Simon Hill’s Grand Final scrapbook: The Captains

Every day this week, commentator Simon Hill looks at some of the key grand final performances over the years… and who could be centre stage this year.

Big games require big performances from big players - especially the skippers. 

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1993/1994 - ALEX TOBIN (Melbourne Knights v Adelaide City)

Adelaide City had finished fifth in the NSL - twelve points behind Premiers, Melbourne Knights, who were red-hot favourites in the Grand Final. 

Mirko Bazic's team had a precocious teenager named Mark Viduka, who'd just won the golden boot with 17 goals.  But Viduka was kept largely quiet at Olympic Park thanks to Milan Ivanovic and City skipper, Alex Tobin. 

Damian Mori's lone goal won City their third - and last - NSL crown, in a rather cagey final.  Tobin was named Joe Marston Medalist for the second time in three years, and would go on to play a record 522 matches in the national league. City remain the lowest-ranked team in a regular season to win a Grand Final.

2005/2006 - DWIGHT YORKE (Sydney FC v Central Coast Mariners)

"All Night Dwight" was so much more than a party animal - his footballing smarts were instrumental to Sydney's winning of the inaugural Grand Final. 

Playing in a slightly deeper role than in his heyday at Manchester United, Yorke was able to be more involved.  This was evident in the part he played in the winning goal, teasing & tormenting a back-pedalling Andrew Clark until the angle opened up for Yorke to square it for Steve Corica, who placed the ball into the back of the Mariners net. 

Awarded the Joe Marston Medal, Yorke had the honour of being the first captain to lift the new trophy.  What a pity he didn't stick around longer.

Dwight Yorke led the Sky Blues to glory in 2005/06
Dwight Yorke led the Sky Blues to glory in 2005/06

2011/2012 - JACOB BURNS (Brisbane Roar v Perth Glory)

Not all captains who play heroic roles end up on the winning side. 

Out of the 30 Joe Marston Medalists, seven have experienced the bitter taste of defeat on the big day.  Jacob Burns is one such story.  Yet he covered every blade of grass for Glory in the 2012 Grand Final at Suncorp, and he was oh so close to success. 

There were only six minutes to go when Besart Berisha levelled things for Roar after an Ivan Franjic own goal had given Glory the lead.  With socks rolled down on a heavy pitch, Burns tried to lead his team home by example - but it was not to be.  His consolation was the individual award, although only after an administrative mix-up saw it initially handed to Thomas Broich.

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Jacob Burns was best afield in a losing side in the 2011/12 Grand Final
Jacob Burns was best afield in a losing side in the 2011/12 Grand Final

2012/13 - JOHN HUTCHINSON (Western Sydney Wanderers v Central Coast Mariners)

"Hutch" was central to the Mariners success in 2013, as the bridesmaids finally became the bride at the fourth time of asking.

During the build-up, the ever-competitive Hutchinson set the tone when he said defeating the Wanderers would be akin to "shooting Bambi" after the Red & Black's fairytale entry into the A-League. 

On the day, the midfielder more than played his part, shutting down Shinji Ono & Aaron Mooy to such an extent that the Wanderers attack was severely blunted.  In all, Hutchinson spent ten years in Gosford, appearing nearly 300 times in the yellow & blue - but this was his, and the Mariners, finest hour.

Hutchinson celebrates the Mariners' Grand Final triumph with teammate Josh Rose
Hutchinson celebrates the Mariners' Grand Final triumph with teammate Josh Rose

And who’ll step up in 2020? Scott Jamieson has never won a Grand Final despite a lengthy career. 

He will feel this is his time.  He can lead by example in nullifying Kosta Barbarouses, one of the key battles on Saturday.

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