Sydney FC and Socceroos defender Rhyan Grant says he is fit and firing heading into Sunday’s Grand Final qualifier against longtime rivals Melbourne Victory at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
The 28-year old was a precautionary absence from the AFC Champions League trip to Korea Republic against Ulsan Hyundai on Tuesday night, but says the hamstring injury he picked up against Newcastle Jets in the final round of the regular season is ‘sweet’ after returning to full training this week.
The Sky Blues recorded a 2-1 win over Victory just over a month ago thanks to a late goal from Milos Ninkovic and will no doubt take confidence from that into this Sunday’s must-win clash.
“We got that good win over them last time with a late goal but we always have really good battles against Victory,” Grant said.
“This weekend will be no different, we know we’ve got to be on our toes come Sunday and I’m sure we will be.
“I know if we play at our best we will beat any team, its all about concentrating on ourselves and making sure we’re ready to go.
“The hammy is sweet,” he continued.
“It was just a twinge but it’s all good now, I’m back into full training and it’ll all be ready for Sunday.”
This weekend’s opponents boast the likes of Ola Toivenin and Keisuke Honda who have both had fantastic seasons, and while Grant knows just how integral those two are to the Victory lineup, he has complete faith in himself and his teammates to shut them down.
“They’ve got a few big name players that have had great seasons, and obviously their two big ones are Toivenin and Honda who are always going to cause opposition teams some grief,” he said.
“We’ll have to keep an eye out for them and try stop them, the big aim is to nullify all of their attack and the best way to do that is to get on the front foot, get stuck into them early doors and control the contest which we are more than capable of doing.”
It was a similar scene in last year’s Finals Series with a game against their biggest rivals to qualify for the big dance, and unfortunately for Sydney FC they fell 3-2 in extra time thanks to a goal from former Sky Blue Terry Antonis.
While it was a tough loss to take, Grant is adamant that his side are only focused on what is in front of them as opposed to what happened a year ago.
“We don’t forget what happened last season in the finals and it certainly was a heartbreaking one, but at the same time we’re not looking for revenge and we are fully focused on this year,” he said.
“We’ve had some great battles with them this season, and even though we didn’t get the result in all three games against them we have played quite well and go into Sunday very confident in the fact we can definitely match it with them and beat them.”
Sydney FC will take on Melbourne Victory this Sunday night at 7pm at Nestrata Jubilee Stadium in one of the biggest #BigBlue contests of all time and it will be a clash with higher stakes than Kogarah has seen in almost a decade.