Sunday, April 22, 2012

Good, the bad and the downright ugly. A-League Grand Final special.

By Paul Frederickson

It has been a tumultuous season off the field for the A-League but a brilliant season on the field, capped off by a dramatic grand final at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium. Trailing the Perth Glory in the final ten minutes of the game, due to a solitary own-goal by Ivan Francic, Brisbane's Besart Berisha scored a late brace to secure the historic back-to back Championship for the Brisbane Roar. This special edition of the Good, the Bad and the Downright ugly is dedicated to the finale of the A-League season.


A sea of orange with an island of purple converged on Suncorp Stadium meaning for the second year in a row the A-League Grand Final saw the 'sold-out' signs above the box-offices. The crowd of 50,334 was treated to everything that a grand final should contain; skills, goals and a grandstand and  somewhat controversial end as Besart Berisha was awarded a penalty that won Brisbane the game.

The atmosphere in Caxton Street was outstanding as Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory fans sang at each other for the hours leading up to the Grand Final. The atmosphere was replicated once the throngs of supporters entered the stadium.
Besart Berisha celebrates with Roar fans after the game.
Brisbane have won back-to-back Championships, and in turn created history as they became the first team in A-League history to do so.


To win or lose a game in controversial circumstances is never an easy circumstance, add a Grand Final to the mix and it makes for a volcanic situation. Personally, I have no issues with the awarding of the game-winning penalty but I do have issues with the reactions that it has evoked in some sections of the media.Firstly it is incorrect to state that the Brisbane Roar were handed the win. Perth were down to 10 men, had not had a shot on target and would have struggled through an added 30 minutes of extra time. Secondly, the reporting of  the referee, Jarred Gillett dating someone who works for the Brisbane Roar reeks of conspiracy. This would not effect the actions of a professional. In awarding the penalty Gillett made an assessment on the play that was in front of him, not who his partner works for. Referees have a split second to make decisions and even after viewing multiple angles I can find arguments for and against the awarding of the penalty, and the referee does not have the benefit of replays with numerous angles.


The FFA had a chance to put a horror off-field season behind them with the potential for a thoroughly professional and polished managerial performance, alas, it was not to eventuate.
In fact, the FFA did everything it could to demonstrate its need to pick up their game.

There was little if any pre and half-time entertainment and as people pay a premium to watch Grand Finals as an event  as well as the game. Entertainment should have been a part of the spectacle.

The Joe Marston medal, for best on ground in the A-League Grand Final, was incorrectly awarded to Thomas Broich as part of the post-game presentations. The correct winner Jacob Burns, as voted by a match day panel, was given the medal in the Suncorp change rooms well after the event.

In another embarrassing mistake Brisbane Roar player Nick Fitzgerald was initially not presented with his Championship medal.

We all make mistakes, the FFA need to ensure that theirs are reduced are on far smaller scales.

What do you think? What was you A-League Grand Final, Good, Bad and the Downright ugly?