The 2014 South Australia National Premier League grand final has arrived, with MetroStars and Croydon Kings fighting to become champions at Coopers Stadium on Saturday evening.
MetroStars clinched the minor premiership by finishing eight points ahead of West Adelaide, before beating the second-placed side 2-1 on aggregate to qualify for the decider.
Croydon finished third – one point outside the top two – but then went on to score big wins over Adelaide City and Adelaide Blue Eagles, before defeating West Adelaide on penalties to advance to the final.
MetroStars will be looking to add to their three championships, which they won in 2004, 2009 and 2012.
Having already advanced to the final, MetroStars had the week off last week, but coach Ivan Karlovic said the team trained as they normally would.
“We had a training game on the Saturday at a very high intensity, which was good, so we’re feeling good,” Karlovic said.
“We need to obviously play the way we have been all year.
“We’ll show Croydon the respect they deserve, but at the same time, we’re concentrating on what we need to do and we’ll look to put on a positive performance and hope to get a positive result.”
In their two regular season match-ups, MetroStars defeated Croydon 3-2 at Polonia Reserve in Round 4, then won 2-0 at TK Shutter Reserve in Round 17.
Karlovic said the two wins would not give his side any additional confidence going into Saturday’s match.
“It’s a finals game, it’s a one off game, so what happened in the last two games doesn’t count for a lot,” he said.
“It’s all about the 90 minutes that we’ll be playing on Saturday.”
Croydon – known as Polonia Adelaide at the time – have also clinched three First Division titles, winning in 1955, 1975 and 1977.
Kings coach Mark Brazzale said there were good vibes around the club after defeating West Adelaide in the preliminary final.
“It was a tough game against West Adelaide, stretching it out to penalties took a lot out of us, but the boys have come to training and we are treating it like any other week to be honest,” Brazzale said.
“We know that Metro are a very good team and they were the bench mark of the league this year.
“But at the end of the day, it’s a grand final and we’ll give it a good shot.”
Brazzale was not worried by his team’s previous results against MetroStars.
“It’s a grand final, so what happened on the last two occasions means nothing,” he said.
“It’s just about what happens on the day this weekend.”
South Australia National Premier League Finals Series Grand Final
MetroStars v Croydon Kings
When: Saturday, September 13th. Kick off 5pm
Where: Coopers Stadium, Cnr Manton and Holden Sts, HINDMARSH
Image courtesy of Adam Butler