This is a new experience for Perth Glory fans.
After a six-year period of glory (pardon the pun) in the NSL between 1998 and 2004 where they finished in the top three every year, being season premiers in 2000, 2002, 2004, finals champions in 2003 and 2004 and runners up in 2000 and 2002, their success in the A-League hasn’t really eventuated.
The best they have managed since the A-League began in 2005 was finishing fifth twice, and no grand final appreances eventuated from that. It’s been an amazing season for the local team, going from a 10th place finish last season to finish third this season.
After securing a home game for their elimination final against Melbourne Heart, fans are finally starting to believe that their team can return back to their glory years (sorry! Hard habit to break out of!)
Leading the charge is striker Shane Smeltz, who was scintillating against the Melbourne Victory last week. Forget an individual hat-trick, Smeltz went one better, putting four balls in the back of the net to give the Glory all the momentum going into tomorrow’s match.
The Glory will also have a few more options at the selection table with a number of players like Liam Miller, Jacob Burns and Chris Coyne coming back from injury to push for selection in this do or die match.
Its hard to pick who will be a winner in this match. The Heart go in with a full bill of health and a run of 6 unbeaten games (4 of those draws), while the Glory will be feeling good after a great season and Smeltz hitting form at the right time of the year.
I think it will be a tough and very close game. I wouldn’t be surprised if it went into penelty kicks.
My prediction: Glory in penelty time.