Huysegems on high, Roar strike out with Berisha
Change will feel like a kick in the guts for Brisbane Roar fans today, but it has been a tonic for Wellington Phoenix striker Stein Huysegems.
The top of the table Roar were rocked yesterday by the news star striker Besart Berisha has signed a lucrative two-season deal with the Melbourne Victory.
The Albanian marksman will miss tomorrow night's A-League match against the Phoenix after being sent off last round against Perth, but his pending departure will be deflating for the Suncorp Stadium faithful.
Berisha has scored 41 goals in 65 games for Brisbane, including 21 in his debut season in 2011/12.
It's the sort of output Phoenix striker Huysegems looks capable of this season as he starts to live up to the hype that accompanied the Belgium international's arrival in Wellington last season.
The 31-year-old is the A-League's equal leading goal scorer with seven, including one during his side's 5-0 thrashing of the Melbourne Victory.
He makes no secret of the fact he's relishing the change of style instigated by new coach Ernie Merrick, who has taken over from long-term mentor Ricki Herbert.
"Of course if you score more goals it is nice for a striker, but I think it's just playing a more offensive style of football every game," Huysegems said yesterday.
"You are going to get two or three chances as a striker and that's a big difference from last year. If you know you will get a lot of chances, and the possibility to score every game, that's a nice feeling."
Not so nice was a lean run during his first season in the A-League.
"Of course it's difficult if you don't put the ball in the net. Last year I had a good start and then three or four months didn't put the ball in the net, so it was a difficult time. But you have to keep working and of course now in the last five games I've scored a lot of goals."
Huysegems said he always felt there was a lot of attacking potential in the squad.
"I think so. We were already playing some good football at the start of the season, but not taking the points."
The Phoenix were "not afraid to lose games" and were playing with a lot of confidence, he said.
Huysegems expects to be asked to fill the role of absent Costa Rican international Carlos Hernandez against the Roar and is looking forward to the challenge.
"Demanding the ball a lot, be always available for the team to create something and do your defensive job also," he said of the likely job description.
Huysegems believed the Phoenix could have won both of their previous matches against the Roar this season, 2-1 home losses in week one and week 10, and sees no reason they can't upset the league leaders on their home track.