North ready to let the football do the talking
BRISBANE central defender Jade North has refused to engage in mind games before Sunday's A-League semi-final grudge match against Western Sydney at Pirtek Stadium, saying "our football will do the talking".
Wanderers forward Brendon Santalab labelled the Roar's comeback 2-1 win over the Victory last Friday night as "mediocre", adding the Queensland team looked "a little off".
Those comments could add fireworks to the grand final qualifier, to be played in front of a packed and highly-vocal crowd in Parramatta.
The teams have a fierce rivalry, with the 2014 championship-decider going to extra-time, the men in orange winning 2-1 at a sold-out Suncorp Stadium.
The Roar was not at its best and showed some nerves in the first half against a high-pressing Victory last week, before finally clicking into gear with two late goals.
But North said there would not be a repeat of that, and promised his teammates would not be put off by the Wanderers.
"I didn't even know he (Santalab) said that, but he's been around long enough to know we're a good side," North said.
"We do the talking with the football up here, so we don't need to say anything.
"We quite enjoy playing Western Sydney - it's a good rivalry, they're well coached and have a great support base down there.
"Bring it on."
While the Wanderers let in just 33 goals in the regular season - equal second-best in the competition - they also have plenty of attacking threats.
Santalab and Mitch Nichols have 10 goals each, Mark Bridge has nine, and Dutch international winger Romeo Castelen possesses plenty of speed, trickery and precision.
"I've watched a few of their games, and Mitch Nichols and Castelen have been in good form, so there are definitely players to watch," North's partner in central defence, James Donachie, said.
"But it's the same as the Victory last week - it's the top four now so you're going to have a good team no matter who you play."
North and Donachie are coming off contract, but both said they wanted to stay at the Roar.
At 34, North's career is winding down and, with the Roar's well-known financial difficulties at the start of this season, said a championship win would be a fairytale.
"We didn't have a training ground at the start of the season, so if we can get to the final and win it, that'll be a massive achievement," he said.
"It'll go down as one of my greatest moments.
"We've still got a long way to go, but you can always dream."