Paul Izzo ahead of Saturday’s do-or-die clash: ‘’We’re looking at writing our own history.’’

Our boys in blue are aiming to stop the Mariners’ campaign for back-to-back Grand Final wins; looking to become one of the most successful A-League teams in the process.

As the wait for the 2024 Isuzu UTE A-League Grand Final becomes shorter and shorter, anticipation grows for a clash that is sure to go down in the history books as an A-Leagues epic. The Central Coast Mariners are hosting Melbourne Victory in a sold-out match for the ages. Paul Izzo, who’s been a brick wall throughout this finals campaign, gave his insight into how the boys are feeling in the lead up to the big dance.

“Obviously really excited now. It’s a travel day so we’re getting closer and closer, and all the boys are really eager and keen to get down there,” he said

As the boys travelled up to Gosford on Thursday, Izzo outlined the schedule: “Today we’ll get there and pretty much get settled in. Tomorrow we’ll have a live session and then that’s it. Next day is the big dance.”

Saturday’s clash will take place at Industree Group Stadium in Gosford, and last week’s extra-time heartstopper win in Wellington was ample practice for the boys, Izzo says.

“No doubt [the game] will be similar to last week. We played in front of thirty thousand Wellington fans, so I think that’s perfect preparation for us. Obviously, the stakes are just a bit higher. We’re ready for the challenge and we can’t wait,” he explained.

The Mariners came out on top of the ladder this season, winning seventeen of their twenty-seven matches, and are looking to finish this off by securing back-to-back championships. But our boys in blue are not opposed to pulling off an upset if the last few weeks are any indication.

“I think the previous three weeks, we’ve been able to show what we can do on a big occasion when it comes down to finals games, tactics…make an impact on the game,” Izzo said.

“But it’s also crucial moments in games that ultimately decide who’s the winner.”

Izzo is certainly no stranger to the crucial moments. His heroics in the Elimination Final against Melbourne City elevated the game to the status of instant classic, saving four penalties and slotting one of his own in front of the Victory faithful, taking the boys charging ahead to the Semi-Finals. If moments like that are any insight into what’s to come this Saturday, we’re certainly in for a show.

A win this weekend would be monumental for the boys and the fans, in more ways than just laying claim to the coveted Champions Trophy. This Grand Final is Victory’s seventh appearance on the big stage, equalling Sydney FC. A win would add a fifth trophy to Victory championship cabinet and equalise Sydney FC’s five championship wins: the most in the A-League’s history.

Izzo concedes that these records add some pressure and expectation but are not at the front of the playing group’s minds.

“We’re kind of looking at writing our own history. We’re not too hell-bent on records, our main focus is on ourselves, and really what’s best for us and obviously the club and its fans,” he said.

The 2024 Isuzu UTE A-League Grand Final is on Saturday the 25th of May at 7:45pm AEST and can be viewed live on Network 10 and streamed on 10 Play and Paramount+. Additionally, fans can enjoy the action and atmosphere at AAMI Park for free at the official Melbourne Victory Grand Final Live Site. Gates open at 6:45pm.