The Roar’s A-League Men Tips and Predictions: Grand Final

There are only two dancers left on the A-League floor as the season comes to a close at the Industre Group Stadium in Gosford this Saturday night.

The Mariners have earned the right to defend their title and Victory have fought their way into the decider after dashing the Kiwi hopes last weekend.

While the smart money will lead the way for the Central Coast, the visitors are not without hope and will be planning the greatest performance in A-League history.

Enjoy the contest and thank you for being part of Roar’s A-League betting for 2023/24.

Join me for a live call of the final game of the season on Saturday night and prepare for something similar during Euro 2024 in Germany in three weeks.

Here are the thoughts of the panel heading into the grand final and who they think will be holding the toilet seat up on Saturday night.

Daniel Arzani. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Texi Smith

central coast

The scene is set, fireworks will explode, cannons will explode, sauce bottles will be over-pressured and Marvin will do it big in front of the packed bay. What a night we have at the Central Coast Stadium, as a week of incredible football brings the curtain down on the 2023/24 season.

The Mariners know they must do better than what they did against Sydney FC last week. For much of the match, the visitors besieged the palm tree area and only the referees prevented an embarrassing defeat at home.

This time they host Melbourne Victory, fresh off a powerful robbery in Wellington, ready to defeat whoever stands between them and championship glory. It’s a fascinating showdown. Bruno Fornaroli will be at his best and it is no surprise when he finishes off a delicate cross from Daniel Arzani near the near post to take an early lead.

The hosts have been burning the candle at both ends as the season reaches its climax, traveling to magical lands and returning with silverware, and there will be an element of fatigue in their game as Victory keep their defensive block firm until well after the half. time. .

The equalizer comes from Jacob Farrell, a guaranteed starter in any A-League All Stars team, and he rises to score at the far post after some great work from Mikael Doka.

Victory reacts and Nishan Velupillay hits the post, Kasey Bos shoots into the face of Brian Kaltack on the line, who doesn’t flinch, and finally the Mariners get the game back in their favor.

Ángel Torres of the Mariners celebrates a goal

Angel Torres of the Central Coast Mariners celebrates a goal. (Photo by Kelly Barnes/Getty Images)

We will have to wait until the 81st minute for the decisive moment to arrive, and it is a direct move from the training field. A ball into the area for Josh Nisbet, the touch to the runner who makes the baseline, and there is Max Balard with a diving header to send the fans into delirium.

The Central Coast Mariners are the champions. They are the prime ministers. They are the winners of the AFC Cup. Immerse it.

Stuart Thomas

central coast

The performance gap between the Mariners and Victory throughout the season has been immense. Barring the early weeks when Melbourne couldn’t lose and the reigning champions couldn’t win, it’s been a matter of chalk and cheese in terms of who looked likely to feature in a grand final.

Yet somehow Tony Popovic’s side are there and in the fight, and the cut-throat nature of the game now presents them with a real chance to claim the title and send the Mariners away with nothing; something they simply don’t deserve. But do we deserve something in the field of sports?

Logic says the weight of attacking ability in the Mariners’ stock will see them rampant in the second half and unless Victory can do something notable early, Gosford will be on and exploding around 10pm.

Well played Mariners, a wonderful and unprecedented hat trick by a magnificent Australian rules football team.

Andrew Prentice

central coast

The world’s toughest league to tip the scales reaches its nadir on Saturday night at a packed Central Coast Stadium. My advice is half heart, half head, because I can really see Victory snatching the title in similar fashion to their crushing foray into Newcastle in 2018. That would be a travesty.

Brian Kaltak celebrates scoring against Western United

Brian Kaltak of the Mariners celebrates his goal with his teammates. (Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images)

The Mariners have been a revelation this season, bouncing back from a terrible first month to claw their way to two titles so far. Saturday night is the big day, and this football lover hopes to find the energy for another 90-120 tense minutes.

The Mariners showed signs of their chaotic season last Saturday when Sydney FC really tested them in the second leg of their semi-final. They had not gone goalless since March 30, once again at the hands of the Sky Blues. Ironically, it came after their first full week without a midweek flight or game in a long time.

Perhaps Mariners coach Mark Jackson should take the team to Oman and return on Wednesday to get them back into their regular routine. The Victory will have seen the way Sydney put pressure on the Mariners and will likely try to do the same in the decider, and they certainly have the personnel to accomplish the task.

A big plus for Victory coach Tony Popovic is the return from suspension of Zinedine Machach, whose strength and attacking instincts will cause the Mariners defensive problems.

Tony Popovic reaches his fourth A-League grand final as coach, with only a haul of runners-up medals to show for his considerable influence and tactical acumen.

Will that statistic change in his favor on Saturday night? On the other bench, Mark Jackson has performed miracles as a coach to get his team to this point.

It is surprising to think that many were asking for his head after the first month. He will feel a little lonely on the pine with his assistant Danny Schofield suspended after receiving two yellow cards within seconds of Sgt Faghani in the semi-final.

Ultimately, this will be decided by narrow margins. Only one match has been decided by more than one goal in the final phase. I don’t expect any 6-1 beating like last year.

It could be 1-0 either way, and the middle of my tip leans only toward the Mariners in their beautiful, packed, sold-out house.

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