A-League Grand Final game changers
Who will make the difference in the A-League’s title decider?
1. Ange Postecoglou’s Potential Departure
The last thing needed in the Brisbane camp was a distraction; and that precisely was what was given to them from the Melbourne Victory hierarchy. The Victory, in dire need of a coach for the long term, have turned their heads towards Brisbane’s gaffer, Ange Postecoglou.
There is no doubt that this has caused a rumbling among the Roar squad, but come game day, it is expected that professionalism will take over, and the rumours will be brushed aside. In fact, this can be seen by Brisbane as an opportunity to convince Postecoglou, the man at the helm who steered them to both premiers’ plates in 2011, and introduced a revolutionary style to the A-League, to stay with them.
Indeed, he could potentially go into A-League folklore as the manager of the first ever consecutive A-League title winners, Brisbane. Surely that would be enough to convince him?
2. The Opposing Forwards: Besart Berisha vs Shane Smeltz
A clash of biblical proportions; a match made in heaven. The livelihood of the game lives and dies on these mens’ shoulders. Currently cruising in the goal-scoring tables, Berisha and Smeltz have respectively snatched 19 and 17 goals, each tally way ahead of third place.
Both calm and composed finishers, they could each be the deciding factors in what is shaping up to be a high-scoring affair at Lang Park come Sunday.
They have both struck oil this finals series alone; let’s see who carries their form onto the big stage…
3. The Referee: Jarred Gillett
A key factor come Sunday is of course, the referee. But the pairing of Gillett and Brisbane has been a successful one for the Roar, as they have not lost under him, in eleven games so far.
This is an important statistic, and could definitely help the Roar, but it is not surprising, given most of Gillett’s Roar matches were in the current and previous seasons. Despite this, it may be no coincidence.
I am not going so far to suggest a conspiracy, but when it comes down to the wire, we should be able to trust his professionalism. Especially since he was given the gong for 2011-12 ref of the year…
4. Billy Mehmet vs. Mohammed Adnan
Billy Mehmet has been somewhat overshadowed by a monolithic Shane Smeltz this season, when in truth, his feats would be scarce if not for Mehmet. A main provider to the Perth number 9, he is arguably as important as his partner. If Smeltz has an iffy day on Sunday, the chances are that Mehmet will too.
Across the ring sits Mohammed ‘The General’ Adnan, a man in rich form in this season, let alone this finals series. He snuffed out Mariners chances countless times a fortnight ago, and nothing says he won’t be able to do it again. With his counterpart, Matt Smith most likely to try and contain Smeltz, the job will fall to the Bahrain international to handle Mehmet.
Let’s narrow this down to the bare statistics.
-The Glory have not won in four consecutive matches against the Roar
-They have only ever beaten the Roar once at Suncorp Stadium
-The Roar have a goal difference of 23 against the Perth on aggregate for every game played between them (For: 48, Against: 25)
If history is anything to be followed, signs are pointing to a Brisbane win.
My Prediction: 3-1 to the Roar.
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