The last time Canberra Olympic met Canberra FC in a grand final was one of the more remarkable days in Australian football history. Two penalties, one red card and an 8-5 victory to FC in the Capital Football Premier League decider two years ago belying all expectations of the occasion.
On the sideline that day as an assistant was Canberra Olympic’s head coach Leo Exarhos. While he is not expecting a repeat of the 13 goal thriller Canberra football fans were treated to that day, Exarhos has no doubt tomorrow’s title decider will be a similarly entertaining spectacle.
“There were a lot of nerves and inexperience present that day,” said Exarhos. “These games are full of passion and full of pressure, which is why you sometimes see the big scorelines.
“This time around the boys will benefit a lot from that experience. There are always nerves and mistakes in a grand final but it’s how you respond and how your teammates pick you up that keeps you motivated.”
The form guide would also suggest it will be a tight affair at McKellar Park tomorrow afternoon, with both sides claiming victories and a solitary goal separating the sides on the three occasions they’ve met throughout the season.
While Olympic have gone down in their two previous encounters, Exarhos is confident his side have greatly improved throughout their finals run and are ready to account for the league’s minor-premiers.
“Our preparation has been excellent,” he said. “There’s nothing like a grand final to bring out the enthusiasm in the players and the fans.
“We have a good deal of respect for our opposition but it will be close. We’re expecting a battle”
Now in his second season as head coach of Olympic, Exarhos has been blown away by the support he has received and is hopeful a big crowd will turn out for the twilight decider.
“I’ve been amazed by the excitement amongst our supporter base, with fans of all ages stopping me in the street to wish the team luck.
“We’re hopeful of attracting a crowd in excess of 4,000 people so it will no doubt be a tremendous occasion for football in the city.”
Capital Football National Premier League Grand Final
Saturday 21 September, 2013
Canberra FC v Canberra Olympic
McKellar Park, 5.00pm kick-off
Canberra FC: 1. Adam PERAKOVIC, 5. Julian BORGNA, 6. Ryan KEIR, 7. Marcin ZYGMUNT, 8. Ian GRAHAM, 9. Philippe BERNABO, 10. Domenic GIAMPAOLO, 11. Ivan PAVLAK, 12. Aaron EVANS, 13. Daniel BENNETT, 16. Matt GRBESA, 17. Aiden BRUNSKILL, 19. Adam SPALETA, 20. James FIELD, 22. Jakob COLE, 99. Alex OLORIEGBE
Canberra Olympic: 1. Angelo KONSTANTINOU, 3. Chris NIKITAS, 4. Joel VALTONEN, 5. Oliver WIEDERKEHR, 6. Joshua GASPARI, 7. Robbie DEELEY, 8. Jeremy HABTEMARIAM 9. Hristjan TANOSKI, 10. Mark SHIELDS, 11. Nathan TIDMARSH, 12. Costa FALLAS, 13. Robbie SCHRODER, 14. Tim BOBOLAS, 15. Daniel FULTON, 17. Nick BOBOLAS, 56. Matt CACHIA, 99. Victor YANES
Match Officials: Richard Naumovski (referee), Owen Goldrick, Greg Taylor, (assistants) Matthew Cropper (fourth official)