Sport Football Roar determined to create first A-League dynasty

Roar determined to create first A-League dynasty

A-League grand final
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Brisbane took no offence when the Western Sydney Wanderers arrived five minutes late on Saturday for their A-League grand final eve media conference.

But they were determined to have the last word on the season decider, and doubted the impact of the Wanderers’ travelling fan group, the ‘Red and Black Bloc’, at a huge Suncorp Stadium.

Roar coach Mike Mulvey and an equally tense skipper Matt Smith appeared in no mood to waste time on grand final eve after waiting in vain for their rivals to join them on Saturday.

“Let’s get it started,” Mulvey said.

Asked if he was annoyed that the Wanderers were not on time, Mulvey said: “No, I just would hate to keep you guys waiting.

“You’ve got deadlines so I just thought it was best we started.”

They might be on the verge of becoming the A-League’s first three-time champions but Brisbane appeared intent on giving little else away before Wanderers coach Tony Popovic and captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley finally arrived at Suncorp Stadium.

But they did appear to doubt the impact of Western Sydney’s legendary fan base which was due to send 10,000 to the sold-out 52,500-capacity venue on Sunday.

“Home-ground advantage is massive,” Mulvey said.

“The Wanderers are allegedly bringing 10,000 fans.

“I’ve been in their stadium and it has a wonderful atmosphere but it is also one sided.

“We have a chance for our fans to out-sing them tomorrow.

“They make a lot of noise but their stadium is very petite – this is a vast stadium.”

Still looking for a grand final angle, reporters asked Popovic whether he was offended that the Roar had started without him before his arrival.

“I didn’t think of it that way. I have no problem at all,” he said.

The Brisbane camp only seemed vaguely riled when Smith was asked how much their semi-final loss last season to the Wanderers hurt.

“It was tough to take. Western Sydney picked up the Premiers Plate that night, too,” Smith said.

“There are certain things as a footballer in your career that you will never forget – that was one of them.”

In all, Brisbane have won just one of their past seven matches against Western Sydney – way back in November 2013 (3-1 at home).

Popovic said Mark Bridge (ankle) would be given until the last minute to prove his fitness despite not being named in the initial grand final squad.

And Mulvey gave the green light to young forward Dimitri Petratos (ankle) and Irish midfielder Liam Miller (groin).

Smith hinted the man to look out for was star striker Besart Berisha in his last game before joining Melbourne Victory.

“He’s still a Roar player and he wants to win,” he said.

“And when it comes to the big games, he rises to the occasion.”