Jurman, Leijer preview Sunday’s grand final

They know all about the Big Blue rivalry. And now Matt Jurman and Adrian Leijer will keen observers from Asia when their former clubs meet in Sunday’s Hyundai A-League Grand Final.

Leijer and Jurman may live in the same Korea Republic city but the two defenders have their feet in very different camps ahead of the Hyundai A-League Grand Final on Sunday between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory.

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Leijer, 31, played over 150 league games for Melbourne Victory but now organises the backline for Suwon FC. 

While Jurman joined Suwon Samsung Bluewings last January after two spells with the Sky Blues, the latter cementing him as one of the best central defenders in the league.  

Both will be hoping to catch as much of Sunday’s clash as their club commitments allow – but it may not be easy.

Jurman’s Bluewings have to travel to China for a crucial AFC Champions League showdown with Guangzhou Evergrande in front of 50,000 fans while Suwon FC takes on former continental champion Seongnam FC on Sunday afternoon.

Championship-winning former Sydney FC marquee Filip Holosko has found a new club, joining Slovak outfit SK Slovan Bratislava.


“To play Melbourne Victory will make it a little bit more special,” Jurman told  www.a-league.com.au

“I think they have been the two best teams all season. In terms of being in the Grand Final, it is pretty fair and it should be a great game.”

That is about the only thing to pair agree on. 

“It is the Grand Final that everyone wanted to be honest,” said Leijer. 

“Sydney have been the best team this season and Melbourne Victory have been the second best. It will be an exciting game. 

“Both clubs have big players that will rise to the occasion.”


While both are anticipating an occasion to remember Jurman believes it is he, and not his fellow Gyeonggi Province resident who will have more to celebrate when it is all over.

Sydney, who dominated the regular season to finish a massive 17 points clear of Melbourne in second, defeated Perth Glory 3-0 on Saturday to stroll into the final.

“Sydney will win,” said Jurman. 

“I watched the game at the weekend against Perth and you can just see how well they are playing. 

“You can see the focus and the confidence in all the boys.

“I am sure they will go ahead and finish the season the way they started.”

Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC players line up before Thursday's Big Blue.

In terms of form, Sydney has the edge after losing just once in the regular season and Jurman is sure the Sky Blues can handle the occasion.  

“From outside there may be more pressure on Sydney but there has been pressure on them all year to back it up and keep their form going. 

“I don’t think pressure is going to be a problem although it is a different game. You have to be at your best on the day. The boys know that and there is plenty of experience there.” 

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For Jurman is it a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, for Graham Arnold and his men.

“I don’t think there needs to be anything different from Sydney, just keep playing the way they have played all season. 

“Nothing needs to be changed too much. Just stay confident and calm, it is going to be loud and crazy and if they just focus on the football, they will be OK.”

“Melbourne have some good players who can hurt you but Sydney work hard all over the pitch. 

“From  Alex Brosque and Bobo in attack and rest of the boys, they press from the front and won’t give Melbourne time on the ball.”

Jordy Buijs,  Besart Berisha.


Leijer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is tipping Kevin Muscat’s squad to get the job done.

“I will be backing Victory,” said the defender who has played in England and China, as well as Korea Republic.

“It is a one-off game and, on the day, anyone can win. 

“This is a big rivalry and this will make it bigger. 

“Sydney will be confident after the season they have had but I know the Victory players and coaching staff and know their philosophy. 

“The mindset is to play to win and they will be believing they can win.

“There is pressure on both teams equally and it is a cup final. 

“Both teams have the players who can handle it. The season has been unbelievable for Sydney, credit to Arnie and the players, but this is a chance for Victory to finish on a real high.”

Sydney FC will play Melbourne Victory in the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Grand Final.