Simon Hill’s Grand Final scrapbook: the commentator

Every day this week, commentator Simon Hill has looked at some of the key grand final performances over the years.

Here he picks his favourite moments from the 15 occasions he has called a grand final.

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A first Grand Final for me during my SBS days - a bit different for a lad from England unused to finals, but at least the weather was what I was accustomed to. 

It simply bucketed down with rain, leaving the pitch at the old stadium in Parramatta a quagmire.  That suited Glory more than Power's passing game, and the game descended into a real scrap. 

Damian Mori missed a glorious opportunity before Nik Mrdja lashed home the golden goal winner in the 98th minute.  The very last kick of the ball in the NSL after 27 years - and the start of an 18-month hiatus for the domestic game until the A-League came along in August 2005.

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My first Grand Final for Fox Sports, and the day I thought the A-League had truly arrived.  Over 55,000 rocked up to the Telstra Dome, including a huge contingent from South Australia, creating a carnival atmosphere. 

The game itself wasn't much of a contest, with the combination of Fred and Archie Thompson running riot - but the appearance of Prime Minister, John Howard, to present the medals seemed hugely significant for the nascent competition.  He even got a kiss on top of his head from goal scorer Kristian Sarkies!

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For drama and sheer emotion, this was the best Grand Final I had the privilege of calling. Perhaps I put the mockers on the Mariners when announcing that they had "surely won the Grand Final" when Olly Bozanic made it 2-0 in extra time? 

But few could have predicted the incredible comeback from Roar that followed, leading to the dramatic penalty shootout, culminating in Henrique's winning kick.  The noise inside Suncorp from 50,000 throats when that spot kick went in will live long in the memory.

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A Grand Final that still provokes debate nearly a decade later - all thanks to Besart Berisha. 

When Berisha went down in the box in stoppage time, the award of the spot kick looked harsh.  Replays were inconclusive, but Jarred Gillett was adamant, Berisha scored, and Roar won the trophy.  But the drama for me had only just begun. 

I had to MC the awards on field - which included the Joe Marston Medal.  Unfortunately, the winner had not been written into the script.  In panic, I quickly asked along the line of dignitaries, and got confirmation (so I thought - it was hard to hear in the noise of 50,000 fans) that Thomas Broich had won. 

As we now know, it was Jacob Burns, who received his medal some time later.  I apologised to Jacob the next day - unfortunately, sometimes these things happen in live broadcasting.  

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Jacob Burns
Perth Glory captain Jacob Burns experiencing the anguish of Grand Final defeat


There had been much consternation in the build-up about the unavailability of Docklands for this Grand Final.  But as it turned out, the atmosphere at AAMI Park was arguably the best-ever for the big occasion. 

The tighter venue, with every available seat sold, made for a brilliant backdrop, both visual and acoustic.  On the pitch, a rampant Victory blew Sydney away with Mark Milligan giving one of the best Grand Final displays I've ever seen.  

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A-League Grand Final - Match Details

Melbourne City v Sydney FC
Sunday, June 27 2021
Venue: AAMI Park
Kick-off: 5.05pm AEST
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505
Stream: MyFootball Live App, LIVE and FREE on Kayo Freebies!
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