Roar playing for A-League history

by AAP on Mar 18, 2012

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Watching the coveted Premier's Plate leave Brisbane headquarters bound for the Central Coast to possibly be lifted by A-League rivals the Mariners was all Roar coach Ange Postecoglou needed to try to ensure it was returned.

The Mariners could have claimed the premiership after their 1-0 win over Adelaide at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday, had the Roar lost to Newcastle in a simultaneous match being played further up the F3.

But the Roar's 2-1 victory over the Jets at Hunter Stadium means Brisbane - sitting just two points adrift of the league leaders - are still in contention to become the first team in A-League history to win back-to-back premierships.

And it's all to be decided in the mouth-watering final round.

The Roar will have to beat bottom-placed Gold Coast in their last match on Sunday and rely on Wellington to keep the Mariners winless to snatch top spot.

"It's funny what little things motivate you," Postecoglou said.

"Yesterday, the FFA told us we had to pack up the Premier's Plate and send it off to Gosford and I wasn't really happy when I saw it leave the offices. It just didn't feel right.

"I was pretty determined to send the FFA to great expense to pack it up again to make sure it's available next week."

Before their final matches, both teams will have mid-week Asian Champions League games to contest, with the Roar having flown to China on Sunday for their clash with Beijing Guoan on Tuesday while the Mariners take on Japanese heavyweights Nagoya Grampus at home on Wednesday.

And while the Roar have the tougher preparation leading into the crucial final game, having to contend with long flights and below-zero temperatures in Beijing, Postecoglou is certain there's still enough left in the tank.

"It's going to be a tough week for sure," Postecoglou said.

"But I'd much rather that than to be planning our end-of-season holidays next week.

"We worked really hard last season to finish first and no team's ever finished first two years in a row. It's difficult to do and we've had a really tough year this year.

"But the fact that it's gone down to the last week shows that we won't give up things too easily and that we're prepared to fight for everything.

"So it will be an exciting last week. There'll be spots up for grabs in the top six as well and I think that's good for the competition ... it's designed to be tight and it certainly will be."

Making the final round even more tantalising is the battle for sixth place.

The Jets' defeat means they'll have to face off with Sydney for a finals spot in their do-or-die clash at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

The seventh-placed Sky Blues, who came from 2-0 down to level 2-2 with Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Saturday, have brought themselves level on 35 points with the Jets but, with Newcastle's superior goal difference, nothing less than a win will ensure Sydney a finals berth.

Wellington's 3-0 loss to Melbourne Victory on Friday meanwhile has left them equal on points with Perth after the Glory also suffered a shock 3-0 loss to bottom-placed Gold Coast on Sunday night, with both teams left to fight for a top-three finish in their final games.