Profiles of the A-League grand finalists

Ben McKay and Vince Rugari

NEWCASTLE JETS

LIKELY STARTING XI

GLEN MOSS: The veteran Kiwi international will play in his first grand final after Jack Duncan's injury in the semi. Moss spent one season at Victory under Ernie Merrick but sat on the bench in the 2019-10 decider.

DANIEL GEORGIEVSKI: Last year's Joe Marston medal winner has been a huge presence at the back for the Jets this season and will relish another outing on Australian football's biggest stage.

NIGEL BOOGAARD: His finals chances looked gone for all money after suffering a fractured knee two months ago but Boogaard recovered to play a key role in last week's semi and will skipper his hometown club.

NIKOLAI TOPOR-STANLEY: Another old hand who has been there and done it all. Having already played in three losing A-League grand finals and an Asian Champions League decider, his experience will be vital.

JOHN KOUTROUMBIS: The former Adelaide United youth-team prospect somehow managed to keep Daniel Arzani scoreless last week and faces another tough task in muzzling the in-form Kosta Barbarouses.

STEVEN UGARKOVIC: Nicknamed 'Stevie UG' by his teammates in a nod to Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, the 23-year-old is the man who makes the Newcastle midfield tick.

RILEY MCGREE: Took the world by storm with his incredible scorpion kick goal, but McGree is more than just a source of football party tricks - he's a mobile, dangerous attacking threat who tends to make things happen.

RONALD VARGAS: The Venezuelan marquee man showed an aggressive streak in Newcastle's semi-final and was probably lucky not to be sent off in the first half. At his best, he is mesmerising.

JASON HOFFMAN: Another born and bred Hunter Valley product who scored the winner against Melbourne City, and is relishing his redeployment in attack after years as a fullback.

DIMITRI PETRATOS: Richly deserved his recent Socceroos call-up on the back of a terrific season with the Jets. Petratos is also a major threat from set pieces and from long distance.

ROY O'DONOVAN: Missed large chunks of the season due to injury but still tipped in nine goals for the season. The Irishman is a classic poacher who knows where the goals are and needs only a half-chance to score.

SUBSTITUTES

JACK DUNCAN: The first-choice gloveman has been named in the squad despite being ruled out this week by coach Ernie Merrick after tearing his quad in last weekend's semi-final. Almost certain to play no part.

NICK COWBURN: Another local boy done good. Cowburn has quietly racked up more than 50 caps for Newcastle over the years and can plug a gap in defence if required.

LACHLAN JACKSON: The lanky stopper has filled in admirably when required for the Jets and has made 11 appearances for the season.

PATITO RODRIGUEZ: Not a bad weapon to have on the bench. The Argentine livewire would be more than good enough to start at most other clubs.

JOE CHAMPNESS: Part-time rapper, full-time attacking threat. Champness can play anywhere across the front third and his blistering pace could help change the game late on.

COACH: ERNIE MERRICK: The mastermind behind Melbourne Victory's success in the early days of the A-League. Many questioned his appointment after a so-so stint in Wellington but it's proved a masterstroke for Newcastle. Merrick is seeking to join Graham Arnold as the only other coach to have won titles at two A-League clubs.

MELBOURNE VICTORY

LIKELY STARTING XI

LAWRENCE THOMAS: The 25-year-old plays in his third grand final off the back of a stunning 10-save match last weekend he called a career-best performance. Unsigned and Europe could call after this.

STEFAN NIGRO: The bit-part midfielder has emerged as a grand finalist at right-back due to Williams' injury and Victory's no full-backs policy. Likes a battle but a downgrade on mid-season departure Jason Geria.

JAMES DONACHIE: The recently blond ex-Brisbane centre back will lead Victory's defence after Williams' withdrawal. Needs to find composure that has eluded him at times this campaign.

THOMAS DENG: After a season in the Netherlands, Deng has played mostly left-back this season but will be in the heart of defence on Saturday. A deserved inclusion and super against Sydney FC.

LEIGH BROXHAM: Victory's Mr Dependable will be used as a wing-back against the Jets, where he's performed just fine this season. The 30-year-old is gunning for a third title and a new deal.

CARL VALERI: The indefatigable club captain has come through a tough campaign fighting fit and will anchor the midfield against the Jets. Brings much-needed composure and leadership.

TERRY ANTONIS: The mid-season signing capped his rise through the Victory ranks with a had-to-see-it-to-believe-it semi-final showing against his old club. The key driver in midfield.

JAMES TROISI: The creative Socceroo has endured an up and down season but remains a man for the big occasion. Revelled in Victory's go-ahead goal against Sydney FC.

LEROY GEORGE: Has taken the league by storm this season - until the finals series with two largely quiet performances. If the unsigned Dutchman is to leave, Victory hope he goes out with a bang.

KOSTA BARBAROUSES: After a season in Wellington, Barbarouses has returned for a second stint at Victory and has grown as the campaign goes on. The lively winger will require some stopping.

BESART BERISHA: Three titles in six A-League campaigns. Last season's golden boot winner. Goals in four grand finals. That overhead kick in the elimination final. Who'd bet against another Berisha masterclass?

SUBSTITUTES

MATT ACTON: Three appearances this year and will watch a third grand final from the bench after Brisbane in 2014 and Victory in 2017.

MATIAS SANCHEZ: The Argentinian midfield terrier has failed to set the A-League alive this season. Can tackle and shut a match down.

KENJOK ATHIU: What a rise through the ranks for 'King Kenny'. Muscat will have no hesitation taking off record A-League scorer Berisha for Athiu if the game needs a goal.

CHRISTIAN THEOHAROUS: Victory's sole injury doubt this week after being scythed down by Luke Wilkshire. Should come through to make the bench.

JOSH HOPE: The Tasmanian midfielder has shown solid judgment and passing in five substitute appearances this year. Unlikely to see minutes.

COACH: KEVIN MUSCAT: Australian football's wild child has morphed into a respected and considerate manager that could become the first man to win two A-League titles both as a player and a coach. Has had critics for signings, tactics and substitutions this season - and revels in proving them wrong.