If Sunday’s Hyundai A-League Grand Final goes to extra-time and penalties, Sky Blues utility Rhyan Grant believes his side will be in the box-seat to emerge victorious with the help of their freakily good fitness and conditioning coach.
Nothing has separated Victory and Sydney FC so far this season, playing out three entertaining draws. It’s led many to believe this decider will go beyond 90 minutes.
“Clarky [Sydney strength and conditioning coach Andrew Clark] is a freak at what he does,” Grant told reporters on Friday.
“He’s been really good, especially with me this season and getting me back to full fitness.
“We’ve got full trust in him making sure we’re ready to go and if we do go to extra time and penalties I’m sure we’ll have the legs to go the whole way.”
Like Victory, Sydney FC has gone behind closed doors for the final part of their Hyundai A-League grand final preparation as they plot how to topple Melbourne Victory on Sunday.
The Sky Blues’ final session in Sydney on Friday was closed to the media as coach Graham Arnold puts the finishing touches on his game-plan to inspire the club to a third championship.
Grant was a part of the squad that beat Victory in the 2010 decider, their most recent Grand Final win, but was forced to watch from the stands due to injury.
He is likely to start from the bench ahead of this one and admits the level of hype around the clash between these two fierce rivals has gone to another level compared to five years ago.
While the two sides are the Hyundai A-League’s highest scorers, Grant believes it will be defence which ultimately decides who will be champion.
“We’ve scored a lot of goals and they have too but a grand final it’s going to be a little bit reserved,” the 24-year-old said.
“As the game goes on it will open up and it will be just a matter of who can hold out the [other team’s] front four.
“Both teams have a great front four and really dangerous. If we can hold them out and make the most of our chances I think we have a good shot.”
A part of that Sky Blues defence is Jacques Faty, who hasn’t featured in any of the three matches against Victory this season.
The Senegalese international has been superb since joining Sydney FC mid-season and admits winning a championship with the club would only fuel his desire to stay longer.
Asked the secret to shutting down Victory’s strike-force, Faty said: “There are no secrets against this sort of attack.
“What I can say is we know Victory is one of the best attacks in the whole of the league but we have a good defence and we know how to play football too.
“And we have a good attack too. You say they have [Fahid] Ben Khalfallah, [Besart] Berisha but we have [Alex] Brosquey, Marc Janko, we have [Shane] Smeltzy, Kiki Naumoff and [Bernie] Ibini. This is a very good attack too.
“Their attack could bring us some trouble but we’ll bring them a fair bit of trouble too.”