Preview: Grand Final v Newcastle


Melbourne Victory is aiming to win a record fourth Hyundai A-League Championship when it takes on the Newcastle Jets in the Grand Final.


The three-time champion reached a record sixth decider with a thrilling 3-2 Semi Final win over Sydney FC.

An enthralling encounter was settled in extra time, when Terry Antonis scored a stunning winner to send Victory into the Grand Final.

Antonis had earlier set up Kosta Barbarouses for his ninth league goal of the season, while James Troisi also struck before an Antonis own goal sent the clash into extra time.

Victory has claimed three straight wins in all competitions and seven of its past nine in the Hyundai A-League heading into Saturday’s clash at a sold-out McDonald Jones Stadium.

Its front four of Besart Berisha, Leroy George, Barbarouses and Troisi have all scored in Victory’s two finals wins.

However, it is again set to be without Rhys Williams after the star defender injured his calf in the warm-up against Sydney FC.

Victory stalwart Leigh Broxham and Berisha are set to equal the Hyundai A-League record for most Grand Final appearances with five.

Berisha has scored in each of his previous four deciders, including in Victory’s 2015 success, for a joint-record five Grand Final goals – a mark he shares with Archie Thompson.

Victory is playing its third Grand Final in four seasons, while the Jets are in their second decider and first since 2008.

Newcastle came from behind to edge City in its Semi Final, booking a home final after finishing second in the regular season.

Player in focus

What they said

“I just have never really focused on opposition teams, I’ve never really talked much about them. I just feel as though if we get our shape defensively right and we zonally mark whoever comes in, from there the way we attack is more direct than most teams, but with second options and third options and I’ll always coach like that. You have to respect any team that we’re playing in the Grand Final because there’s a reason why they’re in the Grand Final and Victory are a very good team, but we’ll focus on how we play.” – Jets head coach Ernie Merrick.

“Our focus has been pretty clear throughout and I also think it’s important to embrace and enjoy good moments so we certainly did do that on Saturday night but it’ll be down to business. We’ve not achieved exactly what we want to achieve so far, but I don’t think I’ve worked with a more resilient group than the one I’ve got at the moment. It was unbelievable what they went through and the performance they put on.  I can only imagine how our members and fans felt watching that and the pride that they would have enjoyed and we made a lot of people happy on Saturday night and we certainly look to do that again on Saturday.” – Victory head coach Kevin Muscat.

Last time

Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Round 19
Newcastle Jets 2-0 Melbourne Victory
Saturday, February 3, 2018
McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

Victory was unfortunate to suffer defeat when the teams met for the final time in the regular season.

It had multiple opportunities, but goals in either half from Nigel Boogaard and Riley McGree saw the Jets to their win.

Head to head

Round 19, 2017/18: Jets 2-0 Victory at McDonald Jones Stadium
Round 13, 2017/18: Victory 2-1 Jets at AAMI Park
Round 8, 2017/18: Jets 4-1 Victory at McDonald Jones Stadium
Round 19, 2016/17: Jets 0-0 Victory at McDonald Jones Stadium
Round 13, 2016/17: Victory 4-2 Jets at Simonds Stadium

Match details

Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory
McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Saturday, 5 May 2018
7:50pm (Local) (7:50pm AEST)

Referee: Jarred Gillett
Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Cream
Assistant Referee 2: Paul Cetrangolo
Fourth Official: Kurt Ams
Fifth Official: Andrew Lindsay
Video Assistant Referee: Craig Zetter

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 501 from 7.00pm (AEST), ONE from 7.00pm (AEST) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: (1377AM Classic Rock Melbourne, 2SM & SRN, SWR99.9 and SportFM Perth). ABC News on Radio, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Listen App – A-League Live.

Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Jack DUNCAN (Gk), 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Dimi PETRATOS, 8.Ronald VARGAS, 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 11.Patricio RODRIGUEZ, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 16.Nick COWBURN, 17.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 19.Kosta PETRATOS, 20.Glen MOSS (Gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 24.Joseph CHAMPNESS, 27.Riley MCGREE, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY

Ins: 13.Ivan VUJICA (promoted), 19.Kosta PETRATOS (promoted)
Outs: Nil
Unavailable: 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI (hamstring – 2 weeks), 10.Wayne BROWN (calf – 2 weeks)
**two to be omitted**

Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Matt ACTON (Gk), 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Kenny ATHIU, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.James TROISI, 14.Thomas DENG, 16.Josh HOPE, 17.James DONACHIE, 18.Matias SANCHEZ, 19. Pierce WARING, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (Gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 22. Stefan NIGRO, 23.Jai INGHAM, 24.Terry ANTONIS, 31.Christian THEOHAROUS, 41.Leroy GEORGE

Ins: 19.Pierce WARING (promoted), 23.Jai INGHAM (promoted)
Outs: Nil
Unavailable: 4.Rhys Williams (calf), 11.Mitch AUSTIN (knee)
**two to be omitted**