Victory, Vukovic standing in way of Glory for Perth
DANNY Vukovic has felt the pain of losing an FFA Cup final, and tonight he hopes to share in the elation of winning one.
But to do that would mean Perth Glory would suffer the disappointment of losing the decider in consecutive years.
Vukovic was the goalkeeper for the Glory last season when it suffered an agonising 1-0 loss to Adelaide United, Sergio Cirio scoring the winning goal just minutes after Perth was reduced to 10 men when Josh Risdon was sent off.
This time Vukovic will be doing his best to stop his former teammates from scoring when he lines up in the Victory goal in the 2015 grand final at Melbourne's AAMI Park.
The gloveman is one of a host of big names in the Victory line-up, headed by ever-dangerous marksman Besart Berisha.
The Albanian has scored in all of the team's wins in the competition this season, and also has three goals from four games in the A-League.
Throw in the likes of club champion Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Kosta Barbarouses, Gui Finkler, Matthieu Delpierre and Carl Valeri, and the Glory will need to produce something special to make up for last year's defeat.
Playing in the final gives the Victory the chance to become the first club to hold all three of Australia's major football trophies at the same time - the A-League Premiers Plate, Championship, and FFA Cup trophy.
Coach Kevin Muscat acknowledged the talent at his disposal gave the club a great opportunity to add another trophy to the cabinet.
"It's about preparing to be at our best, because if we're at our best we give ourselves a very good chance of winning," he said confidently.
Perth has named its strongest line-up in a 19-man squad, although imports Diego Castro and Gyorgy Sandor, and youngsters Chris Harold and Mitch Oxborrow are under injury clouds.
To cause what would clearly be an upset, the Glory will need their experienced players, including skipper Richie Garcia, who missed the 3-1 semi-final victory over Melbourne City through suspension, as well as Michael Thwaite, Dino Djulbic and goalkeeper Ante Covic, to step up.
Perth officials were initially disappointed the game was scheduled to be played in Melbourne after it also travelled to Adelaide for last year's decider, but coach Kenny Lowe said he and the players had moved on from that debate.
"If someone said to me that you could play in a cup final, I'm not bothered where it is…and we're really looking forward to the day," Lowe said.
"It's going to be tough. We're playing against a very good team which you'd expect in any cup final."
Despite its underdog tag, Perth has every reason to go into the match with confidence. It was the only team not to lose to Melbourne Victory last season.