjic had to take a moment to count them up before answering: "Seven."

Asked which positions he hadn't played, since that would be the shorter answer, he replied: "Central striker, goalkeeper, left back and left centre-back. I've played everything else at some stage.

"It doesn't hurt to be flexible. The boys joke around at training, asking me 'where are you going to play this week?' It's all good. We've had a few injuries this year and a few players have been shuffled around, so whatever the coach believes is best for the team I'm happy.

"The main thing is that we win on the weekend."

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