Archie: Rivalry to peak

Another chapter of the biggest rivalry in the Hyundai A-League will be written at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night and Melbourne striker Archie Thompson is treating the match against Sydney as a 'mini-Grand Final'.

Another chapter of the biggest rivalry in the Hyundai A-League will be written at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night and Melbourne striker Archie Thompson is treating the match against Sydney as a 'mini-Grand Final'.

The two teams have had some memorable matches in years gone by, but as it stands at the moment the Victory are slightly in front of the head-to-head ledger at 5-4 with five draws.

The duo have been the two best teams this year and currently sit first and second on the table and a win for Melbourne this week will give it a six-point buffer at the top of the ladder.

The Sky Blues have a good record in Melbourne with two wins and a draw in the last four matches, but it was the most recent game, which resulted in a 3-0 victory to Sydney, that is still playing on the mind of Thompson.

"Obviously we wanted to prove a point last weekend due to the fact that we lost 4-0 at home. We hate losing at home and obviously Sydney too who are three points off top … It's like a mini-Grand Final," Thompson said after training on Tuesday morning.

"We go into every match wanting to win and we know that Sydney have one over us at home and it was a clinical performance from them but I think now we're starting to put two halves together and when we do put two halves together it showed last Saturday."

"We're first and second so obviously it shows on the board that maybe we are the top two forms teams at the moment."

Midfielder Tom Pondeljak has only been at the Victory since 2008, but as a native Melbournian he knows what the rivalry is all about and hopes to come out a winner on Saturday night.

"It's always the big rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne, who has the better sporting supporter and spectators and whatever. It's a big rivalry, it always has been regardless of whether it's football, AFL or rugby league so we're looking forward to a big clash," he said.

"There's a big history in regards to sporting rivalries between the two states Victoria and New South Wales. It's state versus state and I've always seen myself as a Melbournian and I'll definitely be up for the game."

Nick Ward, who is likely to return to the starting line-up after missing last week's win over Central Coast through suspension, believes the rivalry is the biggest in the Hyundai A-League.

"The two cities have always hated each other, the two main cities of Australia and everybody likes to say which one is better," he said.

Ward also singled out Sky Blues striker Alex Brosque as one player that the Victory defence will have to keep a close eye on.

"When they played us they looked very organised … we've got to be careful of Brosquey, he's hitting some form at the moment … we'll be watching out for Brosquey because he's lightning," he added.

The Victory will have even more incentive to get a result on the weekend as skipper Kevin Muscat becomes just the second Australian in history to make 500 league appearances.