The 2023 A-League Men’s Grand Final is upon us, with Melbourne City ramping up preparations for our clash against Central Coast Mariners at CommBank Stadium this Saturday night.
Having clinched the Premiers Plate, City breezed past Sydney FC in the second leg of the Semi Final to book our place in a highly anticipated fourth consecutive Grand Final.
Here’s everything you need to know!
STRONG RECORD AGAINST MARINERS
While finals are always a different ball game, City will no doubt be buoyed by the fact we not only have plenty of experience in finals, but boast a great record against the Mariners.
We’ve lost only two of our last 21 games against Central Coast, winning 15, including five of the last six.
While it is our first ever matchup against the Mariners in finals, our City boys are no strangers to the big stage, having reached the big dance in the past four seasons.
Our record in home matches couldn’t have been much better throughout the season, going undefeated, although we won’t be at AAMI Park come Saturday night.
That being said, we are also no stranger to putting in good performances at CommBank Stadium too, having lost just once at the venue.
On the flip side, the Mariners have won only one of their five games at the usual home of Western Sydney (D2, L2).
FINE FORM IN FRONT OF GOAL
While we may have led from the front all season long, your City boys are showing no sign of slowing down.
Rado Vidosic’s men are currently in some nice goal scoring form, finding the back of the net 18 times in our last seven fixtures.
Going into the second leg of last week’s do-or-die semi-final, the pressure was on for City to deliver after being forced to settle for a 1-1 draw a week prior.
City blew Sydney FC out of the water inside the opening 25 minutes of the contest, setting ourselves up for success to go on and find the back of the net four times.
With Marco Tilio in dazzling form, star Dutchman Richard van der Venne back to his old tricks, and the experienced duo of Jamie Maclaren and Mathew Leckie as hungry as ever, our attack is well and truly humming.
Also throwing in the fact that City hasn’t been held scoreless in our past 15 fixtures, fans can expect to see plenty of fireworks come Saturday night.
SENDING JAMO OUT ON A HIGH NOTE
While skipper Scott Jamieson won’t be lost to City after he hangs up the boots following Saturday’s Grand Final, the chance to finish off his playing days in the best possible fashion is no doubt an extra boost of motivation for City.
Set to join the coaching staff for next season, Jamieson is in the rare and fortunate position of being able to potentially play the final match of his career in a winning Grand Final side – what would be a fitting honour for one of City’s most loyal and much-loved servants.
Jamieson said that the opportunity to close the chapter on his playing career in a Grand Final is one he definitely appreciates, but won’t play a factor come Saturday.
“It would be a dream if it did finish the way I’d like it to finish, but nothing about Saturday night changes,” Jamieson said.
Having led City to so much success over his storied career, Jamieson said the club will always be a place he calls home.
“I see Melbourne City as home,” Jamieson said, “It’s special to have that attachment to a great club and group of people.
“Having been here for a long time and the achievements we’ve had as a club and being a part of it all, it is home.”
CHASING GRAND FINAL SUCCESS ONCE AGAIN
Speaking of our skipper, City fans won’t ever be forgetting his heroics against Sydney FC in the 2021 A-League Grand Final, where he stepped up to slot a crucial penalty in arguably the most memorable moment in club history.
While we all remember the sweet taste of victory in 2021, we of course don’t forget the pain of last year’s decider where we fell to Western United.
With largely a very similar squad to that of 2022, our boys will be eager to learn from past mistakes and ensure we go all the way this time around.
Just the three players from that Grand Final starting XI have left the club (Rostyn Griffiths, Carl Jenkinson and Connor Metcalfe), although their departures have been softened by the arrival of key players such as Richard van der Venne, Valon Berisha and Thomas Lam.
We also of course have seen the likes of Jordan Bos and Marco Tilio’s development progress in leaps and bounds in the 2022/23 season, so you can imagine the boys will all be right up for the fight come Saturday night!
How have our opponents been travelling?
Central Coast’s Semi Final was a slightly different story to ours, leaving its first leg in Adelaide up 2-1 thanks to goals to James McGarry and Jason Cummings.
A professional performance at home the following weekend then saw the Mariners book their ticket to the Grand Final with a 4-1 win on aggregate.
What happened last time?
We last met back in mid-April, on a memorable night that potentially could’ve been even more memorable…
City fans won’t soon be forgetting Jordan Bos’ cracking opener in the 63rd minute, which could’ve been the goal that sealed our third consecutive Premiership.
It wasn’t to be though, as Josh Nisbet equalised 15 minutes later and ensured the champagne remained on ice for another week.
A-League Men: Grand Final
Melbourne City FC v Central Coast Mariners
Saturday 3 June, 7:45pm