Brosque calls for finals to be scrapped
RETIRING Sydney FC captain Alex Brosque has called for the A-League finals system to be scrapped after the competition's best team again failed to win the grand final.
In winning Sunday night's decider on penalties, the Sky Blues delivered a familiar blow to Perth Glory, who won the premiership by eight points but will be not go down in history as champions.
Sydney suffered the same fate last campaign, having run away with the regular season by 14 points before getting knocked out by Melbourne Victory in a dramatic extra-time semi-final.
Every season the debate is reignited around the merits of the first-past-the-post format versus a finals series.
It's a battle between football's traditional global norm and Australia's fondness for a sudden-death showdown.
Despite being on the winning team, Brosque, who played 11 A-League seasons which spanned multiple finals configurations, said the finals series should get the boot, especially since the introduction of the FFA Cup.
"It probably is time to look at scrapping these semis and finals," he said.
"It happened to us last year. We won the league by 14 points and weren't seen as champions. And Perth were incredible this year and they're not seen as champions.
"So while it's sweet for us and we'll enjoy it, it's something to look to in the future ... because we do have a cup competition now where it's knockout and whoever shows up on the day wins. I don't think we need two.
"That's just my opinion because I knew coming into the grand final that it is Australian football. But I don't think we need to follow the MLS and NBA. We're football.
"All around the world the best team wins the league and they're seen as the best team."
Glory coach Tony Popovic was not quite as forthright but echoed Brosque's sentiments.
"Sydney had the same thing last year, didn't they," Popovic said.
"They were the best team all year, but in this country you're deemed champion if you win a one-off final.
"There is a group of champions in this team, including the staff and everyone associated with the club.
"We finished first as the best team in the league, we are in the Asian Champions League, we won the Premiers' Plate.
"It's a phenomenal season. We just couldn't get the icing on the cake."
Sydney's triumph gave Brosque a third championship - all on penalties - in what was almost certainly his final professional match, assuming he doesn't back up for Tuesday night's ACL dead rubber against Kawasaki Frontale.
The 35-year-old was still contemplating his next move but ruled out coaching for now.
"There are a lot of players who have it in them to coach," he said.
"I don't think it's something I have in me at the moment. I don't think it's the right time for me anyway.
"But with Uffy (Talay) leaving I may stay around in some way, even if it's just to guide the boys coming through to give Bimbi (coach Steve Corica) a hand. We'll see."