Roar stars backing Henrique to step up
FOOTBALL: Brisbane Roar fans set to mourn the departure of star striker Besart Berisha to the Melbourne Victory next season need not fear - the players say a ready-made replacement is already on the roster.
It seems likely the Roar will hit the market in an attempt to replace the Victory-bound striker.
But Roar players have banded together in their support of grand-final hero Henrique, endorsing the Brazilian super-sub as the two-time champion Albanian's replacement.
While Berisha was left in tears at the final whistle on Sunday night after scoring a goal in the 2-1 victory over the Wanderers - it was Henrique who netted the winner in the second period of extra time after coming on a sub in the latter stages of regulation time.
Roar left-back Shane Stefanutto could not have made his thoughts any clearer about the quality Henrique, also known as "The Slippery Fish", could provide up front next season.
"Of course the big question is who is going to replace Bes," Stefanutto said.
"I'm going to put my hand up right now and say Henrique can, and he can be the kind of player that can score 10 goals a year for us.
"That's the challenge for him now, and I know he wants to play central striker."
Roar captain Matt Smith said Henrique already had nothing more to prove, after once again providing his team with the impact it needed in the clutch stages against the Wanderers.
"I don't think he needs to step up - he's proven he can over the past three or four years," Smith said.
"Ricky has been a fantastic player. We have the opportunity to relax for a couple of weeks, and let the club do what it has to do and look after recruitment for next year."
While Berisha issued a caution to every opponent of the Victory next season, he also spoke highly of Henrique.
"Of course I can do it. I will do it. Next year I'll be playing in a great team too," Berisha said.
"I'm a hungry person. I work hard and I'm going to go there and work for everything I can, the same way I did in Brisbane.
"Ricky is a great person. All the time we played together in Brisbane, he never said bad words (about being on the bench).
"He can step up."