Complete guide to the Liberty A-League Finals series: Everything you need to know

The Liberty A-League Finals Series has arrived, with six teams brimming with talent set to battle it out for the 2023-24 Championship.

For the first time in the competition’s history, a full home-and-away regular season featuring 12 teams has led to the expansion of the Finals Series from four to six clubs; Melbourne City and Sydney FC are joined by Western United, Melbourne Victory, Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets in pursuit of glory in the biggest post-season in Liberty A-League history.

City are the Premiers, having edged Sydney FC on a dramatic final day of the regular season. Now, the Finals Series is set to get underway – beginning with a pair of do-or-die Elimination Finals you simply cannot miss.

Read on for a comprehensive preview of the full Finals Series, including the new competition format, key dates, broadcast details and more.

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How to watch the Finals Series?

Don’t miss a minute of the Finals Series action! Watch LIVE on Paramount+ and 10Play.

Where can I buy tickets to the Finals Series?

Tickets for week one of the Liberty A-League Finals Series went on sale for A-League Women members on Monday, 8 April at 10am AEST, then for A-League Men members at 3pm AEST.

General public tickets go on sale from Tuesday, 9 April at 10am AEST. You can access tickets for both Elimination Finals by clicking the links accompanying the below match tiles:

Finals Series structure

For the first time in Liberty A-League history, six teams will feature in a Finals Series including seven games across four weeks, ending with the Grand Final on May 4.

Melbourne City and Sydney FC finished first and second, booking their respective places in the Semi-Finals.

The first week of the Finals Series features two Elimination Finals: Western United (third) host Newcastle Jets (sixth), and Melbourne Victory (fourth) play Central Coast Mariners (fifth). The two Elimination Final winners will progress to the Semi-Finals to be played across week one and two of the post-season.

Premiers City will face the lowest-ranked Elimination Final winner over the two-legged Semi-Final, while Sydney FC will face the highest-ranked winner.

For example, if fifth-placed Mariners beat Victory and sixth-placed Newcastle beat Western, City would play Newcastle in the Semi-Finals, and Sydney would play the Mariners.

In the Semi-Finals, both Sydney FC and Melbourne City had the option to play the first leg of their respective ties either at home or away. Both clubs selected to travel for leg one, and host the return leg.

There is no “away goals” rule in the Semi-Finals. The highest-ranked club to book a spot in the Grand Final will be considered the “home” side for the title decider.

If two clubs are tied at full-time of an Elimination Final, after both legs of a Semi-Final or the Grand Final, then 30 minutes of extra time will be played. Still equal after that? A penalty shootout to decide the winner.

Week One: Elimination Finals

  • Saturday, April 13: Western United (3) v Newcastle Jets (6) at Regional Football Facility, Tarneit. Kick off 6:30pm AEST.
  • Sunday, April 14: Melbourne Victory (4) v Central Coast Mariners (5) at Home of the Matildas. Kick off 4pm AEST.

Week off: Melbourne City, Sydney FC

Week Two: Semi Finals – Leg One

April 19-21, 2024

  • Lowest Ranked Elimination Final Winner v Melbourne City (Date TBC)
  • Highest Ranked Elimination Final Winner v Sydney FC (Date TBC)

Week Three: Semi Finals – Leg Two

April 26-28 2024

  • Melbourne City v Lowest Place Elimination Final Winner (Date TBC)
  • Sydney FC v Highest Place Elimination Final Winner (Date TBC)

Week Four: Grand Final

  • Saturday, May 4: SF Winner v SF Winner

The teams

Melbourne City

Melbourne City’s Premiership win was as dramatic as they come. Trailing Sydney FC by one point on the last day of the regular season, the Sky Blues lost their final-day fixture against Melbourne Victory, opening the door for City to storm to the top of the table with a 2-1 win over Perth Glory in the very last game of the regular season.

New Zealand international Hannah Wilkinson was City’s top scorer this season with nine goals; Daniela Galic is the shining young star of this City squad who will look to take her flourishing career to new heights with a big Finals Series.

