Road to the Final

The Hyundai A-league Grand Final will be a game of contrasts.

Sunday-s big game will be a Grand Final of contrasts: the team everyone expected to be there against the team that has surprised the most; the lauded artisans against the disparaged battlers.

But both Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory have had to fight to rediscover their best form and, as the season-s strongest finishers, should provide a fantastic finale to the season. As such, it-s worth remembering how they got here...

Brisbane Roar Brisbane started this season as they finished the last - undefeated. On their record-breaking run of 36 games with a loss, Ange Postecoglou-s men looked destined to steamroll their way to a second successive Hyundai A-League double.

In the first nine weeks of the season, Roar scored scored an amazing 22 goals and conceded just five, with the 7-1 thrashing of Adelaide United arguably the finest club performance of the year.

But the week after setting the record with a 4-0 demolition of Perth, they lost talisman Thomas Broich to injury and Sydney FC brought them crashing back down to Earth.

That 2-0 defeat at Kogerah Stadium, along with ongoing injuries to Broich and Henrique, suddenly made Brisbane look human again.

Their previously invincible self-belief shattered just as quickly as their rivals- confidence grew. The team that couldn-t lose now couldn-t buy a win as they lost five in a row.

That slump was decisive in the race for the Premier-s Plate. And despite their obvious quality, Roar had to fight all the way to rediscover their best form again, battling for draws against Glory, Adelaide and Melbourne Heart.

But it was another loss that really got them back on track. In the week 17 1-0 turnover by Newcastle at Suncorp Stadium Roar squandered a host of opportunities to take control of the game.

They lost three points but that performance signalled that they were set to fire on all cylinders again.

They won six of their remaining eight games, taking 18 points from 24 to pile the pressure on Central Coast Mariners.

They may have left it too late to claim the Premiers- Plate but that commitment to return to their own high standards - topped off by the major semi-final demolition of the Mariners - set Brisbane on the roar to another home Grand Final. The only question now is whether Perth can ruin their party.

Perth Glory If Brisbane Roar-s season has been up and down, Perth Glory-s has gone head over heels.

From a start full of potential to the brink of unemployment and then back up to a maiden Hyundai A-League grand final appearance, it-s been a season to remember for the fans in the Shed.

The three-game winning streak to start the year was the classic false start. Glory blinked, stumbled and looked up to find themselves fighting to even make the finals.

In fact, Perth-s season didn-t really start until New Year -s Eve. By then, Ferguson-s side had lost seven of their 13 opening games to leave the manager and club on the brink.

But two gritty fightbacks in the space of five days turned Glory from wasted potential to finals dark horses. Ferguson points to the 1-1 draw with Newcastle Jets, where Billy Mehmet was sent off for an innocuous challenge, as the point where things changed.

If that game was where Glory-s players started to believe, that confidence was cemented four days the exhilarating 3-3 draw with Brisbane at nib Stadium, in which Mile Sterjovksi scored an 80th-minute equaliser.

After that, Glory didn-t look back, winning nine from 13 games in the second-half of the season, scoring 25 goals in the process.

The highlights including a 4-1 thumping of Melbourne Victory, in which a Shane Smeltz brace gave a taste of things to come.

They saw off Adelaide 3-0, then trounced Gold Coast United 4-0, before signing off the regular season in style as Smeltz scored all four in another rout against Victory.

Glory aren-t the finished article, and did suffer a number of dismaying defeats during this run, but their confidence was high enough that they just bounced right back, with Smeltz scoring a hat-trick against Melbourne Heart to make it seven goals in two games.

Do they have what it takes to upset Brisbane at home? In the three games between the two this year, Glory have conceded 10 goals and scored just three - but the way their season-s gone, would you bet against them upsetting us all once again?