Brisbane Roar spoiled Melbourne Victory's homecoming party and snared their first points of the A-League season with a feisty 3-1 win at AAMI Park.
Scott McDonald opened the scoring in the 16th minute, before Victory recruit Callum McManaman equalised with a stunning solo effort eight minutes later. But Victory paid the price for static defending when Macaulay Gillesphey headed the excellent Roar in front on the hour mark, before Dylan Wenzel-Halls iced the win in the 20 minutes later.
"We probably didn't play the way we wanted to in the first half, but we obviously addressed that at half time," Roar coach Warren Moon said. "We changed a couple of things and performed how we hoped we could going into the game ... so I was really pleased and I thought we deserved it."
Victory hadn't played at their home ground since February and in Grant Brebner's first A-League game since taking the reins full-time, they looked a far more aggressive and energetic outfit -- with a range of new faces.
But despite the home side's lively start in front of a boisterous home crowd, Brisbane drew first blood. Roar full-back Corey Brown evaded Storm Roux's sliding tackle, just kept the ball in and cut it back to Dylan Wenzel-Halls, whose floating goal-bound shot was volleyed in by McDonald. The assistant referee initially flagged McDonald offside but following a VAR review, the Roar veteran was shown to be kept onside by Victory's Nick Ansell.
Soon after, Brisbane youngster Rahmat Akbari slipped while attempting to receive a pass from defence and McManaman pounced. The winger took off, jinked around Brisbane's Riku Danzaki and cut a sizzling left-footed strike into the top corner. In the 34th minute, Ansell's towering header hit the base of the post -- while seven minutes later Victory had appeals for a penalty waved away. Roar defender Jack Hingert had blocked Jake Brimmer's goal-bound header, with Victory players arguing the ball had hit his arm, but to no avail.
Victory signing Rudy Gestede entered the game in the 56th minute but it was Brisbane who took the lead minutes later when Gillesphey leapt highest at a corner to head home.
Victory's night was further soured when Marco Rojas, who had pulled up sore in the first half, limped off in the 72nd minute with an apparent hamstring injury. Eigtht minutes later, Tom Aldred hoofed the ball out of defence, with Wenzel-Halls running onto it, cutting left around Ansell then back onto his right foot and finishing coolly to secure all three points.
Melbourne coach Brebner said: "We were OK in the first half and I didn't see it coming in the second half.
"I think there was an element of fitness around it, match fitness, because obviously we haven't played a game for three weeks."
In a curious fixture quirk, Victory and Roar will meet again in Brisbane next Sunday.