Sydney full strength for A-League decider – News Report

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Sydney coach Steve Corica says the Sky Blues’ winning grand final experience will potentially give his side the edge over Premiers Plate winners Perth in Sunday’s A-League decider at Optus Stadium.

Seven starters from Sydney’s winning 2017 team are part of the current side and goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne was on the bench that day.

Retiring captain Alex Brosque will be playing his fourth grand final and defender Rhyan Grant his third.

Perth have a three-time grand final winner in Ivan Franjic who was part of Brisbane’s triumphant 2011, 2012 and 2014 teams, but other Glory players haven’t had the same success.

The only Perth man to have played in their previous grand final in 2012 is Scott Neville, who came on as a late substitute in the loss to Brisbane.

Neville, striker Brendon Santalab (twice) and centre back Matthew Spiranovic also experienced the pain of a grand final loss while playing under current Glory coach Tony Popovic at Western Sydney.

“Mentally the boys know they’ve been there, done that before, they know what it takes to win,'” Corica said at Sydney Airport before the team’s flight to Perth on Friday.

“Of course it’s a different game, a grand final anything can happen, but we do have the experience under our belt.”

Corica reiterated Sydney’s desire to send Brosque out a winner, but said he didn’t have too many other messages for his players.

“The only thing I’m going to say to the boys that it’s a challenge for us going away from home and winning.” Corica said.

He felt the fact the grand final was being played at a venue where where Glory have played just once, would level things up though a big pro-Perth crowd will attend.

Asked if he thought his former Sydney and Socceroos teammate Popovic would be bugged by his record of three losses from as many grand finals with the Wanderers, Corica said “Of course. He’s been in the grand final before, but that just goes to show he’s done so well.”

Sydney took their strongest available squad with marquee Siem de Jong and left back Michael Zullo cleared by Corica.

Dutchman de Jong missed training with illness on Thursday while Zullo was also absent from a session earlier in the week due to a shoulder issue.

Corica isn’t expected to change his starting lineup after last Sunday’s 6-1 semi-final drubbing of Melbourne Victory.

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