Heroes, villains, VAR & an infamous sound that haunted a legend: Victory’s Grand Final memories

Hear from Melbourne Victory striker Bruno Fornaroli ahead of his side's Grand Final clash with Central Coast Mariners

Melbourne Victory are through to the Isuzu UTE A-League Grand Final for the seventh time in club history, equalling the competition’s all-time record set by bitter rivals Sydney FC.

And that’s not the only record held by the Sky Blues that Victory can equal on Saturday night; an upset win over Central Coast Mariners in the 2023-24 Grand Final at Industree Group Stadium would take Victory’s total Championship count to five – level with Sydney FC at the top of the Isuzu UTE A-League leaderboard.

Victory’s last six trips to the Isuzu UTE A-League title decider have produced plenty of precious memories for the club’s fans to enjoy, along with moments of heartbreak for them to endure.

We recap all of Victory’s six Grand Finals to date, with each appearance at the Isuzu UTE A-League’s ultimate game producing heroes, villains and unforgettable moments.


2007: Melbourne Victory 6-0 Adelaide United at Marvel Stadium

The second Grand Final in Isuzu UTE A-League history belonged to Archie Thompson.

The Victory striker scored five goals in a 6-0 win over Adelaide United, leading his club to a first title with the most dominant individual performance we’ve seen in an A-Leagues Grand Final to date.

At the time, it was the biggest margin of defeat in the history of both the Isuzu UTE A-League and National Soccer League (NSL). Thompson’s five-goal haul remains the record individual scoring tally in a single game in the Isuzu UTE A-League, equal with Jamie Maclaren who matched the feat for Melbourne City in a regular season game against Victory in 2021.

2009: Victory 1-0 Adelaide United at Marvel Stadium

Victory and Adelaide met again in 2009, and although it wasn’t like the drubbing of 2007, Victory came away with the Championship trophy once again.

A game shrouded in controversy after Adelaide striker Cristiano’s red card just 10 minutes into the first half, Victory toiled to break down the 10-man Reds until Tom Pondeljak struck on the hour mark.

Danny Allsopp was sent off for the hosts five minutes later but Victory managed to stave off the Reds and secure their second Championship in as many Grand Final appearances.


2010: Victory 1 (2) – (4) 1 Sydney FC at Marvel Stadium


The sound of Kevin Muscat’s penalty hitting the left-hand goalpost reverberated around Marvel Stadium.

“Kevin Muscat who rarely, if ever, misses from the penalty spot,” said commentator Simon Hill as the Victory captain stepped forward to take Victory’s first spot kick in the shootout that followed a 1-1 draw between his side and Sydney FC in the 2010 Grand Final.

“He is the master of psychology from 11 metres,” continued Hill. “Can he fool (Sydney keeper) Clint Bolton?”

Muscat did send Bolton the wrong way – but couldn’t hit the target. The sound of the ball crashing off the woodwork pierced the anxious silence – and the crucial miss set Sydney on course to the Championship.

Kevin Muscat after missing from the spot against Sydney FC.

Byun Sung-hwan scored the winning goal from the spot as Sydney dealt Victory their first Grand Final defeat in Isuzu UTE A-League history. Post-game, Muscat said his penalty miss would haunt him for some time.

“Oh look mate (I’m) shattered,” Muscat said at the time.

“We got the result a couple of weeks ago to host the grand final and I feel a little bit … that we let the fans down.

“I’m sure they’ll be proud of us regardless but missing the penalty as well, I’ve scored quite a few in the last four or five years, missing that one tonight on the big stage it’s going to haunt me for a while.

“I was positive, Clint (Bolton) dived the other way so I executed it well but probably too well, (I) hit it too well and dragged it.

“Like I said it’s going to haunt me for a little while but look I’ve taken the pats on the back when I’ve scored them and I’m big enough to take the criticism tonight.”


2015: Victory 3-0 Sydney FC at AAMI Park

Nearly 30,000 fans packed into AAMI Park for the second instalment of Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC in a title decider: the 2015 Grand Final had a special feel to it and after the agony of 2010, it was Victory’s time to taste success in the second Big Blue decider.

Besart Berisha’s opening goal just beyond the half-hour mark ripped the lid off AAMI Park; the pulsating scenes in the stands ignited Victory’s charge to the title, with Kosta Barbarouses and Leigh Broxham adding goals two and three to a resounding 3-0 win over Sydney.

2017: Sydney FC 1 (4) – (2) 1 Melbourne Victory at Allianz Stadium

Another Big Blue showdown and another Sydney penalty triumph. The Sky Blues have the wood over Victory when it comes to Grand Final penalties and for the second time in club history, Melbourne fell short in the club’s first Grand Final away from home.

Victory full-back Daniel Georgievski was awarded the Joe Marston Medal on the losing side as Sydney came back from a goal down, equalising through Rhyan Grant after Besart Berisha’s opener.

Alex Wilkinson missed Sydney’s second penalty to give Victory the advantage in the shootout but both Carl Valeri and Marco Rojas did the same for the visitors as Sydney wrestled back momentum and triumphed in dramatic fashion.


2018: Newcastle Jets 0-1 Melbourne Victory at McDonald Jones Stadium

Victory’s first away Grand Final win came in 2018 against the heavily-fancied Newcastle Jets and, on a night of controversy, Kevin Muscat’s side prevailed thanks to Kosta Barbarouses’ 7th-minute goal – the only goal of the game – which was only allowed to stand due to the VAR missing an offside call after a software malfunction.

Defender James Donachie was offside in the build-up to the goal but the VAR mishap meant Victory kept their one-goal lead and they held onto that advantage all the way to the final whistle.

Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas produced a Grand Final performance for the ages, including the bravest of saves in second-half stoppage time.

Thomas gathered a free-kick floated into a dangerous area and copped a high boot from Jets striker Roy O’Donovan, who made a reckless attempt to win the ball and earned a red card as a result in the infamous incident.

Thomas won the Joe Marston Medal and the images of the former Victory keeper celebrating with his face and head heavily bandaged will forever remain a part of Victory folklore.

Victory came from fourth place to win the 2018 title decider, and were the first ever team to win reach the Grand Final from outside the top three, and the first team to win the lot from outside the top two.

Western United became the second team to win the Championship from outside the top two in 2022. Victory now have the chance to do it again, having reached the 2024 title decider after a third-place finish.

Awaiting Tony Popovic’s side in the Grand Final are Mark Jackson’s Mariners, Premiers and reigning Champions looking to go back-to-back.

Victory will do their best to shock the Mariners in Grand Final number seven for the club, as they pursue an equal-league record fifth Isuzu UTE A-League Championship.

GRAND FINAL DETAILS: Everything you need to know
ALL STARS: Final 21-player squad locked in to take on Newcastle United this Friday