Brett Holman of the Brisbane Roar, Tim Cahill of Melbourne City and Bobo of Sydney FC pose for photographs during an A-League pre-season media conference.
Brett Holman of the Brisbane Roar, Tim Cahill of Melbourne City and Bobo of Sydney FC pose for photographs during an A-League pre-season media conference. TRACEY NEARMY

A-League going from strength to strength

FOOTBALL: High-profile A-League signings Brett Holman and Tim Cahill cannot wait for the new season to kick off.

Brisbane Roar will take on Melbourne Victory on October 7 at Suncorp Stadium with Holman likely to be in coach John Aloisi's starting line-up.

At a press conference with his former Socceroos teammate and new Sydney FC marquee signing Bobo, Holman said he had been impressed with what he had seen so far as the Roar prepared for its season opener.

"The level of training I have experienced with Brisbane is high and it's definitely comparable with what I have experienced in Europe,” he told reporters.

The midfielder also said it was a sign of how good the competition had become with the number of current or former Australian internationals now playing on home soil.

Holman, Cahill (Melbourne City), Rhys Williams (Perth Glory), James Holland (Adelaide United) and James Troisi (Melbourne Victory) are just some of the Socceroos who will play in the A-League this season.

Holman has played in the United Arab Emirates for the past three seasons but said seeing those stars plus the likes of Roar teammate Tommy Oar back in Australia would only be good for the competition.

"You're talking about good-quality players, national team players, who aren't choosing something else but looking at the A-League and saying 'this is positive for my career',” Holman said.

"That is a massive compliment for the A-League to say this is how we're progressing.”

Cahill said he had enjoyed mixing with former teammates Holman and Williams and others who were now in coaching roles.

"Players that I played with are now coaches. You know, 'Popa' (Tony Popovic), 'Musky' (Kevin Muscat), John Aloisi - seeing them all, it brings back great memories,” the Socceroos striker said.

"You can see, even as coaches, they still look in good physical shape. I was expecting a few of them to have more weight on them but I was impressed.”

Cahill also said it was good to see Australian players back where they belong.

"This is where we're from,” he said. "This is where we were brought up and to be finally home as international Australian players, it's good for us, good for our families and obviously great for the game.”

Cahill said the A-League needed to continue to grow and the powers that be could not rest on their laurels, especially to help the rise of the Socceroos.

"We just don't want to be Australians and be good losers ... you have to look beyond the box and really try and achieve something special,” he said.

"Are we just making up the numbers, are we happy just to be there? We just need to keep introducing new talent, bringing great players back to the country.

"It's great to be back, the league has grown a lot.”

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