Perth Glory have spent much of the season in the cellar but can a fairytale ending make up for last time?
The Finals say: Will a Cinderella story unfold?
Yes: If there is one club that deserve some luck in the Hyundai A-League finals it could be Perth Glory. For the last year they have been battered from pillar to post in the luck department, a thousand black cats crossing their path.
They copped a contentious penalty in the dying stages of last season-s Grand Final and had their dreams of Asia quashed by the AFC; now they enter the finals under a new coach, with a new mentality and they know how to play sudden-death football.
All this adds up to make the Glory an attractive finals proposition. They have the experience of having gone through it all before.
Even after a less-than-impressive 2012/13 season, the team is still full of players who exceeded expectations going so close in that campaign and would be happy to upset the apple cart once again.
Jacob Burns, Dean Heffernan, Liam Miller, Danny Vukovic, Josh Risdon and Shane Smeltz were all there for the Glory, giving Alistair Edwards-s squad a lot of big-game experience and defensive grit.
The best big-game player of the lot is Smeltz. At the time of writing the injured All White is rated a 50-50 chance of taking the field, but with his sense of occasion and willingness to play with injury, I-d wager he will take the field against Melbourne and give Victory-s troubled defence some real problems.
Here-s the other thing about the Glory; people were talking up their chances last year when their last five matches saw them go loss, win, win, loss, win.
This year they have entered the finals with form that reads win, win, loss, win, draw. Not bad for a team few pundits rate - and they beat Melbourne Victory during that run.
Should they win again in Melbourne, they would take on the Wanderers in the Grand Final qualifier and their form against the Premiers reads pretty well. The three matches have seen Perth lose 1-0 twice, one of those matches they dominated and were unlucky, the other they drew 1-1.
Chance for a Cinderella story? You bet!
No: The only link between Perth and Cinderella is that Glory have spent most of their season toiling in the basement, only to pop their head up when there-s a chance to go to the ball.
Admittedly Alistair Edwards has done a pretty good job of making Glory look prettier. In a matter of weeks, Glory have gone from route-one stuff to actually playing with the football.
But it-s too little too late. Despite the players- improved rates of possession, they-re still suffering the hangover from Ian Ferguson-s time at the club. That-s not a personal comment at the former boss, but rather a note that it-s extremely hard to alter a team-s style and strategy when you-re more than half the way through the season.
Injuries haven-t helped, with the loss of Travis Dodd and Shane Smeltz likely to be watching from the sidelines robbing Glory of their only real attacking weapons. Without them, Edwards will be reliant on a makeshift frontline that probably won-t even trouble the leaky Victory defence.
They are by far the competition-s lowest scorers this season - and consider that Glory haven-t kept a clean sheet since round 12 - it-s not hard to image that Victory-s daunting attacking trio of Flores, Rojas and Thompson could put Perth-s season to bed without a fairytale ending.