In A-League of its Own: 2012 Grand Final

Tom’s weekly outlook on the A-League

Brisbane Roar has created history by becoming the first team to win back-to-back titles in the A-League following their controversial 2-1 Grand Final victory over the Perth Glory. In front of a great crowd of just over 50,000 both teams began the game nervously, with mistakes coming from both teams. Just 14 minutes into the game, the league’s highest all-time scorer Shane Smeltz was knocked down when he was struck square on the nose by Roar captain Matt Smith’s elbow. Although the incident appeared to be accidental Smeltz had blood flowing from his nose, and there was a lengthy delay before Smeltz was taped up and allowed to return to the field. Mitch Nichols and Ivan Franjic forced a couple of smart saves from Perth stopper Danny Vukovic, but both teams went into the break without having hit the onion bag.

Brisbane came out firing in the second half, and Tomas Broich nearly ended a fantastic run with a goal from a narrow angle, but again Vukovic was in the way. But Perth went straight down the other end, and after Billy Mehmet’s took the ball forwards to Travis Dodd, Dodd was able to cross the ball into Ivan Franjic, who managed to flick the ball into his own net. From there, it was a matter of hanging on for Perth, and they managed to do so until the 82nd minute, when Broich’s fantastic cross found Besart Berisha, who duly nodded the ball home for a goal. Brisbane kept the momentum flowing, and all Perth were able to do was keep clearing their lines until the final whistle went, and Defender Dean Heffernan only made the task more difficult for his teammates when he picked up a red card for a silly tackle on Franjic. But as Brisbane seems to enjoy doing in Grand Finals, they found a winner. Besart Berisha weaved his way into the 18 yard box, and as he went to take his shot, he went down claiming he had been fouled. The referee bought it, and awarded the Roar another chance to win the A-League from the penalty spot. Berisha took the kick and sent Vukovic the wrong way, scoring his 21st goal of the season and giving his team the title.

The controversy following was spectacular with many experts saying that the wrong decision was made and that it should not have been a penalty. Some are even claiming that the pass played through to Berisha should have been called offside in the first place. The post-game ceremony to award the Joe Marston medal for the best player on the ground went initially to Tomas Broich, but later on it was revealed that a mistake was made at the ceremony, and that the winner was in fact Perth captain Jacob Burns. Unfortunately these incidents might overshadow what was another successful Grand Final for the league, and eclipse Brisbane’s chance at being celebrated widely as the champions.

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.


  1. Ange to Victory!?!…wait for some dominoes to fall now. Harry to West Sydney?

  2. West Sydney – you mean Harry to GWS Giants, don’t you? And Ange to the Melbourne Demons, not Victory. These are wise men who (like Ross Lyon) know when to desert a sinking ship.

  3. Richard Naco says

    It says quite a lot, Peter, that you consider the Dees to be a refuge from a sinking ship.

    I guess it’s all a matter of context.


  4. Not much help there Peter.
    I didn’t see the final (at MCG seeing the awful Dogs/Dees game) but tom’s view is slowly being embraced once the hype has died down – a good game; a controversial (not necessarily wrong) finish; a ripper season.

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