Fresh from an epic semi final, Western Sydney Wanderers are back in the big dance and taking on Adelaide United in Sunday’s Hyundai A-League Grand Final at Adelaide Oval.
Having lost two deciders in the last three years, Wanderers finally must shed the bridesmaids tag and secure a piece of silverware that’s proved elusive in their short history.
Here are five reasons why Wanderland's trophy cabinet could have a new addition after Sunday’s season finale in the City of Churches.
“Popa” demands a winning mentality - that's how he won an Asian Champions League and a Premiership in just four years. And he's been planning this day for a very long time. His meticulous approach and calmness under pressure transmits to his team.
He was electric last Sunday. The atmosphere lifted him - it felt like playing back in Europe. And Sunday in Adelaide will actually be 50,000 in the stands. He looms as Wanderers' X Factor.
While the home side should have the majority of support, there will be around 10,000 Red and Black clad fans making the trip to Adelaide. Airlines are being forced to hastily organise extra flights to cope with the demand. As we saw against Roar on Sunday, that kind of support is special - those fans in red and black are a sight to behold and sound to behold.
Coopers Stadium was rocking last Friday night and helped the Reds steamroll Melbourne City. While Adelaide Oval allows for more fans to be there, it is certainly a less intimidating venue for opposition sides than at Hindmarsh. The Reds’ record at Adelaide Oval isn’t exactly compelling either, while the slick surface will suit the Wanderers’ passing game.
1: DestinyThere’s nothing like an incredible win to inject a side with a huge dose of self belief. Having to come from 3-0 down to win a semi-final 5-4 will have the Wanderers feeling ten feet tall. The Wanderers have been grand final bridesmaids twice (losing to Mariners in 2013 and Brisbane a year later) in their short history. Sure the Reds have fallen on the final day of the season - twice no less - but you get the sense the Wanderers won’t stand for heartbreak a third time in four seasons. They'll feel it's their destiny.