THINGS ARE GOING TO BE DIFFERENT
People say that a Grand Final is just another game. I don’t think that.
When we won it two years ago against Melbourne Victory, it was one of the best moments in my whole career. It was an unbelievable thing to be a part of because back in Europe the team that wins the league is the champion.
In Australia, it’s a totally different thing. It’s one game and the players know they have to give everything. You have to dig deeper than the other team to win. You can’t expect the nicest football, because both teams are very good. Other factors will decide the game.
That’s exactly how the game against the Victory was – very tough and physical.
The atmosphere when Rhyan Grant scored to make it 1-1 was incredible. I’ve played so many games of football, but that was truly something special, hearing the noise from our fans and celebrating with the team.
It finished 1-1 after extra time and then went to penalties. I kicked the winning penalty.
I’m expecting a similar atmosphere in Perth, even though there won’t be as many Sydney supporters in the stadium this time. More than 50,000 tickets have been sold, and it’s going to be a great night for Australian football.
We’ve been playing very good football in the back end of this season. If you look at the Asian Champions League, we were unlucky because our performances were strong.
We’re proud to be in this position because we knew it wasn’t going to be easy for us this year. We didn’t have a fixed home ground, we lost some important players, and had a new coach and coaching staff.
We signed some good players and Steve is a very good coach, but I knew it would not be an easy season for us. And we’ve had a lot of bad luck with many injuries in the squad.
But if you look at what we’ve achieved this season, it’s great.
If we play like we did against Victory last week, we will win on Sunday. But the conditions are slightly different this time.
We’ll be playing away, but in some ways, so are Glory. They will be at a different stadium and in front of a massive crowd, the same as us.
But if we keep the ball, like we did in the second half against Victory, we will create chances and score goals.
We have so many good players in this squad. We have players like Reza and Paulo Retre coming off the bench, which says everything about our depth. Beyond that we’ve had very big problems with injuries. Siem de Jong, Trent Buhagiar, Daniel De Silva, Ben Warland, Chris Zuvela. All of them have had really difficult seasons with injuries.
But when we have our full team available, I think we show why we are the best in the league.
I’m expecting a very tough game against the Glory, especially in the first half. But we need to be smart and play our own game.
We’ve beaten them twice this season already. We kept the ball in those games and created our chances to score goals. The game we lost was the opposite.
We know that this weekend we need to control the possession and tempo because they have some players who can hurt us – Chris Ikonomidis, Andy Keogh, Diego Castro and Joel Chianese off the bench.
They are a compact team who defend well, and they deserved to finish first. But now it’s one game, and things are going to be different.