In A-league of Its Own – Grand Final edition

Tom’s weekly outlook on the A-League

Well, what a climax to an amazing A-League season. The Version 6 Grand Final last Sunday was one of the all time great games of domestic football in Australia. In front of a crowd of over 50,000 and many more watching from around Australia and the world, pre-match favourites and eventual champions Brisbane Roar got up over the Cenral Coast Mariners to win their first ever A-league title.

There was plenty of hype leading up to the game, and by kick-off there were few who thought that the Mariners could stun a city of hopeful supporters and win the match. Both teams started strongly, and each had a decent chance in the first half, the Mariners’ was cleared off the line by Matt McKay, and the Roar’s cannoned off the crossbar. The half-time score was 0-0, but the scoreline could have easily been 2 goals apiece.

During the second half, the weather reminded us that the match was being played in Brisbane, and it started to absolutely pour with rain. The players were drenched, and so were most supporters by the end of the 90 minutes, which finished 0-0. This meant extra-time, both teams wanted it so bad and although Brisbane controlled most of the second half, they couldn’t put their chances away when they counted. All of Central Coast’s main chances came on the break, but they never really stretched Michael Theoklitos.

Early in extra-time, Adam Kwasnik found himself standing 5 yards out with the ball at his feet after an indirect free-kick went through most Mariners defenders, he kicked the ball as hard as he could into the net, and put the Mariners up 1-0. Brisbane were still a fair chance of winning the match in many people’s view at that stage, as they still had 25 minutes to at least get back on level terms. 3 minutes before half-time in extra-time, Adam Kwasnik was streaming down the middle with the ball on a break, and although his initial shot was saved by Theoklitos, Oliver Bozanic had a simple finish to make it 2-0 and put the title seemingly out of reach for the hosts. But Brisbane have their ways about them, and a mentality that has won them a lot of points this season, and it won them more than points this time. 4 minutes from time, Henrique neatly finished Matt Mckay’s pass and great build up play for surely just a consolation goal. In the last 40 seconds, Roar won a corner. Matt McKay stepped up to take it, and swung it in perfectly to Erik Paartalu’s head which headed the ball slightly lower than a first attempt in the 90 minutes. Brisbane had equalised, and had forced a penalty shoot-out.

They’re always tense, but this penalty shootout had something about it. Brisbane had the momentum after they somehow got back on level terms with a shattered Central Coast. After the first 4 penalties were scored, Danny McBreen stepped up to take the fifth penalty.he went left, and so did Theoklitos, who managed to palm it around the post. After captain McKay calmly scored his penalty, Pedj Bojic came up to take the all important penalty for the Mariners. In a nearly identical penalty to the first one that Mark Schwarzer saved in that famous Uruguay 2005 shootout, Theoklitos somehow got his glove to the ball and pushed it away from the goal-frame to safety. Henrique then had the job of delivering the A-League toilet seat for 2010-11 to the club of Brisbane Roar forever, and did so by calmly putting the ball in the onion bag.

About Tom Riordan

Tom Riordan is in his second year of a Bachelor of Journalism at Swinburne University. He loves all sports, and plays for Brunswick Cricket Club. He supports the Western Bulldogs and can be found on weekends among half a dozen others in Q38 on the top level of the MCC.

Comments

  1. johnharms says:

    Tom

    It was certainly memorable and will be referred to for years to come.

    Thank you for all of your reports throughout the season. They have kept us on the ball with what has been happening. Much appreciated.

    JTH

  2. Ian Syson says:

    JTH — just to remind you that soccer is actually a winter game and that a more grass roots, long term, yobbo friendly, culinarily superior soccer comp has just begun (we’re into week 5). I wonder whether Tommy (or someone else) can be coaxed into covering the VPL and lower grades.

  3. #1. Hear! hear! Tom. Great work.

    How about a hard-hitting report on the sacking of Ernie Merrick before you hang up your keyboard for the season?

  4. John Butler says:

    Tom, it was a long season, and you’ve lasted the distance in fine style.

    Many thanks and well done.

  5. Totally enjoyed your reportage Tom… I appreciate good writing – yours are lively, use great verbs and very readable (and ‘onion bag’ just kills me ;)
    I hope to keep up with the A-league next season. Maybe you could do some more writing in the winter?

  6. #2 Gigs, Ernie’s departure was somewhat predictable, although I don’t think that the staleness of it was expected. Once the new Chairman came in, then most could see that wholesale changes would happen immediately.
    I will be doing a season awards edition next week.

  7. I know all the other arguments, but what a pity this final was not free to air!

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