PREVIEW: Much at stake in a ‘cracker’ men’s A-League grand final

No matter who wins Saturday’s men’s A-League grand final, football milestones will be set for Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory.

A win for host club Central Coast Mariners would give them a trophy treble, lifting the Championship crown to go with the Premiers’ Plate and AFC Cup already in their cabinet.

Main photo: Central Coast Mariners are hoping for back-to-back Championship wins.

Melbourne Victory get the chance to take home the A-League’s top prize for the seventh time, matching the record held by Sydney.

Melbourne Victory’s head coach Tony Popovich … will it be fifth time lucky?

Popovic looks to end losing streak

Saturday’s grand final will be the fifth for Melbourne Victory head coach Tony Popovic — and he’s yet to collect a winner’s medal.

He’s coached the runners-up four times, three with Western Sydney Wanderers (2013, 2014 and 2016) and once with Perth Glory (2019).

Impact of suspensions

Melbourne Victory midfielder Zinédine Machach can play in Saturday’s Grand Final after serving a two-game ban after his dismissal in the elimination final against Melbourne City for violent conduct.

However, Mariners assistant coach Danny Schofield will be missing from his team’s dugout after Football Australia suspended him for the final after he received a red card in the semi-final second leg against Sydney. Schofield copped two yellow cards in quick succession after arguing with referee Alireza Faghani.

Schofield vented his frustrations with a middle finger salute to the television cameras.

Football Australia have confirmed the terms of Schofield’s ban:

“Schofield is prohibited from being in the dressing rooms, tunnel, field of play, technical area, or any area which the players may prepare for the match and is prohibited from having any contact with media within two hours before the grand final.

“However, pursuant to the regulations, Schofield may enter the field of play to participate in post-match presentations at the conclusion of the match.”

Award-winning referee in the middle

The grand final will have Alex King as its referee, with Kearney Robinson and Brad Wright as his assistants. King has been named Referee of the Year for the 2023-24 men’s A-League season.

READ MORE: Alex King wins top award and will referee men’s A-League grand final >>>>

Ange Postecoglou looking forward to ‘cracking’ final

Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou says he’ll be watching as Central Coast Mariners host Melbourne Victory in the Isuzu UTE A-League grand final, and believes it will be a ‘cracking’ game.

Record crowd is anticipated

In partnership with Boost Mobile and the Central Coast Council, the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) has boosted the capacity of Industree Group Stadium for the grand final.

Due to high demand, Boost Mobile has come to the party to help give more people the opportunity to attend the match.

With the current ground capacity set at 20,059, the additional seating is set to help surpass the all-time ground record for what will be the highest-attended match ever played at Industree Group Stadium.


Central Coast Mariners

2. Mikael DOKA, 3. Brian KALTAK, 4. Josh NISBET, 6. Max BALARD, 7. Christian THEOHAROUS, 9. Alou KUOL, 14. Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 15. Storm ROUX, 16. Harry STEELE, 17. Jing REEC, 18. Jacob FARRELL, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (c), 22. Ronald BARCELLOS, 23. Dan HALL, 26. Brad TAPP, 30. Jack WARSHAWSKY, 33. Nathan PAULL, 37. Bailey BRANDTMAN, 39. Miguel DI PIZIO, 99. Ryan EDMONDSON

Ins: 14. Dylan WENZEL-HALLS (promoted), 31. Bailey BRANDTMAN (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 5. Noah SMITH (injured), 27. Sasha KUZEVSKI (injured)

Melbourne Victory

2. Jason GERIA, 3. Adama TRAORE, 5. Damien DA SILVA, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 7. Chris IKONOMIDIS, 8. Zinedine MACHACH, 10. Bruno FORNAROLI, 11. Ben FOLAMI, 14. Connor CHAPMAN, 17. Nishan VELUPILLAY, 19. Daniel ARZANI, 20. Paul IZZO, 21. Roderick MIRANDA, 22. Jake BRIMMER, 23. Salim KHELIFI, 25. Ryan TEAGUE, 27. Jordi VALADON, 28. Roly BONEVACIA, 37. Kasey BOS, 40. Christian SICILIANO

Ins: 6. Leigh BROXHAM (promoted), 8.Zinedine MACHACH (returns from suspension)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: Nil


Game to be played on Saturday May 25, 2024

Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Victory
Industree Group Stadium, Gosford, 9.45pm (NZT)

The match will broadcast live in New Zealand by Sky Sport:

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