Adelaide United defender Michael Marrone hopes Western Sydney may have already played their grand final, leaving them vulnerable for Sunday’s decider at Adelaide Oval after Sunday’s epic semi final.
Wanderers produced an incredible comeback at Wanderland two days ago, fighting back from 3-0 down to beat Brisbane Roar 5-4 after extra time in of the greatest games in Hyundai A-League history.
It was an emotional rollercoaster for players and fans alike, and while the manner of the victory could give Wanderers a confidence boost, playing 120 minutes of energy-sapping and mentally-draining football can take its toll.
In contrast, the Reds strolled through their semi-final 4-1 over Melbourne City and with an extra two days rest – and home ground advantage – should be cherry ripe by kick-off on Sunday afternoon.
“Hopefully they have played their grand final, hopefully,” Marrone told reporters on Tuesday.
“It was good for it go to extra-time.”
Sunday provides an opportunity for Adelaide to secure their first A-League championship, having lost deciders in 2007 and ’09 both to Melbourne Victory.
Marrone was an unused substitute in the most recent of those grand finals plans to make the most of this shot at glory.
“You don’t know how often these things come around. I probably took it for granted the first time,” the 29-year-old right-back said.
“But it’s a big deal. It’s a big thing to get into the grand final. It’s not easy with this competition being so close.
“So especially at home, we really have to take advantage of it.”
If the Reds were to win on Sunday it would cap a truly remarkable season for the club.
Finals football – let alone a Premiership and Championship double – seemed fanciful after eight rounds when the club was last and without a win.
But 20 games – and just one defeat later the side is on the cusp of history.
“We have been in the position where no-one wants to know us, eight or nine games into the season and sitting bottom of the table,” Marrone said.
“So we are just going to enjoy this week, definitely. You have got to enjoy these moments.
“They don’t come around too often, especially being at home, so we will enjoy it and prepare ourselves as best we can. But the story is not done yet.”
Star striker Bruce Djite – whose two goals helped account for City last Friday – was restricted to running laps at training on Tuesday but Marrone insisted he’s in no doubt for the grand final.
With the exception of Eli Babalj (knee), the Reds have a clean bill of health for Sunday’s clash.