The stage is set for a frenzied finish to the Hyundai A-League home-and- away season with just three competition points separating second and sixth position on the ladder heading into this weekend’s final round.
Every match in the final round of the home-and-away season carries post-season implications in a fitting finale to the tightest finals race in A-League history.
With Brisbane Roar having stitched up the Premiership and a bye through the first week of finals, any of the other clubs currently in the top six have the opportunity to secure a home final with victory this weekend.
For the seventh-placed Newcastle Jets, the only side outside the top six still within reach of the finals, victory this weekend is a must to keep their title hopes afloat.
If the Jets are successful on Friday night against Adelaide, they will face a nervous wait until sixth-placed Sydney FC’s clash with Perth in the final match of the home- and-away season to know their finals fate.
Newcastle are trying to avoid a fourth-straight season in the finals wilderness, while Sydney FC, incredibly, can finish as high as second on the ladder with a win over Glory, or could find themselves out of the post-season altogether with a loss.
As well as the battle for finals positions, other clubs will be desperate to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon in their last outing of the regular season.
One such club trying to avoid the cellar, Melbourne Heart, will ride the emotion of Harry Kewell’s final game as it farewells the Socceroos legend in a home clash against second-placed Western Sydney Wanderers.
Kewell will be miked-up as he takes the field to offer Fox Sports viewers an intimate insight into his last ever professional match.
Ironically, Heart can also help its cross-city rivals Melbourne Victory, who are eyeing off a second-place finish and automatic entry to week two of the finals when they cross the Tasman to take on Wellington Phoenix on Saturday.
Fox Sports LIVE coverage of the final round of the home-and-away season begins with Kick Off at 6.30pm EST (Fox Sports 3HD & Fox Sports 3) tomorrow where Tara Rushton and Andy Harper will be joined by John Kosmina and Jacob Burns to share their predictions for the final make-up of the top six.
Then, following five must-win battles across the league, the Sunday Shootout team of Mark Bosnich and Adam Peacock cover all the final round fallout and preview the finals series alongside special guests including retiring Socceroos star Mile Sterjovski and dual A-League champion and former Melbourne Victory midfielder Grant Brebner at 7.30pm EST on Sunday.