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Roar's Maclaren better after contract saga

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/04/2017 Vince Rugari

Jamie Maclaren is starting to see the silver lining to his Brisbane Roar contract saga and believes he's come through it as a better player and stronger person.

The 23-year-old is one of the A-League's hottest free agents as he comes to the end of his deal with the Roar, having knocked back their initial offer of an extension in November.

Maclaren's also hitting form at the right time, scoring seven times in his last six domestic appearances to take his A-League season tally to 15 goals heading in to Sunday's home clash against Central Coast.

The Roar have not given up hope of retaining Maclaren but it looks increasingly unlikely the fringe Socceroos forward will remain at the club as offers from rival A-League clubs and all over the world continue to flood in.

Maclaren admits it had been tough to deal with the scrutiny of being a high-profile player coming off contract but says coach John Aloisi's advice when question marks first emerged over his future has proved prophetic.

"He said, 'This is actually good for you,'" Maclaren told AAP.

"You have to block all that out.

"I've been able to answer those critics on the pitch and even now on 15 goals I'm still getting those critics.

"For me it's at a stage where it's actually motivation.

"I was pretty fresh to the whole people being negative thing, waking up and seeing articles that are negative and pinpointing different things - but it actually makes you."

Maclaren sits seventh on the A-League's all-time goalscoring charts with 46 goals - 35 of those coming in the last two seasons with Brisbane.

Aloisi said the Roar have not given up hope of retaining Maclaren but would not reopen contract talks until the end of the season, wary of interrupting his hot streak.

"I don't want Macca to lose his focus," Aloisi told AAP.

"I talk with him all the time and at the moment he's just focused on playing, not his future. That's something I respect."

There's plenty for the Roar to play for on Sunday as they seek a home final. The bottom-placed Mariners are hoping to avoid the wooden spoon.

Maclaren, who played youth international football under Mariners coach Paul Okon, still expects they will be aiming to finish the season in the best possible way.

"I've worked under Paolo before, I know he sticks to what he believes and that's playing attacking football. They're a hard team to play against," he said.

STATS THAT MATTER

* Seven of Brisbane Roar's past 10 goals scored in the A-League have come from Jamie Maclaren.

* Brisbane Roar have won each of their past seven games against the Mariners, scoring an average of 2.6 goals per game across that period.

* Brisbane Roar make an average of 468.7 passes per game when playing at home so far this season, the second most of any team in the competition (Melbourne City, 469.2).

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