Both Patrick Kisnorbo and Steve Corica will be looking to write history in Sunday’s A-League Grand Final.
After having finished 1st and 2nd respectively, both managers are primed to bring their game in order to win the A-League’s ultimate prize.
Corica has the opportunity to establish his Sydney FC side as one of the A-League’s great teams as he seeks to make history by becoming the first manager to have ever won three consecutive A-League Championships.
Corica sees Sunday’s Grand Final as the perfect opportunity to make this impression.
“No one has ever done this in A-League history, so they’ve gotta be up there if they can do it tomorrow”
Despite these ambitions, Corica has directed his focus on the job at hand.
“It’s gonna be a lot of hard work before that happens and we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.
“We know how good of a team they (Melbourne City) are but we have some quality players and a lot of experienced players”.
Corica sees this experience as an important cog in the team ahead of the Grand Final.
“I think everyone in the squad tomorrow has either played in a Grand Final or won it so that stands us in good stead heading into the game”.
On the flip side, Kisnorbo will be supported by almost 15,000 raucous Melbourne City supporters as he seeks to avenge last season’s Grand Final loss in Sunday’s rematch.
After being named the A-League’s Coach of the Year in this week’s Dolan Warren Awards, Kisnorbo will aim to cap off a Premiership season by leading City to the prized crown of an A-League Championship – an honour which has eluded all previous managers of the football club.
Despite the possibilities of writing himself into City folklore by becoming the first manager to deliver a Championship, Kisnorbo remains focused on the task at hand.
“I’m not even thinking of that to be honest.
“I’m just thinking of the process that we need to follow and what we need to do for tomorrow’s game”.
After swiftly escaping Sydney before border closures into Victoria, the Sky Blues will play the role of pantomime villain as they aim to spoil City’s home party.
Despite the rush to get to Victoria, Sydney’s preparations remain the same, albeit while ensuring the squad practices their penalties in case the teams cannot be split in regular and extra time.
“Training program was much the same and we do add in the penalties, we did it before the Semi-Final and obviously we’ve done it before this game as well just so I know who I’ve got in line to take them” Corica said.
“Other than that, everything else has been the same, trying to keep everything much the same.
“We don’t want to do too much different during Grand Final week, so it’s business as usual”.
The harboursiders will be sweating on the fitness of 2021 Johnny Warren Medallist Milos Ninković after he missed last weekend’s Semi-Final victory against Adelaide. Ninković is the fulcrum of Sydney’s creative department and has chipped in with 4 goals and 4 assists this season whilst starring alongside Luke Brattan and Anthony Caceres.
Corica will give Ninković every opportunity to prove his fitness ahead of the Grand Final.
“He’s been training by himself, we’ll see how he goes today, today is D-Day for him and we’ll see how he goes after training”.
Sydney’s manager also offered positive news on this front declaring that he expects the two-time Johnny Warren Medallist to feature in the Grand Final.
“I do (expect him to feature), I hope so and we need him to”
The City camp are facing similar injury worries with accomplished wingers Craig Noone and Andrew Nabbout racing to prove their fitness ahead of Sunday’s decider.
Kisnorbo remained unsure of the pair’s fitness but will give them every chance to feature in the Grand Final.
“We’ll have to see tomorrow (whether they will play).
“I need to get back to the club and just do a couple of things, see how training went and speak to the medical department – I can’t give you an actual answer now.
“We will give them every chance (to prove their fitness), if that means today, if that means tomorrow so be it, we’ll give them every chance to be available”.
Despite their injury struggles in the attacking third, City has remained rock solid at the back in the absence of Socceroo Curtis Good. A large reason for this is the leadership and technical ability of Portuguese centre-half Nuno Reis who starred in last week’s Semi-Final where the team kept a clean sheet against Macarthur FC.
“Nuno is great, he’s a great professional, a great leader and he works incredibly hard and is self-disciplined.
“We know these are the sort of characteristics we want in our team and credit to him he’s done a really good job since he’s come in”.
Ultimately, Sunday’s Grand Final looms as a test of each manager’s resolve as they seek to bring glory to their respective clubs.