Brisbane Roar’s Shane Stefanutto has revealed he’ll use his inside knowledge on former coach Ian Ferguson and old teammate Shane Smeltz to his advantage in Sunday’s Hyundai A-League Grand Final against Perth Glory.
Stefanutto began his career with Brisbane Strikers in the old National Soccer League under current Adelaide United coach John Kosmina, where the prolific Smeltz also played for the two seasons between 1999 and 2001.
The experienced defender had nothing but kind words to say about the Glory frontman but couldn’t help but made it clear friendship would come second come 4pm on Sunday afternoon.
“We have a fantastic history, I was at the Strikers with him back in the day when he was getting blasted by Kossie at every session,” Stefanutto chuckled.
“It’s just a fantastic story for Shane and the path that he’s taken and the success he’s had.
“I still feel he’s a Brisbane Strikers boy at heart and every time we see each other we say hello and have a chat about things like that.
“It’s just great for him and it was a big move for him to go from Gold Coast to Perth.
“Congratulations to him, good luck to him but I won’t be wishing him too much luck in this Grand Final, that’s for sure.”
After a six year stint in Europe with Norweigan clubs Lillestrom and Lille, Stefanutto returned to the Hyundai A-League via a chance with Ferguson, then coach of North Queensland Fury.
The Cairns-born player only represented the club on seven occasions due to injury before he made the move to Brisbane, but said his time up north was enough to grasp an understanding of Ferguson-s coaching abilities.
“He’s a good motivator, that’s one thing I learnt from North Queensland,” Stefanutto said.
“He’s very passionate and he’s a successful ex-player so I’m sure he will prepare them well because he’s played in a lot of big games for Rangers.
“The achievements speak for themselves so he’ll know how to prepare them.”
And while Stefanutto – who scored his first goal for Brisbane in Tuesday-s AFC Champions League 2-1 loss to Ulsan Hyundai – was aware of the threats that Perth’s individuals would pose on Grand Final day, he was confident a team effort would be enough to eliminate the combined threat of the Glory.
“I don’t think we can say that one person is going to do it for us,” he said.
“It will be a team performance from us.
“It will be each one of us backing each other up, it’ll be each one of us sticking to our structures and playing to our game plan and working harder than them.
“That’s where our success is built from and that’s what we have to do on the weekend.
“We’re not underestimating Perth Glory – we understand it’s going to be a tough game and that they’re going to come at us.
“We’ve going to have to match them and work harder than them and we’re taking nothing for granted, that’s for sure.”