Call me what you want - it's never shaken my finals focus

 I had never experienced finals until I came to Australia and since I have fallen in love with them.

This is the first season in my A-League career I am not playing finals and I am devastated. I realise you don’t get these opportunities every year, and you must approach it like it’s your last chance and leave the pitch with no regrets.

I have been called everything, from crazy to selfish. But I don’t care – when I get to finals, I have only one thing on my mind. To win the trophy.

I remember my first trophy like it was yesterday, with Brisbane Roar in 2012. We beat Perth Glory 2-1 and I scored twice. It was an unbelievable atmosphere at Suncorp Stadium, really special.

Everybody spoke about the late penalty I won (Berisha stepped up to score the 94th minute winner) which a lot of people didn’t agree with, but nobody mentioned how well we played. Even if we did not get the penalty, I believe we would have won in extra-time.

READ: From failures to finalists: How Stajcic hothoused Mariners’ recovery

Berisha embraces Brisbane Roar legend Thomas Broich after winning the 2012 Grand Final
Berisha embraces Brisbane Roar legend Thomas Broich after winning the 2012 Grand Final

Brisbane was a very unique finals experience and we had pressure to win back-to-back, even though I was not there in the first season I had pressure on me to score. I really enjoyed playing under Ange Postecoglou, he was attacking and you always knew you would create chances to score.

My second title was with Brisbane two years later against Western Sydney - Ange was already coaching the Socceroos – and that was another amazing experience and atmosphere.

The trophy that stands out to me is my first year at Melbourne Victory, 2014-15. We were under pressure because the club was going through bad times, no trophy in six years, you could feel the tension at AAMI Park.

They signed me to make a difference and to score the first goal in the grand final against Sydney FC was special, we won 3-0.


The only grand final I have lost was 2017, and that was devastating. I scored in the 1-1 draw with Sydney FC but we lost on penalties.

The following season we beat Newcastle Jets to win, after we finished fourth. It shows you that anyone can win and I think it is very open this season.

The 2018 grand final was the only one I did not score in. it didn’t matter because we won the trophy, but as a striker you remember this.

I have scored lots of goals in my career, but the ones people remember most is the ones in the finals and grand final. I would love to have the chance to score again.

Finals is for me something exciting. I feel like it’s a different game, it’s what you work for all season.

I turn into a different person. I feel you have to train with intensity, maximum concentration and discipline.

Everything in training has to be perfect, mentally like it’s matchday, so when you play in a final or grand final it’s a continuation of training.

It will be tough to watch the finals after we missed out at Western United. But I want to be back next season.

  • Albania and Kosovo international striker Besart Berisha won the 2012 and 2014 grand finals with Brisbane Roar and the 2015 and 2018 titles with Melbourne Victory
Besart Berisha


Match details and ticketing information - Finals Series

Central Coast Mariners v Macarthur FC
Saturday, June 12 2021
Central Coast Stadium
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEST
Match Centre
GET TICKETS

Brisbane Roar v Adelaide United
Sunday, June 13 2021
Moreton Daily Stadium
Kick-off: 3.05pm AEST
Match Centre
GET TICKETS

Sydney FC v Highest Ranked Elimination Final Winner
Saturday, June 19 2021
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEST
Match Centre
GET TICKETS

Melbourne City v Lowest Ranked Elimination Final Winner
Sunday, June 20 2021
AAMI Park
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEST
Match Centre
Tickets: TBC

GRAND FINAL: Winner SF 1 v Winner SF2
Saturday, June 26 2021
Venue/kick-off/tickets: TBC

Note: Fixtures are subject to change. Please check www.a-league.com.au/fixtures for latest updates