Hyundai A-League grand final preview

20 April 2012

Written by: Jake D'Amato

The Brisbane Roar will be looking to win consecutive A-League titles this Sunday when they meet Perth Glory at Suncorp Stadium.

The Roar have been, without a shadow of a doubt, the best side in the competition for a few years, but before they are crowned they have to get past the competitions sleeping giants first.

Head to Head:

The men in orange have dominated Perth, history says. In 21 meetings between the two sides, Perth Glory has only managed to overcome Brisbane on three occasions. Brisbane on the other hand has won 13, and there have been five draws.

Even in recent times the Roar has held a firm ascendency over the West Australians, comfortably winning two of their three clashes this season. They destroyed Perth in their first meeting, handing out a four-goal belting.

Then the Glory seemed to have made some headway on Brisbane when they fought out an exhilarating three-all draw early in the year. Before, Brisbane reiterated their dominance two months later with a three goal win.

Brisbane should be red-hot favourites in terms of head-to-head between the two sides.

Form:

Finals form is an important factor when looking at Brisbane Roar, the side has not lost a finals-series match since February 2009, when they flunked out in the preliminary final.

Another telling factor is Perth’s record at Suncorp Stadium, they have only registered one victory at the ground which makes the Glory’s task all the more difficult.

Although not in the same form that saw them go undefeated for 36 matches, the Brisbane Roar has not dropped a game to an A-League team since they were humbled by Newcastle in January.

After defeating minor-premiers Central Coast last week to book a grand final berth the Roar seem to have hit form at the right time. But, that is not to say that Perth isn’t also in form, the Glory has won four in a row and six of its last seven A-League games.

With both teams in scintillating A-League form it may take each sides best players to step-up and be the difference.

Game Breakers:

Shane Smeltz is undoubtedly Perth’s best chance at beating Brisbane on Sunday. Smeltz has been in dominant form as of late, netting eight goals in his past four games. The buoyant striker doesn’t mind a post-season goal either, he has booted six career finals goals, the second most in the A-Leagues short histoy.

Perth winger Andrezinho could loom as a serious threat to Brisbane, if he is deemed fit enough to play. The Brazilian suffered a minor-tear in his groin during the Glory’s victory over the Mariners. Andrezinho can provide a spark to his side, and his inclusion would be paramount to Perth’s chances.

Thomas Broich has not been in great form recently, but if the German is able to contribute his precise footwork and energetic gamey-style to Brisbane’s performance on Sunday, the Roar should be victorious. The ex-Nuremberg FC player could be the deciding factor in this game.

Albanian international, and the Nike Golden Boot Winner this season, Besart Berisha does not have the creative qualities that Smeltz has, but gets the job done. It’s hard to doubt his ability when he netted 19 goals in just 27 games this season. If Berisha can take his opportunities then Brisbane will be well on their way to winning this game.

Deciding Factors:

Brisbane should be able to maintain control in the midfield battle, especially if Andrezinho is ruled out of Perth’s team, and if their class can present Berisha with enough opportunities, they will win.

But if Perth can win the midfield battle, or even just tighten the gap between the two-sides then the striker down the other end could provide the difference. The creative Smeltz always seems to find a way to score, if Perth’s midfield can present him with enough of the ball, he could score more than one-goal come Sunday.

The defences for both teams will have a hard time trying to handle to best strikers in the competition, whichever defence can restrict the impact of the respective striker will be doing their team a big favour.

This game could be entirely in Brisbane’s hands, it just depends on which Brisbane shows up. If the Roar can play at their best, then they will win, no doubt.

But if they aren’t in great touch, Perth could catch them off-guard and steal the premiership. Either way it will be an intriguing battle, one that could turn out to be a classic.

Prediction:

Brisbane Roar 3 – 1 Perth Glory

Jake D’Amato is a third year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe, and is part of the upstart editorial team. Follow him on Twitter @jdamato32