Star striker Jamie Maclaren has appealed to Brisbane fans to make Suncorp a wall of noise in Friday night’s Elimination Final between Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory at Suncorp.
The Hyundai A-League Finals Series kicks off on Friday night in Brisbane with two former champions meeting less than a week after their 0-0 draw in the final round of the season in Melbourne.
It's do-or-die for both proud clubs and the Brisbane fans, said Maclaren, can be the 12th man.
“We know now it's elimination. If you win you go through, if you lose you go home," Maclaren told reporters on Thursday.
"We don’t want our season to finish just now.
“[But] our fans are amazing. It shows why we have the best home record in the league and tomorrow hopefully it’s a bigger crowd than usual.
"They definitely do lift us.”
And an intriguing sub-plot to what should be a pulsating battle between the two attack-minded sides is Maclaren versus Berisha.
The head-to-head battle is only possible after Berisha won a reprieve with the MRP this week, seeing his two-game ban for violent conduct slashed in half.
Maclaren – who has 18 goals for the season to Berisha’s 17 – said he was looking forward to the battle.
“It’s always [billed as] striker v striker but we’re on the opposite sides of the pitch so I don’t really get to see what he does,” he said.
“But we both want to score goals, we’re both hungry, we both want to win championships.
“He’s done it before and it’s something I really want to do. I guess it’s whoever has their shooting boots on tomorrow night wins.
“…We’re two completely different players. He’s better coming to the ball and I make my runs in behind,” Maclaren added.
“Were both goal-scorers, hopefully I can end up on top tomorrow night.”
While admitting Berisha’s return is a boost for the visitors, Maclaren backed Roar’s defence to handle his talents, just like they did in the 5-0 win at Suncorp last month.
The 22-year-old, a nominee for the NAB Young Footballer of the Year award, says his side will take a lot from that performance and result into this match.
“We’ve worked a lot on how they play. They are probably going to play with the same sort of line-up and play the same as well,” he said.
“It’s not going to be easy. They aren’t going to give up their championship easy against us tomorrow night."