A James Meyer hat-trick has seen the Brisbane Roar finish the National Youth League season with a strong 3-1 win over the Newcastle Jets in atrocious conditions at Wanderers Oval on Saturday evening.
Meyer bagged goals in the first, 32nd and 67th minute and was a stand-out as the Roar outplayed the Jets in a match played in storm-like conditions with heavy, driving rain and blustery winds.
The win sees the Brisbane side secure a fourth place finish in the National Youth League just a point behind the Jets who claimed their best ever finish in third.
The Roar got the ideal start when James Meyer sprung the offside trap and streaked through the centre to go one-on-one with Jets goalkeeper Ben Kennedy, who slipped at the vital moment allowing Meyer to simply stroke home to make it 1-0 to Brisbane after just one minute of play.
The home side worked their way back into the contest with James Virgili firing wide after a wonderful through ball from Mitch Cooper in the ninth minute before Craig Goodwin saw his shot saved by Roar custodian Matthew Acton following some clever lead-up work from James Brown.
The Jets duly equalised in the 23rd minute when Brown put Kale Bradbery away down the left wing. The Newcastle striker played a quick one-two with Brown before taking the ball across the face of goal and firing a low shot into the far corner.
The Roar should have gone ahead on the half-hour mark when Kennedy came out of his area to shut down a break from Patrick Theodore.
But the Brisbane forward was able to step around the Jets keeper and square the ball for Meyer who tried to guide it home from the edge of the area only to see his shot blocked by Newcastle defender Luke Remington.
Just moments later the Roar regained the lead when Meyer fired a looping long-range effort from 35 metres out that curled in the swirling wind and dipped over Kennedy and into the top corner of the net to make it 2-1 to Brisbane after 32 minutes.
The visitors had the bit between their teeth and pushed forward with Matthew Thurtell firing a shot narrowly wide of the target right on the stroke of half-time as the sides went to the sheds with the Roar holding a 2-1 lead.
The driving rain worsened to a torrential downpour with strong gusty winds but it was the Roar who looked most likely to score in the second half.
Meyer forced a fine diving save from Kennedy with low skimming shot in the 63rd minute before George Lambadaridis fired wide from just outside the area a few minutes later.
A Meyer solo effort saw the Roar go to 3-1 ahead in the 67th minute when he raced into space down the right flank before cutting back inside and slotting the ball inside to far post to complete his hat-trick.
Brisbane went close to adding to their lead in the 73rd minute when defender Ross Archibald leapt high to meet a Kenneth Dougall free-kick from out wide only to head his shot over the crossbar.
The Jets tried hard to mount a late comeback with substitute Radovan Pavicevic and Bradbery toiling hard up front and Virgili making inroads down the right wing but the Brisbane defence looked assured as they held firm to finish their season with an impressive win in the wet.
Newcastle Jets 1 (Bradbery 23)
Brisbane Roar 3 (Meyer 1, 32, 67)
1. Ben Kennedy (GK), 3. Josh Mitchell (capt), 4. Luke Remington, 5. Jacob Pepper, 6. Mitch Oxborrow, 7. James Virgili, 8. Craig Goodwin, (14 Radovan Pavicevic (61min) 9. Kale Bradbery, 10. Mitch Cooper (13. Bobby Russell 46min), 17. James Brown (12. Mason Campbell 61min), 18. Scott Neville.
Unused substitute 20. Jack Duncan (GK)
1. Matthew Acton, 3. Corey Brown (capt), 5. George Lambadaridis, 6. Ross Archibald, 7. Patrick Theodore (4. Lachlan Jackson), 8. Matthew Jurman, 11. Matthew Thurtell, 12. Julius Doe (9. Benjamin Litfin 58min) 13. Kenneth Dougall, 14. James Meyer. 15. Cameron Crestani (17. Sam Cronin 58min)
Unused substitute 20. Fraser Chalmers (GK)