Roar to rally as fan favourite returns
BRISBANE Roar coach John Aloisi believes the return of three-time premiership star Henrique could be the catalyst for a strong finish to the A-League season.
The fan favourite, who left for Malaysia in 2016 and has had unsuccessful spells with Adelaide United and two Thiland clubs, re-signed with the club this week for the remainder of the season.
Henrique, who Roar fans nicknamed the 'Slippery Fish' during his first spell at the club, won three championships in Brisbane and scored the winning goal in the 2014 grand final win over Western Sydney Wanderers.
The 32-year-old, who became an Australian citizen in 2015, hasn't played a competitive match since June but Aloisi said he liked what he saw from the veteran striker, who is likely to be on the bench for today's must-win match against Newcastle Jets at Suncorp Stadium.
"I haven't seen Riki this motivated or sharp for a long time,” Aloisi said on Friday.
"We know what he can do when he's on fire.
"In my first season here, every time we were bringing him on as a sub, he just gave the crowd a lift and automatically, that gives the players a lift.
"Actually, I could see the opposition defenders, I wouldn't say (they were) scared but they knew what to expect from him.
"He loves the club, he loves being around this environment, he still believes we can make the finals and win. He was ticking all the right boxes for me.”
The coach expects the Roar supporters to welcome back Henrique with open arms if he gets a chance off the bench against the second-placed Jets.
The man himself, who knows he will be lacking match fitness after being out of action for so long, says he will give it his all if he gets an opportunity to add to his 34 goals in Roar colours.
"If a chance comes, I will do my very best. Every time I cross the white line, I will give 100%, I can promise that,” Henrique said.
"For me, every training session and game is important. I have to show what I can give to this team whenever I get the chance.
"My heart was always here, I always watched the games. It means a lot to be back here with this team, at this club in this city.”
Roar is currently in seventh spot on the A-League ladder, four points behind both the Wanderers and Melbourne Victory, who share fifth spot, just one win outside the top four.