Hyundai A-League Grand Final: four key match-ups

All roads lead to McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday night for the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Grand Final between the Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory.

It promises to be a tight and hard-fought decider, often determined by which players can stand up and win their individual battles.

We look at four key match-ups which may go a long way to deciding the outcome of Saturday night's sold out showdown in the Hunter.

Jets skipper Nigel Boogaard v Victory striker Besart Berisha

A few weeks ago it looked unlikely that the Newcastle Jets skipper would even be kicking a ball, let alone leading his side into battle.

But such has been his recovery from the knee-break he suffered in early March, Boogaard will be a key figure for his side on the final day of the season.

And he'll need to be, because Berisha is absolutely lethal in finals football and Victory's most obvious source of front-third inspiration.

If Boogaard can contain Berisha, the Jets go a long way towards lifting the Championship trophy, but if Berisha gets the upper hand Victory must be favourites to claim the silverware.

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Jets defender Daniel Georgievski v Victory winger Leroy George

After three seasons with Victory, Georgievski made the switch to the Jets and has been a key figure in their consistent defensive performances, as well as providing plenty on attack.

Now, in one of those wonderful twists of fate that football can throw up, he'll face his former employers in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final.

And it could hardly be a more critical role for the ex-Victory man as he is tasked with shackling one of the competition's most effective attacking talents.

George has been an absolute stand-out in his first season in Australia, creating and scoring goals and proving to be a very real threat at set-piece time.


Jets hitman Roy O'Donovan v Victory centre-back James Donachie

It's been an at times frustrating first Jets season for the fiery Irishman who started with a bang, scoring seven goals in the first five games before succumbing to a pair of injuries which have limited his game time.

But O'Donovan is a proven and potent goalscorer who can hurt any opposition at this level if given the time and space to do so.

Donachie too had to overcome injury before taking his place in the Victory back four during the business end of the season, but he's quickly proved his worth with a series of typically robust performances.

One thing is for sure - neither of these two passionate players will take a backward step, meaning their personal battle could be one of the flash-points of an already intriguing encounter.

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Jets playmaker Dimi Petratos v Victory midfielder Terry Antonis

Petratos has had a simply superb season, earning Caltex Socceroos selection and time and again providing the attacking spark and creativity to drive his team forward.

When they've been in need of inspiration, the Jets have more often than not looked in his direction and he has consistently delivered on that responsibility.

Since joining Victory in January, Antonis has featured in every match and shown the sort of ability which saw him turn heads as a teenager in the Hyundai A-League and earn an overseas move in 2015.

His resilience and drive was on full display in his redemptive performance in the semi-final win over Sydney FC and he's set to be a key figure again on Saturday evening.