A-League grand final

A-League grand final: Can Newcastle create Australian sporting history?

This year's A-League decider has a sub-script that should entice sport fans from all codes.

Because should the Newcastle Jets win, they would be first team from any Australian sporting code to finish with the wooden spoon in one year, and then claim a premiership the next.

It is a fairytale the Newcastle Knights can only dream of in the NRL (after three straight wooden spoons). But Novacastrians have a genuine title contender on their hands after watching their Jets bottom out in 2016/17.

The Jets will take on Melbourne Victory in Newcastle tonight in front of a packed house at McDonald Jones Stadium. While many ally the Hunter with rugby league, Andrew Johns crowd surfing to the Screaming Jets, Matty Johns declaring a premiership is 'better than lego', this is a region that founded football in Australia.

The first coal boom of the late 1880s brought immigrants from the UK, who founded some of Australia's first ever soccer clubs in the Hunter.

But since the A-League was founded in 2004 to replace the ailing National Soccer League, the Jets have claimed just one grand final win - back in 2008.

Can they make history by doing it again tonight.

Why Newcastle can win the A-League decider

The obvious reason is they get to play this one at home. The lure of moving the match to a bigger stadium in Sydney was never even a consideration, instead power brokers and the community demanded it be played in Newcastle.

This match sold out in seconds, and will be filled with baying Novacastrians willing their boys home.

The Jets will not die wondering, the live by the attacking sword and will die by it. Expect goals in this decider.

And for all of the Victory's accolades and successes, the Hunter has not been a happy hunting ground. Melbourne has won just one match in their last 12 attempts at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Newcastle have also beaten the Victory more times than any other A-League club in competition history.

Victory defender Rhys Williams has also been ruled out, opening up opportunities in attack.

Why Melbourne can win

This is a club that demands success. And they will all still be carrying the scars of losing to Sydney FC in a penalty shootout in the last grand final.

The Victory currently has three championships to their name, a fourth would make them the most dominant A-League side since its creation.

Besart Berisha is a genuine game-breaker, has experienced A-League championship success and can take away the game with one sweet stroke off his boot.

In five grand finals, the Victory have won three and pushed the other two to penalty shootouts.

And the Victory have paced their run to perfection, winning four of their last five matches and seven of their last nine - piling in 20 goals in the process.

Jets goalkeeper Jack Duncan and stalwart Ben Kantarovski have been ruled out, disruptions that Melbourne may be able to capitalise on.

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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