Pepper stands tall again amid Roar's shifting sands
Brisbane Roar have cycled through defensive partnerships like underwear this season but the presence of Jacob Pepper continues to be indispensable.
Injury disaster forced Pepper to adopt a makeshift centre half role during his second campaign with the Roar, and the 26-year-old has again been thrown in at the defensive deep end this season amid Brisbane’s ongoing injury crisis.
For Friday night’s date with Wellington Phoenix, the Newcastle Jets youth found himself one quarter of yet another unconventional rear-guard barricade, allied alongside the 1.71 metre frame of veteran midfielder Matt McKay and flanked by Daniel Leck and Izaack Powell, a fullback partnership with barely 20 Hyundai A-League appearances between them.
It was an improvised back four that appeared ripe for the picking for a Wellington Phoenix side capable of blasting any team asunder on their day.
But led by the rough-and-ready, unassuming approach of their unsung defensive marshal, Brisbane held out a Phoenix team which had scored 16 goals in their previous four matches, earning a priceless 2-1 win.
“It’s crazy,” Pepper told FOX Sports after the game of Brisbane’s constantly-shifting defence.
“I actually spoke to Matty before the game. He’s my 10th centre back partner in two seasons.”
“It’s a makeshift back-line but I can’t fault anyone.”