Perth Glory have ticked just about every box this season.
They’ve recruited well, completed a solid pre-season, had their 3-4-2-1 formation prepared from Round 1, scored the most goals, conceded the least, won the most games, lost the least, took out the Premier’s Plate and brought silverware back to a city that had been starved for many years.
And now, there’s just one item left on the list.
The A-League Grand Final.
Football director and former Glory captain Jacob Burns says there is a real buzz about the town in the lead in to the big day this weekend.
“Winning the Premiership is one thing and now to hopefully lift the trophy come Sunday, would be the icing on the cake!” Burns told Evenings on FNR.
“We’ve always known the Perth public have been craving a team that could make a final and be successful – they’ve had some great times in the past in the late 90s and early 2000s.
“In the A-League we’ve managed to make a few grand finals, but not actually win it – hopefully it’s our turn this time.”
Ahead of Sunday, the team have tested the surface at Optus Stadium, which is set to be a sellout and record A-League attendance. However, competing codes in the area mean the club have to be efficient with their time.
“There’s an AFL game there [Optus] on Friday night, so the times are limited.
“It is a hard surface so you want to get on there early and get a good hit out on there to get a feel for what it’s all about.”
“Both teams are going to have to adjust and deal with what they’re not used to, that’s what GFs [sic] are all about – they’re often played in big venues where you can get in as many people in as you can, and our guys are more than prepared for it,” Burns said.
The Glory had an epic game in the semi-final against Adelaide United – goalkeeper Liam Reddy was the hero: saving penalties, converting penalties.
The moment took Burns back to his playing days – particularly in 2012.
“I did [get deja vu] to be honest, I’m always watching from up in the technical box and I had to go down pitch side for the shootout – which I don’t normally do.
“It was fantastic, I don’t think I had many nails left by the end of it. For myself, being in that situation I could really feel how the guys would be feeling at that moment.
“It’s never easy to a) put up your hand and take one and b) to be able to technically execute what’s asked of you and put the ball in the back of the net.
“It might seem easy for some, but I can assure you it’s a fair challenge both mentally and physically.”
There have been many highs for the club this season, however Burns reflected on one particular moment.
“You set out your sights really early, more than a year ago, to change the direction of where we’re heading and hopefully achieve success:
“Winning a Premiership, winning silverware and qualifying for the Asian Champions League.
“I think that moment when we did, we knew that mathematically we had won the Premiership – that was a very humbling moment for myself – it was very rewarding knowing that what started out as a vision, for it to be reality, really hit home at that moment when we knew we had won the Premiership on points.”
A-League 2019 Grand Final
Perth Glory v Sydney FC
Optus Stadium, Perth
Sunday 19 May 2019
Kick-Off: 4:30pm (Local) (6:30pm AEST)