Matty’s lucky charm

Some may name his mobility, quick thinking or strength in the air as Brisbane Roar centre back Matt Smith’s greatest asset but the man himself says daughter Ava is his lucky charm.

Some may name his mobility, quick thinking or strength in the air as Brisbane Roar centre back Matt Smith-s greatest asset but the man himself says daughter Ava is his lucky charm.

The 28-year-old was quick to squash claims he may be superstitious when it comes to his football but with so much at stake in Sunday-s Hyundai A-League Grand Final against Central Coast Mariners, Smith said he-d stick to his regular routine of carrying two-year-old Ava out onto the field prior to kick-off.

“I-ve been fortunate enough to have her walk out with me for a few games,” he said.

“A lot of players have a lot of superstitions and things like that, I-m not really one of them but it seems every time she-s walked out with me, we-ve picked up some good points.

“Hopefully she-ll be a good omen for Sunday.”

However, while his rock-solid performances in the heart of the Brisbane defence this season quickly made him a Roar fan favourite and earned him a deserved spot in the Professional Footballers- Association-s team of the year, Smith has to share his popularity with Ava with none other than club mascot, Roary.

“Every time we drive past Suncorp Stadium in the car, she goes “grrrr” because she loves Roary,” he said.

“She-s going to be a mascot on Grand Final day, she won-t be aware of it but it-ll be a good opportunity for her.

“I-m sure she-ll love it but at the same time I-m sure she-ll be quick to find out where Roary is!”

Before making his Hyundai A-League debut in almost 18 months ago for North Queensland Fury, Smith plied his trade in the Queensland State League for Brisbane Strikers under the guidance of coach, former Roar hardman, Stuart McLaren.

During his time at Perry Park, Smith was a key part of the Strikers side that hosted the QSL Grand Final in both the 2008 and 2009 seasons, the latter as captain and after having tasted defeat on both occasions, Smith said it was a personal aim of his to ensure he didn-t miss out on silverware again.

“I-m hoping for third time lucky,” Smith said.

“We were fortunate enough to get to the Grand Final and I had some successful years at the Strikers but we never actually won the Grand Final.

“Obviously a much larger occasion but I-d love it to be third time lucky, so fingers crossed.

“At that point, I never would have dreamed that I would be playing here on Sunday in front of a 52,000 stadium at Suncorp.”

Buoyed by tales of the Strikers- famous National Soccer League win at Lang Park over Sydney United back in 1997, Smith was hoping to turn his wildest dreams into reality in securing a maiden Hyundai A-League championship trophy for his beloved Brisbane.

“I-ve been in Australia three years now from England and I like to call Brisbane home,” he said.

“It-s where I-ve been based since I-ve been here and in my short time I-ve been able to understand the culture of football within the Brisbane community.

“To have a home Grand Final here for the first time in the A-League is absolutely fantastic for the people of the town.

“I-ve heard a lot of stories and experiences from the Strikers- Grand Final win and hopefully, I-ll be a part of the winning team on Sunday.”

Brisbane Roar will host Central Coast Mariners in the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 Grand Final on Sunday, 13 March at Suncorp Stadium, kicking off at 4pm.

Visit the Ticketek website or call Ticketek on 13 28 49 for tickets.

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