A-League Grand Final

  • Michael Lynch recounts three of his top clashes between Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory over the years - from 2007, 2008 and 2015. 
  • We missed this one yesterday: Richard Parkin on how “A-League success is borne out of unity of purpose”. He says the combination of a coach who understands the need for man management, a CEO who understands the importance of community and identity, and an owner prepared to trust and back his staff is a template for the A-League. The same might be said for almost every area of success?
  • Another read on the impact of the success of Newcastle Jets this season, and what the Grand Final is doing, and could do, for the city. 
  • NRL and FFA had a chat about concerns for the surface at McDonald Jones Stadium for tomorrow night's Grand Final, because of tonight's NRL match between Newcastle Knights and South Sydney, and the NRL has agreed to show only virtual logos on the field, rather than have them painted on to the ground. 
  • Somehow, a regular match in the NRL competition is equated with the A-League Grand Final for this writer, who says that a win in both on the weekend will “wash away years of sporting sorrow”. Seriously. A regular round game is not the same as a finals game in any code. 

Newcastle Jets

  • FFA acknowledges the efforts of the Newcastle Jets, their Chairman Martin Lee and CEO Lawrie McKinna, for the remarkable turnaround in fortune from last to second in one season. 
  • Ernie Merrick has encouraged his players to enjoy the lead-up to the occasion as he doesn't think there is much more he can do, other than issue a few instructions on the day, to prepare for this match after such an amazing season. 
  • Well, we know who Melbourne Victory will be targeting in any rough play - goalkeeper Glen Moss who, it turns out, has no back-up and the club is chasing a stand-in second keeper for the biggest game of the seasons. This is not an example of good management. 

Nikolai Topor-Stanley

  • This reads like a follow-on from an interview with Nikolai Topor-Stanley published last week. He talks of the 'hard lessons' he learned when he went to Western Sydney Wanderers, about the need to be confident, have self-belief and also that you're responsible for yourself. 

Ronny Vargas

  • Brisbane Roar's orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Jeremy Bartlett, will be one person glued to the television on Saturday to see how Ronny Vargas fares. Bartlett's quick action on the pitch when Vargas suffered the horrible injury in October is credited for Vargas' more rapid recovery than expected. 

Riley McGree

  • Lots of people have seen his remarkable goal thanks to social media: 3.2 million on Instagram, 2.7 million on Twitter and more than 700,000 on YouTube. 

Melbourne Victory

Besart Berisha

  • “Cometh the hour” finishes Ray Gatt's report on Besart Berisha's larger-than-life personality with the unstated implication that a big occasion like a Grand Final also leads to 'cometh the man' in Berisha's case. Gatt traces Berisha's history from Kosovo to a refugee camp to a childhood in Germany where he learned that to get anywhere in football, you had to be “very tough” - and more. Berisha has played in four grand finals, won three and scored five goals.  
  • Another look at Berisha and the fact that there is no bigger 'big game player', who says he just keeps doing his job
  • Video of Besart Berisha here talking of the team having the much-vaunted “momentum”

James Donachie

  • James Donachie's injury in round two - tearing his quadriceps off the bone - and his rehabilitation and recovery has made him 'stronger', and he's ready to lead Melbourne Victory's defence against the barnstorming Jets. 

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Other A-League

  • Even though they don't have a coach, Western Sydney Wanderers are busy signing news players - heaven help the new coach when he actually arrives - with this trio from Melbourne City: Nick Fitzgerald, Bruce Kamau and Ruon Tongyik. 
  • This report also states that Jack Clisby is about to make the move from Western Sydney Wanderers to Central Coast Mariners. 
  • The story is presented slightly differently here as Melbourne City “releasing” five players. In addition to the three mention, Manny Muscat and Christian Cavallo have also gone. 

Brandon O'Neill

  • Sydney FC's Brandon O'Neill is reportedly “on the radar” of Ireland manager, Martin O'Neill. What O'Neill the manager is actually quoted as saying is: “He's actually got an Irish passport. I'll have a look.”
  • A similar report here which also states that two English Championship clubs are interested in Brandon O'Neill. 

Tim Cahill

  • An AAP report that observes Tim Cahill has taken to social media to remind people of his greatest World Cup moments. The suggestion is that this is a reminder to Bert van Marwijk also, who is set to name his long list for the World Cup squad on Monday. One doubts that van Marwijk sits on social media tracking what Socceroos are saying or doing, or that it would have any influence on his decision in any case. 

a-league finals, a-league, #aleaguegf, brandon o'neill, tim cahill