5 things to like about the A-League Grand Final before it’s played
We preview the A-League Grand Final by saying what we like about it before a ball is kicked30 April 2016 | Bonita Mersiades
There will be so many reviews on Monday of the big game we’ll witness on Sunday afternoon – not to mention whatever may happen at Old Trafford in the early hours of Monday morning our time – that we thought we’d get in early.
Here are the five things we like about the A-League Grand Final before it’s actually been played.
1. 3rd time lucky!
Both teams have tried twice before and not managed to hold the ‘toilet seat’ at the end of the game.
Despite being Premiers in the inaugural A-League season in 2005-06, Adelaide United didn’t even make the Grand Final that year. But they did the next season in a game they would rather forget, losing 6-0 to their nemesis Melbourne Victory. They reached the Grand Final again in 2008-09 and once more fell to Melbourne Victory, but this time a more respectable 1-0 loss. They were also runners-up in the Asian Champions League in 2008.
Just like Adelaide United, Western Sydney Wanderers were Premiers in their inaugural season in the competition in 2012-13 but fell to a strong Central Coast Mariners, 0-2 in the Grand Final – one of the few instances where an away team has won the A-League Grand Final. The Wanderers backed-up again in 2013-14 but fell to a rampaging Brisbane Roar, 2-1. Of course, they also won the Asian Champions League in 2014 for good measure.
As well as it being third time lucky for one team, it will also mean the narrative around the losing team next time they get to a Grand Final will be “4th time lucky?” While Melbourne Victory has played in four grand finals, they have managed to win three of them.
2. There’s more to Australia than the east coast
The bean-counters at FFA HQ and FOX Sports will be ever-so-grateful Western Sydney Wanderers made it to the Grand Final. They depend on a Sydney or a Melbourne team getting to these big games to ensure the best possible television ratings.
But for the rest of us? What a joy it is to see the A-League Grand Final venture from the east coast of the continent. For the first five seasons, it didn’t even get out of Sydney or Melbourne – despite the fact the protagonists in 2007-08 were Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets.
And with the love being shown to South Australia by the Federal Government recently, it’s only fitting for the A-League to be part of the party also.
3. New winner
In the ten completed seasons of the A-League, we’ve had only five winners: Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, Brisbane Roar and Central Coast Mariners. 60% of those wins have come from two teams (Victory and Roar); 80% from three teams (plus Sydney FC).
With only ten teams in the competition, it’s good to spread the joy around. Either way, we’ll have a new winner this season.
Wearing our best A-League neutral hat, we hope next season to see another new winner. We’ll be pumping for whoever is the loser today as well as one of either Wellington Phoenix, Melbourne City or Perth Glory next season.
4. A red sea comes to Adelaide
While Western Sydney Wanderers can be expected to play in their away strip, their supporters will be in their familiar red and black attire, as will Adelaide United supporters be in red.
Adelaide Oval will look spectacular. The only thing that could make the event even better is if the referee was named ‘Moses’.
5. …. Because something has to separate these two sides
These two teams have met twelve times. The record between them? 4W-4D-4L.
This season so far has seen their results as: 0-0, 0-0, 1-1. The two encounters prior to that were 2-1 wins to the respective home team.
In other words, these two sides are about as close as two sides can get, with even their final standings in the premiership race this season just one point apart. The difference in the end was Adelaide United had one more draw than Western Sydney Wanderers, but both enjoyed 14 wins.
What can we be sure of? A team that hasn’t won the Grand Final before, on their third try, and with red as their dominant colour will be holding the A-League trophy early this evening. (Hopefully, the podium doesn’t have multiple tiers and no-one falls off it). The other team will be hoping for fourth time lucky next time.
Our tip? Adelaide United.
a-league, a-league grand final, adelaide united, western sydney wanderers