Musialik hunts grand final glory

Sydney FC's Stuart Musialik almost managed to stifle a grin when asked if he felt any sympathy for well-travelled and over-worked grand final opponent Melbourne.

Sydney FC's Stuart Musialik almost managed to stifle a grin when asked if he felt any sympathy for well-travelled and over-worked grand final opponent Melbourne.

"No, none at all. The more games they play the merrier," he said after giving the question two seconds' thought.

Would you expect anything less from the combative Musialik?

He has been around football long enough to know the Victory's arduous Hyundai A-League/ACL itinerary will count for nothing once the whistle blows in the decider at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

Not even Melbourne's 1am flight to Japan - just six hours after the grand final kicks off - for its next ACL appointment could invoke empathy.

"It would be generous of us to win so they are not missing out on grand final celebrations. They'd hate to jump on a plane and miss grand final celebrations," Musialik added helpfully.

"That's the polite thing to do from our side."

"But they'll be up for the game, we've got no doubt about that."

While they haven't had to contend with ACL commitments, Sydney has also spent plenty of time on the pitch over the past fortnight.

The second leg major semi-final defeat to Melbourne was 120 minutes in the making, with the 4-2 preliminary final victory over Phoenix almost as taxing.

Sky Blues coach Vitezslav Lavicka gave his players three days off after the Wellington match to freshen up and recover before preparing for Melbourne.

Musialik believes Sydney's tougher path to the grand final will be an advantage, with Victory having a fortnight off from Hyundai A-League duties, albeit with an ACL match wedged in two days after the major semi.

The 24-year-old defensive midfielder speaks from experience, having been part of the Newcastle side that took the circuitous route to grand final glory in 2007/08.

"If you look at most competitions in the world in any sport, the team that has the week off usually comes back a little bit rusty," Musialik said.

"The team that's had to do it the hard way often comes in flying, so let's hope that trend continues on the weekend."

If that trend is to continue, the Sky Blues know shutting down Melbourne duo Carlos Hernandez and Archie Thompson is imperative.

As Musialik duly noted: "When they're doing well, Melbourne's doing well."

"Archie's had another couple of weeks to rest up and get his fitness back and he-ll be looking to fire and Carlos is always dangerous."

"Hopefully we can contain those two and if we do that it will go a long way to winning the match."

While Victory will be at near full strength, Sydney lost captain John Aloisi to a hamstring injury on Monday.

Aloisi's enforced absence has hit the Sydneysiders hard.

"Last year and the beginning of this year he was copping a fair bit of stick and for him to turn it around and show the form he has in the second half of the season, it's going to be very disappointing for him to miss the biggest game of them all," Musialik said of Aloisi.

"It's a real shame and we really feel for him but whoever comes in will get the job done."

"Chris Payne came on and scored two goals (against Wellington) but I don't know what (Lavicka's) got in mind to cover for Johnny being out."

"We'll be confident whoever we go in with. We've had a great year but it will leave a sour taste in the mouth if we don't top it off with a grand final win."

If you see a smiling Musialik tracking Melbourne's aviation traffic around 1am Sunday, rest assured the perfect season has come to the perfect end.