BRETT Holman belatedly starts his second A-League campaign on Friday night with a mission to defy the popular belief that an ageing Brisbane squad will struggle to challenge for the title this season.
The former Socceroos star is set for action when the Roar host Adelaide United at Suncorp Stadium, having missed Brisbane's 2-0 first-round loss to Melbourne City at AAMI Park last Friday because of a calf injury.
Holman has stepped up to marquee status this season and the pressure is on the playmaker to provide fellow marquee man Massimo Maccarone with the service the Italian striker needs to score the goals that will ensure the Roar play finals football this season.
A top-six position would be the minimum requirement for a Roar side that has been written off by many this season because of the age of several players.
Maccarone is 38, Holman is 33, while goalkeeper Michael Theo (36), defender Jade North (35), attacker Fahid Ben Khalfallah (35), skipper Matt McKay (34) and the injured Thomas Kristensen (34) are also in the veteran status.
Holman is happy for people to express their thoughts on the Roar's chances, just as he will be delighted to prove the doubters wrong.
"Everybody's got their opinions, and they're entitled to them - look at the Socceroos, everyone's got their opinions about them as well," Holman said.
"It's our job to do everybody in this team and everybody who's working in our offices justice in the choices that have been made.
"We've got to work hard, and we've got to show the people who don't think we're good enough that they're completely wrong.
"It all depends on results and it all depends on performances."
Holman will demand more from himself this season after a mixed debut A-League campaign that was affected by injury and a rushed preparation.
"Last season it was all new to me," he said.
"Personally, I'm a little bit wiser just for the fact I've had a year under my belt in this league. I now understand more about how this league works.
"I'm always keen, just as excited and given the group we've got here now, I'm really excited about our prospects."
If Holman does play from the opening whistle on Friday night, it's likely to be at the expense of teenager Nick D'Agostino.
Roar coach John Aloisi could also make one other change to his starting line-up, with defender Luke DeVere a strong chance to replace North in Brisbane's 11.
Meanwhile, the Roar have gifted their front-of-shirt sponsorship to the Starlight Children's Foundation until they can attract a major backer.
"We're very proud of our partnership and grateful to be gifted this incredible opportunity to be featured on the Brisbane Roar shirt," Starlight's Queensland partnership manager Tracey Tomlin said.