Travis Dodd and Nick Ward look ahead to the Brisbane Roar season-opener.

Travis Dodd and Nick Ward look ahead to the Brisbane Roar season-opener.

“He-s in for a torrid time”.

That was Travis Dodd-s reaction when asked what sort of reception Besart Berisha can expect during Sunday-s eagerly-anticipated Grand Final re-match between Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar at Patersons Stadium.

The Albanian striker was of course the main protagonist in the controversial penalty incident that ultimately clinched last season-s title decider for the Queenslanders and the incident continues to generate headlines.

“We are all rotating our boxing sessions this week just in case we need them for Berisha at the weekend”, joked Dodd as he addressed a huge media conference in the wake of Glory-s first full training session at Patersons Stadium.

“I expect it to be hostile for him and he will expect that coming into opposition territory.

“I-m sure the Shed boys will have plenty of stuff ready to go and as long as it doesn-t overstep the mark, I think it-s a healthy thing.”

Dodd himself, however, is keen to look to the future rather than dwell too much upon that dramatic April afternoon in the Queensland capital.

“The Grand Final and what happened at Suncorp will still be in our minds, but it-s important for us to focus on this year and getting off to the best possible start.

“Some players are still really focused on it and it affects different players in different ways.

“For me personally, it hurt, but now I want to focus on getting the new season off to a good start.”

And despite the unfamiliar surroundings of Patersons Stadium, Dodd is confident that Glory can kick the new campaign off with a revenge victory.

“It may not be nib Stadium”, he said, “but it-s still Perth and we need to make this a feared place for opposition teams to come to, just like it was in the old NSL days.

“After last season-s results, I-m pretty sure that we-re close to achieving that and now we just need some more consistency.”

One man who also recalls those NSL days very fondly is Nick Ward who returned for his second spell at Glory during the off-season and he too feels that the men in purple are well equipped to go one better this term.

“I think we have a very, very strong squad”, said the 27-year-old.

“ Everyone talks about depth and I think Fergie-s got a bit of a headache.

“He-s got a lot of decisions to make in terms of who is going to start and you could put anyone in and they-d do a job as we-ve shown during pre-season.”

One of those decisions facing the manager will be whether to hand a starting berth to the versatile midfielder who is thrilled to be back on home turf following a testing stint on the chilly side of the Tasman with Wellington Phoenix.

“I wasn-t enjoying my football as much as I-d like to over in New Zealand”, he admitted, “and that-s why I-ve come home.

“I want to re-ignite my career here.

“I-m fit and I-m happy off the field as well which always helps.”

Ward also brings title-winning experience to the squad having been part of Melbourne Victory-s all-conquering 2008-2009 side and believes that he could be in line to pick up a second A-League championship medal with Glory.

“It-s exciting to be back and to be in a team that is going to be up there challenging for a title.

“I had that at Victory where we won one and lost one and I-d like to get another win in there.

“It-s a great feeling and I definitely think this group has the potential to do that.”

And his thoughts on that Grand Final penalty decision?

“I watched the game sitting in Melbourne and I could see it was a dive even on the crap screen I was watching the game on”, he said.

“I felt for the boys because it was a hard way to lose the game. But we-ll make it right this season.”

Sunday, October 7
Patersons Stadium
Kick-off: 2pm