Brisbane within bull’s roar of Premier's Plate
John Aloisi's Brisbane Roar might be just one win away from the A-League premiership, but it was only in the pre-season when many doubted his players would come anywhere near silverware in 2016.
That was after the Roar had come off a lacklustre 2014/15 season, when it only made the first week of the finals because Perth was penalised for breaking the salary cap.
And many questioned whether Aloisi would be a success in his new coaching role, after his poor winning rate at the Melbourne Heart led to him being sacked in late 2013.
That's not to mention the financial trouble the Roar was in before this season, when players and staff were not paid on time, which has since been rectified.
Aloisi has been a positive leader since he took over in difficult circumstances.
It is fitting he has the opportunity to coach his team to a Premiers' Plate against the Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park tonight - the venue where he endured so much heartache as coach of the misfiring Heart.
"Everyone's been written off at this football club," he said. "At the beginning everyone was saying 'what are the Brisbane Roar going to be like this year?'
"And the boys have proved everyone wrong."
Roar captain Matt McKay said winning the premiership this season would be right up there with the three championships the club had won, because of all the obstacles the players and staff have overcome in recent times.