Roar coach eyes back-to-back AL titles
Read into it what you will, but the usually hard-nosed Brisbane Roar coach Ange Postecoglou conceded he was feeling nostalgic ahead of Sunday's A-League grand final with Perth Glory at Suncorp Stadium.
As speculation mounts that Postecoglou is headed to Melbourne Victory next season, the Roar coach admits he has taken a walk down memory lane before the season decider to the last time he led teams to back-to-back national soccer titles with South Melbourne.
And he hopes to have found a good omen as Jacob Burns prepares to lead the Glory to what would have been considered an unlikely A-League title push just four months ago.
"I had a look back at a few things last night and the last time I was in this position trying to win back-to-back the opposition had a J Burns in the midfield (for Sydney United)," said Postecoglou, who famously led South Melbourne to titles in 1998-99.
"He was still kicking and harassing people back then.
"It just goes to show, while it is fantastic to be in this position you never take it for granted."
Family ties are expected to ensure Postecoglou will ignore a reported four-year $1.25 million per year deal offered by the Roar to link with the Victory.
Even if Postecoglou becomes the first man to steer a side to consecutive A-League championships.
Not that he was letting on when the elephant in the room was finally acknowledged in the dying minutes of the half-hour grand final press conference.
"Thanks for bringing it up. I hope it has unsettled the Perth players enormously (spending) every waking moment wondering what I am doing next year," Postecoglou said.
"Four o'clock tomorrow is all I and the boys are interested in.
"If anyone thinks I am going to waste a minute of my time thinking about anything else they are kidding themselves."
Postecoglou reiterated that winning a title on Sunday would surpass last season's last gasp championship victory.
No wonder - while juggling Asian Champions League duties the Roar overcame a mid-season five match losing run and the loss of the likes of skipper Matt McKay to come within an ace of the minor premiership.
"It was always going to be hard to back up," Postecoglou said.
"Last year we took a lot of teams by surprise so by the time we got to grand final the momentum carried us through.
"This year we have had our challenges.
"When we went to the Mariners (mid-season) we were 11 points behind and playing them away - I was looking at our draw and thinking unless we hit some form we will end up fourth, fifth or sixth.
"But to the players' credit we have not missed a beat since - and while juggling the ACL."
Glory coach Ian Ferguson also took plenty of pride out of his side making the final after they lost six of eight games following a perfect 3-0 season start.
"We have taken a lot of crap from a lot of people and it's nice to see us in the grand final," he said.
Brisbane has beaten the Glory in 13 out of 21 matches.
The Glory's last win over the Roar was in 2009 - but at Suncorp Stadium.