The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers will aim for their third Hyundai A-League grand final appearance in four seasons today.
They host Brisbane Roar in the last ever match at the original Wanderland in today’s semi-final at 5pm. Here’s everything you need to know.
The Wanderers have been pitted against Brisbane Roar in every finals series they’ve been involved in including a 2-0 defeat of the Queenslanders in the first semi-final of season 2012/13 and an extra-time defeat in the grand final of season 2013/14.
Sunday’s clash will be the 15th meeting between the two sides – the Red & Black have played Brisbane more than any other team.
With a dead even head-to-head record of six wins, two draws and six losses each, there’s not been much to separate the two Hyundai A-League heavyweights, although the visiting Roar have prevailed in five of their past seven meetings with the Wanderers, including two victories over Western Sydney during the regular 2015/16 campaign.
Jaushua Sotirio and Jacob Pepper have been promoted into Tony Popovic’s semi-final squad. See the full ins and outs here.
A 0-0 draw with Melbourne Victory in Round 27 cost John Aloisi’s side the Premiers’ Plate after the Roar looked in prime position to acquire their first silverware since 2014, but a hair-raising comeback win over the Victory last weekend has the third-placed finishers arriving in Parramatta with a daunting sense of momentum.
There’s something in the Brisbane water around this time of year – they’ve won 11 finals matches (more than any other side) and have produced a series of standout moments over the years.
Despite the Roars’ time-honoured finals pedigree, the side have managed just three wins away from Suncorp Stadium this season – only the last placed Mariners have fewer.
Yet, Brisbane have had the recent edge over their hosts this season with 3-1 and 3-2 wins in October and March, two encounters that saw Roar forward Jamie Maclaren notch braces.
Maclaren has netted five times in total against the Wanderers this campaign and with the pacey finisher complemented by the creativity of Thomas Broich and menace of Dimitri Petratos, the visitors will fancy their chances of securing their fourth grand final appearance.
How to watch
If you can’t make it to the ground be sure to catch the semi-final live on Fox Sports 505 at 5.00pm AEST, delayed on SBS2 and streamed online from 5.30pm AEST, or live on 702 ABC Sydney & ABC Local Radio NSW, Grandstand Digital & Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-League Live.