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Roar headaches after loss to Wanderers
By Laine Clark
21:33 AEST Sun Jan 20 2013

It couldn't get any worse for the Brisbane Roar - or so coach Mike Mulvey thought.

The once mighty Roar are rooted to second-last spot on the A-League ladder after being overrun 2-1 by newcomers Western Sydney Wanderers at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday - their third straight loss.

However, plenty more headaches loom for Mulvey.

Medical staff will this week assess whether Matt Smith will require surgery after the Roar captain finally succumbed to a hip complaint and watched Sunday's capitulation from the stands.

Another sorely missed on Sunday was prized import Jade North who is yet to convince staff he is ready to play his first game since December.

And striker Besart Berisha and Shane Stefanutto won't be available for their next clash with arch rivals the Glory in Perth on Saturday night after earning fifth yellow cards for the season in the Wanderers clash.

Not much is going Mulvey's way right now - but the Roar coach was still trying to cling to positives after losing their third straight game to the fourth-placed Western Sydney this season.

"It was a much improved effort from last week (1-0 loss at Newcastle) - we are hurting badly but we also have a desire to improve," he said.

Eyebrows were raised when Mulvey opted not to play either defender Smith or North against the in-form Wanderers - a decision that appeared to come back to haunt them as they gave up a 1-0 halftime lead to concede two goals in four minutes in the second stanza.

Mulvey said the experienced pair was missed but had no choice but to omit the duo.

"What we lost with those two is experience but Jade is not ready yet, it's as simple as that," he said.

"And with Matty he has been to the well once too often with an injury that is causing him to wake up in pain throughout the night.

"He can't walk properly in the morning, he has had cortisone injections.

"We need to find out what the situation is, whether he needs an operation or not.

"The next 48 hours will tell the tale."

The Roar looked set to get their title defence back on track after two straight losses by leading 1-0 midway through the second half but the Wanderers then turned the match on its head.

Western Sydney marksman Mark Bridge fed off Jerome Polenz to lock up the scores in the 65th minute, silencing the 11,917-strong crowd.

And the Suncorp Stadium faithful were on their feet in the 69th - for all the wrong reasons - after Japanese import Shinji Ohno appeared off-side in the lead-up to Youssouf Hersi's match-winner.

"If you see someone in an off-side position you are expecting the flag," Mulvey said.

"And we took one or two half steps instead of striving out for the situation that eventuated.

"But I am not going to make any excuses with regards to referees, they have a job to do.

"Maybe it was or maybe it wasn't (off-side)."