ROAR coach John Aloisi has backed his inexperienced team to make the most of the opportunity presented to them on Wednesday night in Brisbane's AFC Champions League clash against Muangthong United in Thailand.
Luke DeVere is the only first-choice defender who will start for the Roar in the crucial Group E battle, with the ill Jade North staying in Brisbane with other backline members Jack Hingert (fractured cheekbone), Avraam Papadopoulos (suspended) and Corey Brown (suspended).
Veteran North played under duress in the Roar's A-League elimination final success over Western Sydney Wanderers last Friday night, with it not being until after the completion of the pre-match warm-up that the decision was made to start him.
Set to start in the Roar's back four on Wednesday night are 21-year-old Cameron Crestani and teenage New Zealand international fullback Dane Ingham, while fellow teen Kye Rowles is also a chance to play from the opening whistle.
And with other key personnel set to remain at home due to the Roar having made their do-or-die A-League semi-final against Melbourne Victory on Sunday their priority, there could be other rookies on the park against Muangthong.
"It's going to be a tough game for us, but it'll be a good experience for a lot of the players," Aloisi said.
"It's an opportunity for them. They know the way we want to play. Crestani's had experience now, Dane has, Kye Rowles has, we've still got Luke (DeVere) there ... it'll be a good test for them but it's something they will hopefully get through"
Aloisi said he would have fielded a stronger 11 had the Champions League match been at home.
"Wednesday in Brisbane then Sunday in Melbourne, it would have been a lot easier to play players," he said.
"It's not so much the flight to Thailand, it's also that we're going to play in 36 degrees heat and 100% humidity. It's a tough one for players to then recover."
Even a full-strength Roar side would have found it tough in Thailand against a Muangthong team that has beaten other Group E rivals Kashima Antlers (Japan) and Ulsan Hyundai (South Korea) on home soil.
"They're a good side and also the conditions they play in over there are a big plus for them," Aloisi said.
"It'll be a full house as well. They've got good atmosphere in that stadium, so it gives them a lift."
The Roar need a win to Thailand to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the Champions League round of 16 for the first time in the club's history.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.