The following is a preview with betting tips for the Grand Final – of the 2022/23 A-League Mens season.
Saturday, June 03
Melbourne City v Central Coast Mariners
7:45pm AEST, Commbank Stadium
Melbourne are aiming for their second Championship in four seasons, meanwhile this is their fourth consecutive Grand Final played. Meanwhile they’ve also won three Premierships in a row and are heavily funded by the City Football Group. That’s in extremely stark comparison to the Central Coast Mariners who have collected four Wooden Spoons over the last six seasons. They are also the only fully professional club of any code within Australia to have this season publicly come out and ‘pleaded’ to the general public about their less than ideal financial situation. Yet perhaps only 90-minutes of playing time is all that stands between Nick Montgomery’s Men and a truly heroic victory, because that is the magic of the A-Leagues, anything can happen!
Four legs, four results and now only two teams left!
There’s no stronger proof of that statement then the Mariners emphatic 4-1 two-legged victory over the ‘Reds’ to advance through to this stage of the campaign via the semi finals. Opening up Game One in South Australia they showed some steely nerves to overcome an early Craig Goodwin strike (4th-minute), as soon after a James McGarry thunderbolt from outside the box had the affair pegged back at one goal a piece. And just before the half-time siren went off Jason Cummings flashed through the oppositions defence to deliver his side a handy one-goal advantage and that is how the match stayed.
Then in Game Two it was absolute delirium in front of a packed out Industree Group Stadium, as five minutes of magic, from the 48th through to the 52nd-minutes, witnessed both Samuel Silvera and Marco Tulio get on the score-sheet and then it well and truly became game, set, match as the Mariners now have their sights set on a historic second Championship.
Meanwhile for Melbourne their route to the ‘Big Dance’ was just a tad different as in their opening game versus Sydney at Allianz Stadium, they had to settle for a fiesty 1-1 draw. With 32 fouls called on the night, in addition to three yellow cards having been handed out, it was a matchup that never really settled down. The hosts were denied two goals due to marginal offsides, however there was an equal amount of controversy in their spot kick or should I say spot KICKS attempts. With a lethal Matthew Leckie header in the 18th-minute ultimately helping the visitors to a share of the spoils.
However come Game Two in Victoria at AAMI Park it was all Melbourne City as a reckless foul from Max Burgess early on left Sydney in all sorts of strife and City made them pay dearly for it. That as they eventually ran out massive 4-0 victors. Curtis Good scored just before the half-time whistle sounded to send a massive blow through the visitors camp. And then they couldn’t hold on for any longer as it was all one-way traffic in City’s favour, as a Jack Rodwell OG soon followed suit. Then Marco Tilio scored a blinder in the 67th-minute against his old side, before Richard van der Venne put the icing on the cake eight-minutes from time, as his long-range left-footed bullet swooshed its way into the back of the net. It’s safe to say that Melbourne’s legacy as one of the greatest Footballing teams this country has ever seen just gets bigger and bigger with every clash that passes.
Top three Goal Scorers this season; Melbourne City – NO.1 Jamie Maclaren w 24 goals/two assists, NO.2 Marco Tilio w 10 goals/five assists and NO.3 Matthew Leckie w seven goals/five assists.
Central Coast Mariners – NO.1 Jason Cummings w 17 goals/five assists, NO.2 Marco Tulio w 10 goals/four assists and NO.3 Samuel Silvera w seven goals/four assists.
Last 10 clashes against one another; 1-1 draw @ Industree Group Stadium, City 1-0 win @ AAMI Park, City 3-2 win @ AAMI Park, City 3-1 win @ Industree Group Stadium, City 1-0 win @ AAMI Park, City 2-0 win @ AAMI Park, Central Coast 3-2 win @ Industree Group Stadium, City 4-2 win @ Industree Group Stadium, City 3-1 win @ AAMI Park and City 5-0 win @ AAMI Park.
What will go down and who will be victorious?
Both of these clubs deserve a massive shoutout for their incredible seasons that they’ve had to date, but for myself personally it’s hard to overlook Melbourne City. Just like their partner clubs such as Manchester City, the ‘sky blue’ version of Melbourne play such a brilliantly orientated attacking brand of Football that have torn their opposing teams to shreds this season. One example I could point to is their 4-0 dismantling of Sydney around two weeks ago. Despite the visitors having absolutely everything to play for in that semi final, Melbourne still shot 8/17 on target and had a shot rattle off the woodwork. Prior to that against Western Sydney, they went 10/19, with another shot banging off the woodwork, as they conjured up three beautifully curated strikes. The match before that they also scored three against Western United and two affairs before that it was four against a Wellington side whom they rendered utterly and completely hapless. How will Danny Vukovic work to shut down the likes of Jamie Maclaren, Marco Tilio and Matthew Leckie for an entire match (not to exclude the other talents they have)?
On the flip side one of the arguments for the Mariners being able to pull a surprise dub out of the bag is the clubs togetherness and their never say die spirit. This club, the fans, everybody associated with them has been through absolute hell and back over the last couple of years and the players know exactly how much it means to pull on that special yellow jersey. You only have to look at Jason Cummings episode of All Access to see how much the club means to him, or how ballsy defender Brian Kaltack has his entire home nation of Vanuatu cheering him and the Central Coast on back home.
In Round 26 the Central Coast headed to Hindmarsh Stadium to play Adelaide, knowing that a win would book them second spot and a week off during the opening stage of the finals. They came, they saw and they conquered knocking down the favourites with a 4-1 thrashing. They probably didn’t give a shred of notice to what was being said pre-game and they just went out there and did their job, shooting 10/14 on target and winning 17 to 9 take ons. How will City fare against a team full of confidence and that has nothing to lose?
I’ll pick Melbourne to win this one and just ever so slightly at that! Because really this is anybody’s game. For the final time this campaign, get ready for one hell of a roller coaster affair!
Betting tips: Pick City to be victorious at $2.01 (BoomBet)
Also look for them to open the scoring at $1.61 (Bet365)
Back at least one of Jamie Maclaren $1.80 and Jason Cummings $2.50 (BlueBet) to score any time
Also pick there to be nine + corners at $1.28 (Bet365)