Call it the loss the A-League minor premiers Brisbane Roar had to have.
In what appeared to be a disastrous finals dress rehearsal, the Roar had their six-game unbeaten run snapped in Saturday night’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of defending champions Central Coast at Suncorp Stadium.
However, Roar coach Mike Mulvey sounded like a content man post-match claiming his runaway minor premiers were finally ready for a title tilt after getting the Mariners result “out of our system”.
Mulvey revealed the Roar now felt alive after enduring dead rubbers since clinching the Premiers Plate three weeks ago.
“The difficulty is we won the league by a street,” Mulvey said.
“We won it with three games to go and we have had three dead rubbers.
“I talked the talk saying we were going to go for wins – and we did – but it is very difficult to keep aggressive intensity when you know there is no real reward at the end of the night.
“But that’s out of our system now. We won’t lose two on the trot at home (in the finals).”
Two-time premiers Brisbane will host a semi-final on April 27 after finishing 10 points clear on top of the A-League ladder and earning a week off.
And at first Mulvey appeared to have plenty to reflect on in that time after the Mariners provided rivals a timely blueprint on how to dissect Brisbane.
The Roar dominated with 74 per cent possession and hit the woodwork twice but were caught on the counter-attack with goals to ex-Brisbane player Nick Fitzgerald (22nd) and Anthony Caceres (28th) proving the difference.
Still, Mulvey liked what he saw.
“I was quite impressed with our football,” he said.
“It was a frustrating night but we kept at it, and I love that about us.
“That’s what we are about. We are not going to alter how we play just to chase a result in a game where basically it is practice for us for the semi-finals.
“We were just a few degrees off at times. That won’t take much fixing.
“But we have two weeks of hard work, meticulous planning and preparation and we will come out firing against whoever we are playing in the semi-finals.”