5 points that might make a difference this A-League Grand Final
Why we think it is 'Advantage Newcastle'04 May 2018 | FT Editor
There’s been so much written about the ‘fairytale’ rise of Newcastle Jets from cellar dwellers last season to second in the regular season, and possibly all the way to the top tomorrow night, that there’s nothing more to say, is there?
We get it.
What’s interesting is how Melbourne Victory is dealing with it. They’re lucky that they’re in AFL-obsessed Melbourne where, other than online and through social media, the Newcastle hype would not make much of an impression.
But outside of Melbourne Victory’s impressively large number of supporters, we were hard-pressed to find anyone who wants them to win this grand final.
It’s not just that everyone loves a fairytale. It’s also that – well, not to gild the lily – everyone else except Melbourne Victory supporters essentially 'hate' Melbourne Victory.
We’ve even seen hashtags at the local coffee shop with #ABM. We assumed it meant 'Anyone but Madrid' after Roma missed out to Liverpool in making the Champions League final against Real Madrid later this month.
“Yes, that too. But really, it’s because of Melbourne Victory. Anyone but them,” the local barista said vehemently.
A Sydney FC staffer text-messaged Football Today during the week to say that they “would like to see Jets win for obvious reasons …”.
Those obvious reasons include last weekend’s semi-final loss, the ‘traditional rivalry’ between the A-League’s two oldest big city teams, and the omnipresent competitive streak between the two cities.
From a Sydney perspective, Newcastle is at least in the same state; they haven’t won it for ten years; and, yes, it is a fairytale and, therefore, a great story.
So even though our colleague, Stuart Thomas, wrote earlier in the week that this Grand Final has nothing to do with numbers, we’ve put together five points that might be helpful to know - especially if you're considering having a bit of a flutter at somewhere on the outcome and the points of interest in the game via australiabestbets.com.au.
- In their three meetings this season, Newcastle Jets has won two and lost one with both sides winning at home. By the way, the three games have attracted an average of 11,811 people with a low of 8,427 in Newcastle (4-1 NJ) in round 8, and a high of 15,534 in Melbourne (2-1 MV). The Grand Final is expected to be at capacity at 33,000. Advantage: Newcastle Jets
- Newcastle Jets has scored 7 goals, Melbourne Victory 3 in the games between them this season. Advantage: Newcastle Jets
- Andrew Howe (author of the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Socceroos) tells us that no team outside of the first or second position at the end of the regular season has gone on to win the grand final since 2002 when Olympic defeated Perth Glory, 0-1. Prior to that there were five other occasions: Adelaide City from 5th in 1994 and from 2nd in 1992; Olympic from 5th in 1990; Marconi from 4th in 1988; and Adelaide City again in 1986 from 3rd position. Advantage: Newcastle Jets
- Referee Jarred Gillet has refereed 35 games involving Melbourne Victory with them winning just under half. He has refereed 26 games involving Newcastle Jets with them losing just under half. Advantage: Melbourne Victory
- Then there is the man lauded as the ‘biggest of big game players’, Besart Berisha, who has played in 14 finals, scored 11 goals and lost just three of those matches. He’s played in four grand finals so far and lost only one. Advantage: Melbourne Victory
What does this mean?
To borrow some sporting cliches ... It’s a big game. It could be anyone’s. Both teams win at home. Newcastle Jets has won two out of three between them so far this season. But the match also has a referee that Melbourne Victory can live with and win with - have you heard Kevin Muscat or his surrogate complain about the referee yet? - plus Berisha is a man who could do anything on a big occasion.
Newcastle Jets in extra time.
#aleaguegf, #mvcvnew, a-league, newcastle jets, melbourne victory