I have no doubt Perth Glory will give it a red-hot crack on Sunday at Suncorp but at the end of the day Brisbane Roar will have too much class.
Ange Postecoglou is nothing if not a realist. The Brisbane Roar coach claimed his team was “not quite there, in terms of real quality” after his side was schooled by K-League outfit Ulsan Hyundai in the art of international football in midweek.
That Brisbane came up against players the calibre of Kwak Tae-Hwi, Lee Keun-Ho and Juan Estiven Velez in their AFC Champions League clash will help the Roar ahead of their Hyundai A-League decider against Perth Glory.
After all, the Roar may not be the best team in Asia but to my mind they-re the best team in Australia.
What Postecoglou must do – aside from continue to dampen the distraction of rumours linking him to the Melbourne Victory hotseat – is use the disappointment of losing to Ulsan to drive his team forward against the Glory.
That shouldn-t be a problem for a team burning with desire to win its second straight A-League title and the Roar have a handful of players looking to make amends for midweek.
Gangly defender Sayed Mohamed Adnan hasn-t been in the best of form of late and the former Bahrain international will be desperate to make up for giving away the winning penalty against Ulsan.
For all his industry, midfielder Mitch Nichols will also be aiming for a more positive outcome against Perth, while the man most in need of a decisive display is playmaker Thomas Broich.
The German star has failed to stamp his authority on the Champions League – so quick are Asian defences to push up and mark the former Bundesliga player – and Broich will be keen to unleash his frustrations on the Glory.
He-s clearly a match-winner but some relatively quiet displays of late could mean the mercurial Broich is about to explode back into life and prove a telling influence on the most important game of the season.
The Glory back four will have their work cut out containing Brisbane-s much-vaunted attacking power but the likes of Bas van den Brink and converted defender Steve Pantelidis have shown plenty of steely resolve to get this far.
And Perth have plenty of attacking talent of their own, not least in the form of star striker Shane Smeltz. But while Smeltz is clearly Perth-s go-to man for goals, some consistent contributors could prove just as effective behind the scenes.
Glory coach Ian Ferguson will hope Brazilian midfielder Andrezinho is fit enough to feature because his crosses into the penalty area are an effective way of finding Smeltz.
But perhaps Perth-s most important player is skipper Jacob Burns. He drove home the decisive spot-kick in the Glory-s penalty shoot-out preliminary final win and having twice lost grand finals at National Soccer League side Sydney United, the combative midfielder is keen to make it a case of third-time lucky.
Where the game could be won and lost is through Burns- ability to break down Brisbane-s distribution in midfield. If Thomas Broich can be starved of possession – as Ulsan proved in midweek – Perth will go a long way towards causing an upset.
They-re rank outsiders to do so and with 50,000 orange-clad fans roaring Brisbane on at a sold-out Suncorp Stadium, Perth will be up against it from the outset.
I can-t see them beating the Roar in their own backyard but then the beauty of finals football is the chance for underdogs to cause an upset. Just ask Mariners coach Graham Arnold!
So I-m going to tip Brisbane to win their second successive championship and they may just well do it with a decisive contribution from Thomas Broich.
The grand final is upon us once again and if last year-s decider is anything to go by, it should be the game of the season.