Benched Maclaren not punished for contract stance, club insists

Brisbane Roar have categorically denied that they are putting pressure on coach John Aloisi to 'punish' striker Jamie Maclaren for refusing to sign a new contract.


Jamie Maclaren is in a contract dispute with Brisbane Roar Source: Getty Images

Maclaren has rejected an offer from the club that had been described by his agent as "disgusting and disrespectful" and an impasse has ensued.

Maclaren, one of the brightest prospects of Australian football, was relegated to the bench for Brisbane's last two A-League matches against Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix and came on as a substitute on both occasions.

Maclaren's omission from the starting line-up has caused ripples around the A-League and it prompted suggestions that the player was being punished for his stance.

It also has been suggested that Aloisi is under pressure from 'upstairs' to drop Maclaren as the game of brinkmanship goes on.

His contract is up at the end of the season.

Brisbane boss Mark Kingsman has denied the claims.

"I am managing director and chief executive of Brisbane Roar and I can tell you that I'm not telling John who to pick," Kingsman said.

"I have neither the experience nor the expertise to do so and I have no influence on team selection whatsoever so I categorically deny these claims. There is no truth in them at all.

"I have no influence on which player he signs apart from the financial point of view.

"And it's John's job to pick the best possible team to give it the best chance to win a football match and achieve what you want to achieve and that is our focus. Team selection is the coach's decision."

Kingsman said Maclaren's omission was just part of Aloisi's attempt to rediscover the team's winning formula after a run of poor results.

"If something is not working well you do not persist with it," he said.

"The media had been calling for changes when we hit a rough patch and when John made the changes they are now questioning the reason behind those changes."

Brisbane are lying fourth on the A-League ladder, 16 points behind runaway leaders Sydney FC but have been buoyed by the release of crowd figures for the first 14 rounds of the season.

Brisbane have recorded the highest crowd increase of all A-League clubs from last season.

"The overall attendance in the A-League has gone up by 2.3 per cent but our home crowds have increased by 29 per cent," Kingsman said.

"We are bucking the trend and we have gone from last season's average of 12,400 for the first 14 matches to 15,800 which proves that our fans still believe in the team. It's certainly not doom and gloom.

"Look at Sydney. Their average for the first half of last year was 16,800, this year it's 15,500."

Brisbane are bracing for three crucial home matches in a week that could have a major bearing on the outcome of their season.

Appropriately dubbed the 'festival of football', Brisbane will play Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday and Sydney the following Friday as they seek to consolidate their push for a spot in the finals.

In between Brisbane entertain the winners of Tuesday night's AFC Champions League playoff between Global FC of the Philippines and Singapore's Tampine Rovers in a one-off decider for the right to play in the competition proper.

Brisbane are offering a special package for fans whereby they get to watch the ACL playoff for free if they buy a ticket for the two A-League matches.

"That's our festival of football promotion that should define our season. We can either cement our position in the six or else drop out," Kingsman said.

"It's a three-game package with the price of two. It's an opportunity for us to give something back to our fans."

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4 min read
Published 24 January 2017 at 4:06pm
By Philip Micallef
Source: SBS