The Roar
The Roar


A-League grand final preview: Key men and biggest storylines ahead of Mariners vs Victory showdown

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Roar Guru
24th May, 2024

This Saturday night, Industree Group Stadium will be the stage for an electrifying A-League Grand Final as Central Coast Mariners take on Melbourne Victory. With Central Coast aiming for back-to-back titles and Melbourne Victory striving to claim their first championship in six years, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Central Coast Mariners

Season Overview:
Central Coast Mariners have enjoyed a stellar season, finishing at the top of the ladder. Their consistent form throughout the season has been a testament to their tactical discipline and attacking prowess. The Mariners secured their place in the final with a hard-fought 2-1 aggregate win over Sydney FC in the semi-finals, showcasing their resilience and determination.

Key Players:

Josh Nisbet: The talismanic striker has been in sensational form, leading the Mariners’ attack with his clinical finishing and intelligent movement. Nisbet’s ability to find the back of the net could be crucial in breaking down a resolute Victory defence.

Josh Nisbet Central Coast Mariners

Joshua Nisbet of the Mariners reacts to scoring a goal during the A-League Men Semi Final match between Sydney FC and Central Coast Mariners. (Photo by Steve Christo – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Christian Theoharous: The experienced midfielder has been the heartbeat of the team, orchestrating play with his vision and passing ability.


Theoharous’ leadership on the field will be vital in guiding the Mariners through the high-pressure moments of the final.

Trent Millard: The young defender has been a revelation this season, providing solidity at the back with his strong tackling and aerial presence. Millard will need to be at his best to keep Melbourne’s attackers at bay.

Melbourne Victory

Season Overview:

Melbourne Victory’s path to the grand final has been nothing short of dramatic. After finishing third on the ladder, they edged past their city rivals Melbourne City in a tense elimination final, emerging victorious in a penalty shootout. Their semi-final clash with Wellington was equally thrilling, with Chris Ikonomidis scoring a decisive header in extra time to secure a 2-1 win.

Key Players:


Chris Ikonomidis: The winger has been a standout performer for Victory, with his pace and creativity posing a constant threat to opposition defenses. Ikonomidis’ winning goal in the semi-final highlights his knack for stepping up in crucial moments.

Jake Brimmer: The midfielder has been a key figure in Victory’s engine room, providing energy and drive. His ability to control the tempo and deliver precise set-pieces will be pivotal in unlocking the Mariners’ defense.

Roderick Miranda: The Portuguese centre-back has been a rock at the heart of Victory’s defense, combining physicality with positional awareness. Miranda’s leadership and experience will be essential in marshaling the backline against Central Coast’s potent attack.

The Storylines

Central Coast’s Title Defence:
A win for the Mariners would see them claim their third A-League championship and achieve the rare feat of consecutive titles. Their success has been built on a blend of experienced campaigners and exciting young talent, with head coach Mark Jackson instilling a winning mentality within the squad.

Victory’s Quest for Glory:
Melbourne Victory are aiming to end a six-year wait for A-League glory and equal Sydney FC’s record of five championships. Under the guidance of Tony Popovich, Victory have shown resilience and determination, qualities that will be essential in overcoming the formidable Mariners.

Tony Popovich’s Fairytale:
For head coach Popovich, this final represents a chance to finally lift an A-League title as a coach. Despite his success in domestic and Asian competitions, the A-League championship has eluded him. A victory on Saturday would be a fitting reward for his tactical acumen and leadership.


The Verdict:
With both teams boasting strong line-ups and rich narratives, this grand final promises to be a thrilling contest. Central Coast’s cohesive unit and home advantage might give them a slight edge, but Melbourne Victory’s resilience and the Popovich factor could well see them clinch a historic fifth title. Fans can expect a pulsating encounter as two of the league’s best sides vie for the ultimate prize.