Jamie Maclaren celebrates with Corey Brown after scoring in the opening half.
Left out of the Socceroos squad announced midweek, Maclaren scored twice in four first-half minutes and completed his treble late to lead the hosts into top spot.
A second-half downpour failed to halt Brisbane’s momentum as they added three goals to a 2-0 half-time lead in an ominous sign for their fellow title hopefuls.
1-0 Jamie Maclaren (18’) – Brandon Borrello will claim it was intentional but in truth the winger’s assist owes largely to a heavy first touch. His scrambling poke away from a Victory defender – after receiving Thomas Broich’s pass – fell favourably for the unmarked Maclaren to sweep home a simple finish at the far post.
2-0 Jamie Maclaren (22’) – If the first was fortuitous, this was simply stunning in its swift design. Dimitri Petratos received a quick pass from defence following a Victory corner and hit a raking, world-class pass into the path of Maclaren, who produced an unerring lob of the advanced Danny Vukovic.
3-0 Corey Brown (55’) – The freedom of two-goal buffers can do great things for confidence. Recalled to the starting eleven, Brown received a short corner and laced a firm shot from outside the area which deflected heavily off Besart Berisha’s outstretched leg.
4-0 Corona (76’) – Roar’s second counter-attacking goal of the night and one almost as special as the first. Petratos led the right-side breakaway and squared smartly for Maclaren, one of two attackers in tow. Danny Vukovic did well to deny the forward his hattrick but could do little to prevent Corona’s cute, dinked follow-up.
5-0 Jamie Maclaren (87’) – A late Roar corner somehow squirmed through a sea of Victory defenders to reach Maclaren at the far post, where he was able to hold off a marker and finish tidily back across Vukovic for a true poacher’s hattrick.
Goals naturally change matches, of course, but Melbourne Victory completely crumbled in the minutes after Jamie Maclaren’s opener.
Brandon Borrello’s stretching toepoke kept one of Brisbane’s first attacks alive and the winger was rewarded for desperation as the ball broke fortuitously for his fellow forward.
The visitors had enjoyed the better of the first 20 minutes but never looked like recovering from quickfire Brisbane blows.
Dimitri Petratos’ world-class pass for Roar’s second goal forced Melbourne to go from appealing for a penalty at one end to picking the ball out of the net at the other.
Receiving a quick ball from the back, the mercurial midfielder launched a stunning pass which drew Danny Vukovic off his line and set the stage for Maclaren’s classy lob.
Scott Galloway received a working over by Brandon Borrello and Jack Hingert in the first-half and found it no easier on the opposite flank when switched with Jason Geria at half-time.
The lack of cover provided by Fahid Ben Khalfallah only increased Galloway’s headaches, which will similarly affect Kevin Muscat as he attempts to settle on a regular back four.
Jamie Maclaren stole all the headlines in another staggering result between the Hyundai A-League’s two most successful clubs.
He now has 17 for the season – if he leads Brisbane deep into the Finals Series that Socceroos call will surely come soon.
Melbourne Victory must improve significantly for next weekend’s hosting of Newcastle Jets if they’re to set about safeguarding a top six spot.
Brisbane Roar: Young (gk), Hingert, Bowles, North, Brown, Corona (Lustica 76’), Petratos, McKay (Hervas 88’), Borrello, Maclaren, Broich (Henrique 62’)
Melbourne Victory: Vukovic (gk), Geria, Deng, Delpierre, Galloway (Georgievski 67’), Mahazi, Bozanic, Ingham (Pain 72’), Finkler, Ben Khalfallah, Berisha (Thompson 67’)