Roar keeper unsung hero in winning streak
BRISBANE Roar goalkeeper Jamie Young has come a long way since his infamous row with teammate Shane Stefanutto following a goal during the defeat by Melbourne City at Suncorp Stadium back in 2014.
After that game the Roar had lost its first four games of its title defence, with English-born Young getting a lot of the blame for the team's poor performances.
Then, as he is now, Young was standing in for the injured Michael Theo.
Theo was set to play for the Roar youth team yesterday as he looks to return from a quad injury which has kept him out for most of this season.
The most successful player in the A-League's history with five titles under his belt for the Roar and Melbourne Victory,
Theo missed a lot of the last campaign with a wrist injury and while he has a lot more experience than Young, he is not guaranteed to get his place back when fully fit - and nor should he be.
Young deserves to keep his spot after turning his Roar career around at the back end of last season and the start of this one.
The 30-year-old kept seven clean sheets last season and has had four more this campaign.
Young has been one of the successes of the campaign for John Aloisi, alongside strikers Jamie Maclaren and Brazilian-born Henrique, but somehow seems to be at the back of the queue when it comes to getting plaudits from commentators.
But Aloisi knows just how important Young has been to his team, especially in the four-game winning streak which has taken the Roar to the top of the A-League table.
While Maclaren's goals have helped the Roar move forward, Aloisi realises the keeper's performances have been just as key.
Young proved his worth in Saturday's night's 2-1 win over Perth Glory, a game which the Roar could have quite easily lost were it not for its custodian.
He made more than 10 saves, including a crucial one-on-one stop to keep out Josh Risdon at 2-1 with five minutes remaining.
Aloisi said having Young and Theo to choose from was a good situation to be in, and he was full of praise for Young after his performance against Perth.
"At one-on-ones he's one of the best in the league," the Roar coach said.
"The way we play we can get caught in behind and it's good to have someone who can save those one-on-one chances.
"We needed him today and he stood up.
"With every team you need a good goalkeeper and I'm lucky to have two good goalkeepers.
"It's a good headache to have."
With Maclaren, Brandon Borello and James Donachie now on Olyroos qualifying duties in Qatar, Aloisi knows how tough it will be to keep the run going and a good keeper is vital when the goals might not be flowing in at the other end.
The Roar faces Phoenix and Melbourne Victory on the road before Adelaide at home in the next three weeks.
Young will be hoping he has done enough to keep his place.
I certainly think he has.