Billy Mehmet says the on-field success he and Shane Smeltz have had is built on a strong bond off it... even if Mehmet does give him a weekly belting.
It wasn-t all that long ago that Shane Smeltz and Billy Mehmet were plying their trade in the Turkish Super Lig for Gençlerbirligi, fast forward two years and the strike partnership has picked up where it left off and helped to take Perth all the way to an A-League Grand Final.
And both are in good form too. While Smeltz has grabbed most of the headlines, not least for his four-goal display against Melbourne Victory last in the regular season, Mehmet has been doing his thing - working tirelessly off the ball, being the target, taking some chances and creating others.
Never was this more evident than in the last two weeks, when the Glory have knocked off Wellington and Central Coast in extra time, Mehmet showing why he is a valuable asset and why Smeltz recommended him to the club.
“I am happy with my own form, to get the goal against Wellington and to set up Smeltzy at the weekend, I am delighted with that but the whole team performance we have all been chipping in, working hard and the boys at the back have been keeping clean sheets,” Mehmet said.
“Personally I have been happy with the way things have been going, but there is one more game and it-s the biggest game and obviously I have to keep doing what we have been doing.”
The partnership between Smeltz and Mehmet looks intuitive and Mehmet puts that down to being such good friends on and off the pitch, even if it does mean he routinely gives the All White a belting at FIFA 12.
“I thought we started the season quite well. Against Adelaide I scored and then against Melbourne Heart, he scored two,” Mehmet said.
“Then a few things got changed, we played a different formation, McGarry came in and he played well, but I-m happy with the way Smeltzy and I have been playing, we have got a good understanding of each other from when we played together in Turkey and we get along off the park.
“Off the park he is round my house all the time, we-re always at the Playstation together and I think when you have that friendship off the park, it helps you on the park.
“Having said that I absolutely batter him at Playstation. To be honest, he-s not the best of players, but he tries.”
While Mehmet was light-hearted in talking about his great mate and strike partner, he knows this weekend is serious and like the rest of his squad he believes Brisbane are beatable, even if they have given the Glory a touch up on two occasions this year.
The key? Shutting down the passing game of the Roar, especially that of Erik Paartalu.
“Everyone is excited obviously we enjoyed the weekend but we have a job to do in going to Brisbane and trying to win it,” he said.
“You just try to prepare the same you would prepare for all away games, obviously during the week we will try and get our shape, during the season we went there and lost 4-0.
“We know it will be a tough game but if we play the way we have in previous weeks we will be fine.
“The most important thing is to stop them passing the ball around.
“If we can get up the ground and stop Paartalu distributing the ball to Broich, Berisha, Henrique and Nichols then that will help us but we know that-s not going to be easy, they-re a great passing team and have set the standard for the last few years.”
While stopping the distribution is one thing, where Mehmet could really be a prized asset is in the air. His aerial abilities are one of his major strengths and they will have to be at their best as he takes on a couple of tall players in the heart of Brisbane-s defence.
“It-s going to be tough they have big boys at the back Adnan and Jurman, I don-t know who will play but it-s going to be tough, like it is against all defenders in this league, you don-t come up against an easy defender, so obviously you have to go into the game and do your job on the day,” he said.
“It-s going to be physical; but I enjoy that part of the game, so whoever I come up against, I-ll try and win that battle.”
The last message Mehmet had was for fans of the Glory, who he hopes will have plenty of reason to make noise amongst what is likely to be an orange army at Suncorp Stadium.
“To have fans at the game...it-s brilliant, the fans deserve this reward as well.
“They-ve stuck by us through the season, I-ve seen some awesome scenes from the pubs here on YouTube from the penalty shootout, where the pubs were going mental so if we have got that support with us, it will help us, back us and hopefully drive us through to get a result.”