Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar go head-to-head on Saturday night at Allianz Stadium, seeking to take out the Australia Cup Final 2023.
These top-tier teams will be eager to go into the A-League Men’s 2023/24 season in the best possible fashion with victory this weekend.
The winner of the Australia Cup Final will also earn a place in next season's AFC Champions League 2 (currently AFC Cup).
Sydney had a challenging run to their fourth big dance in the Australia Cup, pursuing their second title.
The Sky Blues last made the final in 2018, finishing as runners up, after winning the competition a year earlier.
They faced three A-Leagues teams, including last season’s ALM grand finalists Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne City, while also downing NPL NSW Men’s premiers APIA Leichhardt.
Young gun forward Patrick Wood has burdened the goalscoring responsibilities following the departure of veteran striker Adam Le Fondre in the off-season.
Wood has scored in every Cup match for the Sky Blues in 2023, seeing his tally at four.
Joe Lolley is another key member of Steve Corica’s frontline, providing five assists and the winner against City in the semi-finals.
After the thrilling 3-3 Mariners’ draw and subsequent penalty win in the Round of 32, Sydney have conceded just once - a record catalysed by the consistent presence of pedigree defender Jack Rodwell.
The former England international has been managed through three games in a row, providing leadership and organisation at the back for Sydney.
Creators Anthony Caceres and Robert Mak have also had strong tournaments, while Luke Brattan and Corey Hollman form a formidable partnership in the middle.
Brisbane also endured a tricky run to the final, including a few close encounters to make their first Australia Cup decider.
Tight wins over A-Leagues sides Newcastle Jets and Western Sydney Wanderers were sandwiched in between a 5-0 thrashing of Sydney United 58 before they edged past Melbourne Knights in the semi-finals.
Thomas Waddingham is the star up front for Brisbane - the teenager scoring three goals in the tournament so far.
Midfield playmaker Henry Hore has also been impressive for Ross Aloisi’s men, scoring on two occasions himself.
Louis Zabala is one of the Roar’s standout defenders in this year’s Cup, offering quality and energy up and down the left-hand side.
In addition to these younger players, Brisbane have a core base of experience they have relied upon so far in 2023.
Fullback Zabala is accompanied in defence by A-Leagues stalwarts Tom Aldred, Scott Neville and Jack Hingert.
Jay O’Shea and Florin Berenguer have provided important stability in midfield, while Nikola Mileusnic has been a reliable outlet on the wing, consistently causing defenders problems.
Brisbane have a good recent record over Sydney, losing only once since January 2022 in the ALM.
Sydney claimed the bragging rights back in April in a 2-0 win over their opponents.
It's set to be a thrilling clash on Saturday with the first silverware of the season up for grabs.
Australia Cup Head-to-head Record
Played 2: Sydney FC wins 1, Brisbane Roar wins 1
2019 – Round of 32 Sydney FC 0-2 Brisbane Roar FC at Leichhardt Oval
2022 – Quarter Final Sydney FC 1-0 Brisbane Roar FC at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
- Brisbane Roar and Sydney FC received the second least (47) and the least (46) yellow cards respectively in the 2022-23 A-League Men season last campaign.
- Sydney FC winger Joe Lolley has been the shining light of Sydney FC’s attacking output in this Australia Cup campaign, with the Englishman leading the tournament for big chances created (4), assists (5), key passes (15) and total shots (20).
- Brisbane Roar maestro Jay O’Shea has established himself as the most consistent passer in the Australia Cup, leading the league for passes completed (330), and joint-leading for key passes (15).
- Sydney FC contains three of the top four players for key passes in the 2023 Australia Cup, with Joe Lolley joint-first (15), Anthony Caceres third (11) and Luke Brattan fourth (10).
- Brisbane Roar goalkeeper Macklin Freke has made the second most saves (14) and saves inside the box (8) in this year’s Australia Cup, whilst also keeping the joint-most clean sheets (2).
- Sydney FC youngster Jake Girdwood-Reich leads the 2023 Australia Cup for interceptions (14) and clearances (19) and is ranked seventh for tackles, making 11 from the centre of defence
Insights provided by Jack George and Andrew Howe.
What they said
Steve Corica on the importance of winning silverware
It's massive for us as the club we want to win trophies. It's so early in the season for us and pre-season that it's come at the right time, we're playing very competitive matches against, some very good A-League teams as well as as NPL teams. So there's a trophy up for grabs, and obviously, AFC Cup as well. As you can see Mcarthur and Central Coast both playing in it. So as a club, that's exactly where we want to be and it's very important for us to win this.
Luke Brattan on helping the younger players prepare
I've been in a fair few finals now so obviously I try and give the young boys (advice), put my arm around them and calm them down. But I think nerves are good in that situation as well. You know, we've got a lot of energy from the young boys. They're doing great. So yeah, there's a there's a fine balance between, you know, just another game and a Final. So it's a big game and we got to enjoy it.
Ross Aloisi on reaching the Australia Cup Final
Obviously, it means a great deal. It's a given that everything you play in you want to win. But the most important thing for myself is the team performance and the football that we're playing and we're trying to play leading into the season proper and to be here is amazing, especially for the club, because it's I think 10 years since they've been able to play for a trophy. So pretty excited... I didn't know how quickly would get there and and how quickly the players bought into the brand, the football that we're trying to play. So in a way it is a it is a surprise. But we're very grateful to be here. That's for sure.
Tom Aldred on Ross Aloisi's influence
From where we were last season, we knew we had to turn a corner going going forward for the following season and Ross coming in. We were all excited by his appointment. We knew where he'd been before, some of the players had worked with him previously, so we kind of knew what we're getting getting in Ross and we were excited about it. And yeah, look, I think we've turned a huge corner. With the season coming as well, this has been a positive distraction. Obviously pre-season is a very long pre-season here in Australia. And week by week we've been tikcing off the games and we've never looked too far ahead. We never we never was looking at the final or the semi final it was just week by week we're taking off on it you provided us with competitive games and it's given us a way of showcasing of what we've been working on in training.
How To Watch
The match will be broadcast Live and Exclusive on Network 10 - Australia's home of football.
Channel 10 will show the match in all the major cities except Perth which will broadcast the match on 10 Bold.
As always check your local guides.
You can also stream the action Live and Free on 10 Play like in the previous Australia Cup 2023 Final Rounds.
Information on how to watch via 10 Play can be found here.
For countries without a broadcast rights deal, all matches will be shown on the Football Australia YouTube Channel.
Australia Cup Final 2023 Details
Match: Sydney FC vs Brisbane Roar FC
Date: Saturday, 7 October 2023
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Moore Park, Sydney
Kick-off: 7.45pm AEDT
Gates Open: 6.30pm AEDT