Fowler roars in as McKay says goodbye
Goodbye Matty, hello Robbie.
As Roar captain and club legend Matt McKay plays the last game of his career on Thursday against Adelaide United, new Brisbane coach Robbie Fowler will be unveiled to fans at Suncorp Stadium.
While Fowler's tenure hasn't officially started, he will be watching from the stands as a host of off-contract Roar players try to excite him and earn a deal for next season.
McKay won't be one of them, having last week announced his decision to retire.
But there's no doubt 36-year-old McKay wants to go out on a winning note, particularly after the Roar's disastrous season.
In a bonus for McKay, he will be restored to his favoured midfield after having been forced to play as a central defender in recent weeks due a host of injuries and suspensions that have cruelled the Roar.
With Jacob Pepper returning from suspension to play in the centre of defence alongside Ruon Tongyik, McKay will start in the centre of the park as part of a three-man midfield that includes Spaniard Alex Lopez and young gun Zach Duncan.
"He's an absolute champion," Roar interim coach Darren Davies said of McKay.
"He's a fantastic person, he's a credit to himself and his family.
"It doesn't matter about (today). What he's achieved in his career, what he's achieved in the game, nobody will ever take that away from him."
Davies, who will remain on the Roar's coaching staff next season as an assistant to Fowler, urged his team to "impress the new boss".
"Players are out of contract and decisions need to be made on contracts and playing futures," he said.
"The boss is here, and it's the last opportunity for them to go out and make an impression."
Liverpool legend Fowler was at the Roar's training session on Wednesday, having met Davies and the squad on Tuesday afternoon.
"The football experience he brings with him is phenomenal and not many people have that. It's a fantastic appointment, not just for Brisbane Roar, but the A-League in general," Davies said of Fowler.
As part of a grand Anzac Day occasion, departing injured Brazilian-Australian livewire Henrique will be presented to the crowd at half-time.
Veteran midfielder Thomas Kristensen, who is sidelined with a calf injury, has also played his last game for the club.
Kristensen, 36, will return home to Denmark, where he hopes to continue his career for one more season.
Off-contract defender Luke DeVere, who had hoped to return from a knee injury, won't be part of the 16-man squad.