Defending champions Roar dominated for the majority, showcasing their superior passing game and movement, and playing patiently until Mitch Nichols rifled home the game's only goal in the 72nd minute in front of 13,467 fans.

The Mariners were outclassed all over the pitch but their physical defence and fast-start counter-attacking was enough to keep them in the running and ensure the season-opener did not lack for quality.

For those still counting, the victory took Roar's undefeated streak in the A-League to 29 games.

Nichols hit the woodwork in the first half and Brisbane's new-look attacking three of Issey Nakajima-Farran, Besart Berisha and James Meyer gelled well enough to demand another scintillating performance from prodigious 19-year-old Central Coast keeper Matt Ryan.

Playing without former captain and midfield star Matt McKay, Roar covered his absence seamlessly, with Nichols and German star Thomas Broich combining well in the midfield.

Roar made a cautious start, playing across their backline deep within their own area, and the first excitement came in the seventh minute when Pedj Bojic was shown a yellow for an ungainly, momentum-breaking tackle on Brisbane import Nakajima-Farran.

A solid 11th-minute build-up between Nichols and Broich had the Roar threatening, but the visitors responded with their best chance of the half, counter-attacking through Michael Baird who tested Michael Theoklitos with a powerful shot.

Brisbane's relentless pressure pushed them into the ascendancy, and the Mariners lost some discipline, with Rostyn Griffiths lucky to escape booking for an infringement on the edge of the box, before Baird became the second man in the book for an over-zealous challenge.

Brisbane's pressure looked sure to yield a first goal in the 25th, but after Nichols took a delightful ball from Nakajima-Farran and skipped past Ryan, his snap back at goal was cruelly denied by the post.

Meyer - elevated to start after Henrique was ruled out with an ankle injury earlier in the week - became the next man rebuffed by the Mariners keeper when his close-range effort in the 53rd minute was confidently parried away for a corner.

The two grand final combatants went raid for raid through a high-quality 20-minute spell, before the valiant Mariners had their tyres let down by Nichols' confident late strike.

Both sides held their intensity to the final whistle, but despite Central Coast's effort and the impact of exciting Roar substitute Kofi Danning, scores remained at 1-0 to the end.