The City squad pose for a photo in celebration of their Premiership win.

Sydney FC

Bruised by the events that took place on the final day of the regular season, Sydney FC head into the post-season determined to make amends for their Premiership slip.

Head coach Ante Juric has turned this Sky Blues squad into a winning machine; taking the reins in 2017, Juric Sydney to the Championship in just his second season at the helm and despite losing big-name players every off-season (think Caitlin Foord, Remy Siemsen, Sarah Hunter, Clare Wheeler – the list goes on) Sydney have won two Championships and three Premierships under Juric’s watch.

No team had ever won four consecutive Premierships and that record remained untouched after the final-day drama this season. If City and Sydney meet in the Grand Final, there’s going to be fireworks.

Sydney and Matildas star Cortnee Vine.

Western United

A stretch of six wins in a row between January and March had Kat Smith’s Western United flying towards the Premiership but key injuries to star players coincided with a drop-off in form, and led to an eventual third-place finish.

Western lost Matildas star Chloe Logarzo, pivotal midfielder Adriana Taranto and leading scorer Hannah Keane to serious injuries within a matter of weeks. Smith’s side dropped from first – a spot held between Rounds 17 and 19 – to second, and then to third by the season’s end.

Western will now face Newcastle Jets in the first week of the Finals Series. The fixture on April 13 marks the first finals game at Western’s new home: the Regional Football Facility in Tarneit.

Western players walking out for the very first game at the club’s new home against Newcastle Jets in March.

Melbourne Victory

A fourth-place finish will not deter Jeff Hopkins and his Melbourne Victory squad from making a charge toward the Grand Final and the Championship.

Victory finished third and then fourth in 2020-21 and 2021-22 respectively, and went on to win the lot. Sydney FC were their Grand Final victims on both occasions.

Victory host Central Coast Mariners at the Home of the Matildas on Sunday, April 14 in an Elimination Final that could be the final game of Emma Checker’s career. The Victory and Matildas defender has announced that this season will be her last, and will hope to extend her final campaign all the way to May 4 and the Grand Final.

The 2020 and 2021 champions dismantled Sydney FC 4-0 in the final round of the season but have since suffered a potential blow, with Matildas forward and red-hot Victory star Emily Gielnik withdrawing from the current international camp with a calf injury.

Emily Gielnik.

Central Coast Mariners

What a season it’s been for the Central Coast Mariners.

Back in the Liberty A-League for the first time since 2009, the competition’s “newest” club has impressed under head coach Emily Husband in a comeback season, storming into the finals with four wins, one draw and one defeat in their last six games of the regular season.

Matildas great Kyah Simon has spent the season slowly but surely getting back to full fitness after a horror run of injuries and the 32-year-old showed glimpses of her brilliant best in the latter stages of the season – including a four-game run in which she produced three goals and one assist.

Kyah Simon celebrates her first goal of the season against Perth Glory in February.

Newcastle Jets

Last but certainly not least come the Newcastle Jets.

A change of coach in mid-season from Gary van Egmond to Ryan Campbell could’ve easily led to disruption but instead the Jets flourished, recording seven of their 10 wins in the last 13 games of the season – including three on the trot to finish the campaign.

The last of those results was an 8-0 thumping of Adelaide United on the road – the third-biggest win in A-Leagues history, men’s or women’s.

The Jets are led by captain Cassidy Davis who became the club’s first player to reach 150 Liberty A-League appearances in the final game of the season. Up front, Philippines international Sarina Bolden has been a phenomenon, scoring 12 goals and recording nine assists in just 17 appearances.

Fellow Jets striker, and former Victory star, Melina Ayres is built for the finals and big moments, and having scored four of her five goals for the season in her final two appearances, looks capable of exploding in the post-season. Watch this space.

Melina Ayres is swamped by Jets teammates after an incredible performance in a 3-2 win over Melbourne Victory.