Victory have experience edge in decider

Ben McKay
Kosta Barbarouses believes Victory's edge in experience will serve them well in the grand final

If Saturday's A-League grand final comes down to experience, then consider Melbourne Victory champions.

Led by three-time A-League winner Besart Berisha, Victory have the edge on Newcastle when it comes to on-field winners.

Kosta Barbarouses and Leigh Broxham are looking for a third title, while Carl Valeri, James Donachie and goalkeeping pair Lawrence Thomas and Matt Acton are all looking for their second.

The Jets aren't starved of experience - Daniel Georgievski (Victory in 2015), Jason Hoffman (Newcastle in 2008) and Dimitri Petratos (Brisbane in 2014) - have each won titles.

But Barbarouses says there's a strong feeling among the travelling Victorians that they know what's required on the biggest stage.

"Experience is massive and the more the better come finals time," he said.

"We've got behind in both finals games and you've got to know not to panic. We haven't, we've kept a cool head.

"If we're on song and we start to do things the way were supposed to, we're going to hurt them."

No one has stood up more for Victory in this year's finals than Barbarouses.

The New Zealand international set up both goals in Victory's 2-1 elimination final win and scored Melbourne Victory's reply when down 1-0 against Sydney FC.

He also hit the post in a blistering showing at Allianz Stadium that was overshadowed by heroics from Terry Antonis and Lawrence Thomas.

"I couldn't tell you what it is that's clicked for me," he said.

"This year has been pretty good year personally and for the team.

"When the Asian Champions League started I felt like my performances got better at the same time as the team.

"Against Adelaide and Sydney it looks good for me producing but it's a result of us performing all the way through, sticking to our roles and doing it."

Barbarouses has recent ties with Merrick, signing for the coach at Wellington Phoenix last season.

With the returning international, Gui Finkler, Italian defender Marco Rossi and Roy Krishna in tow, it was supposed to be the season the Nix went bang.

Instead, Merrick packed his bags after six losses in their opening eight games.

"He's doing a similar sort of thing at the Jets as he was at Wellington. Last year we tried to do it. It just didn't go so well," he said.

"They try to play the ball forward quickly.

"But this is a grand final. It will be tight. No one will give each other space.

"If you lose the ball both teams will put the pressure right on. It'll be high speed, high pressure. And we're used to that."