Brisbane ready for Grand Final showdown

Two days out from the club’s historic maiden Hyundai A-League Grand Final appearance, Brisbane Roar Head Coach Ange Postecoglou says his side’s unbeaten record against Central Coast Mariners this season will count for nothing but has confidence that his proven winning formula will prevail again on Sunday afternoon.

Two days out from the club-s historic maiden Hyundai A-League Grand Final appearance, Brisbane Roar Head Coach Ange Postecoglou says his side-s unbeaten record against Central Coast Mariners this season will count for nothing but has confidence that his proven winning formula will prevail again on Sunday afternoon.

Brisbane are unbeaten in five outings against the Mariners this campaign, notching up three victories and two high-scoring draws, but the recently-named Hyundai A-League Coach of the Year said all that matters would be the performance on the day.

“I don-t know about previous form or history, I really think it-s irrelevant,” Postecoglou said.

“At the end of the day, you got 90 minutes or 120 minutes or penalties to decide it and whoever deals with that situation the best will win the game.

“Confidence and who has the upper hand, it-s all pretty irrelevant really.”

Grand Finals have always been traditionally tense affairs and with the exception of Melbourne Victory in the 2006/07 decider when they hit six past Adelaide United, no team has ever managed to score more than once in a Hyundai A-League Grand Final.

However, given the five meetings between Postecoglou-s Roar and the Graham Arnold-coached Central Coast Mariners has produced an average of four goals per match, the Brisbane Head Coach is predicting a cracker of a football classic on the Suncorp Stadium pitch.

With the Premiers- Plate already in the trophy cabinet and the team-s 27 match unbeaten streak under their belts, it-s no surprise that Postecoglou plans to stick to the same game plan that has served his side so well over the past 32 fixtures.

“From our point of view, we-ve gone into every game with the same attitude – we want to be attacking, we want to be aggressive, we want to put the opposition on the back foot and we want to score goals,” he said.

“That will be our emphasis on Sunday – our intention is, for however long the game goes for, we-ll be going for goals.

“We haven-t changed that all year and we-re not about to change it now.”

Barring anything drastic occurring in tomorrow morning-s final training session, Postecoglou will send out the same eleven players that started the second leg of the Major Semi-Final to take the field in Sunday-s crucial clash, meaning Costa Rican striker Jean Carlos Solorzano is likely to start and Brazilian winger Henrique will take a place on the five-man substitutes bench.

With emotions running at a high at the Ballymore-based club, the four-time NSL title-winning Postecoglou said his players were feeding off the excitement around Brisbane but still had their minds firmly set on football.

“There-s probably a bit of both (excitement and nerves) but training is good and that-s a good indicator for us,” he said.

“They are still pretty relaxed and focused on the job.

“There is a definite buzz around the place and it-s been a good week for us – a lot of hype around the game and the crowd is going to be massive so it-s all good.”

With only an estimated 2000 tickets left up for grabs in the sixth edition of the Hyundai A-League Grand Final, Postecoglou was hoping to win more than just the championship trophy on Sunday – the Brisbane boss eager to cement a big presence in the minds of the Brisbane sporting public.

“It-s going to be a great day and I think the significant thing for us will be that it won-t be just people coming along to watch an event but 99 per cent of the crowd will be wearing orange and barracking for us,” he said.

“Hopefully, we win some hearts and minds in this town in terms of big sporting teams.

“It-s going to be a great sight on Sunday and I-m really looking forward to it.”

In another big boost for the club, Brisbane Roar will reach the milestone of a one million aggregate crowd in Sunday-s Grand Final.

The Roar have already accumulated an aggregated crowd of 989,043 in the 74 home matches to date, meaning the 10,957th person who comes through the gates at Suncorp Stadium will be the Roar-s 1,000,000th patron.

Hyundai A-League 2011 Grand Final
Brisbane Roar vs Central Coast Mariners
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Local kick-off: 4.00pm (5.00pm AEDT)
Matthew Breeze
Assistant referees: Ben Wilson and Brad Hobson
Fourth official: Strebre Delovski

Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 3, FS3 HD and Sky Sports 3 (NZ). Hyundai A-League partner is 4BC 1116, ABC Brisbane and 96.3 Coast FM (Gosford). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au

Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH, 4. Shane STEFANUTTO, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 9. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 10. HENRIQUE, 12. Matt MUNDY, 14. Rocky VISCONTE, 15. Matt McKAY (c), 16. Daniel BOWLES, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 19. Chris BUSH, 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 21. James MEYER, 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Milan SUSAK
*four to be omitted*

In: Daniel BOWLES (promoted), Luke BRATTAN (promoted), Chris Bush (promoted), James MEYER (returns from injury)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: Nil

Central Coast Mariners: 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 2. Daniel McBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 10. Patricio PEREZ, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 12. Matthew LEWIS, 13. Michael BAIRD, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 18. Alex WILKINSON, 19. Matt SIMON, 22. Mustafa AMINI, 23. Adam KWASNIK, 24. Bernie IBINI ISEI, 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk)
*three to be omitted*

In: Matthew LEWIS (promoted), Pedj BOJIC (returns from suspension), Michael BAIRD (returns from injury)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: Brad PORTER (knee – 4 weeks), Nik MRDJA (knee – season), Jess VANSTRATTAN (knee – season)

Head-to-Head: All matches (played 22): Brisbane Roar wins 11, Central Coast Mariners wins 3 (8 draws)

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