Victory not haunted by Hunter hoodoo
ARCHIE Thompson believes Melbourne Victory's hoodoo-breaking win over Sydney FC will help them overcome their horror Newcastle record in Saturday's grand final.
The Hunter Valley has been a graveyard for the visitors dating back to Ernie Merrick's Victory era, with this season's two McDonald Jones Stadium losses (4-0 and 2-0) symptomatic of their overall record.
Thompson declared Victory's stunning 3-2 semi-final win over Sydney FC their best display of the season.
He said that coupled with the sudden death occasion will offset Victory's shocking record (3 wins, six draws, 10 losses), dating back to their first game there - a 1-0 win in January 2006 when Kevin Muscat captained the side coached by Merrick.
"They were seriously awesome, the game was insane. It's probably the best I've seen them play all year - discipline wise and the rest of it,'' Thompson said.
"Victory don't travel well to Newcastle either. In saying that I don't think it will play a part. Look at Victory-Sydney, they hadn't won in seven matches and they broke that hoodoo.
"It'll probably be the same in Newcastle. They didn't travel well there but it's a grand final, it's a one off. Anything can happen."
Thompson said his former mentor Merrick will have a calming influence on the Jets, who are playing their first grand final since 2008, when they beat Central Coast 1-0 at Allianz Stadium.
"They've just got to enjoy the whole week and embrace it. When I prepared for them, I wasn't focused too much on the final, I just enjoyed the time. You roll up to the game and you either turn up or you don't,'' he said.
"I think that's what Ernie will be telling the players from his experience because the Jets don't have as many players who've won finals.
"The experience is definitely with Victory, when you look at the players involved in finals football before."
Thompson, who will undoubtedly tip Victory as he has done all season, was undecided when asked for an early prognosis.
"I wouldn't have a clue. If I was gonna say anything I would go on Victory's performance on Saturday,'' Thompson said.
"It's going to be awesome. One of those finals where you want both teams to win.
"Newcastle is almost everyone's second favourite team."
THE HUNTER HORROR SHOW
Victory's record at McDonald Jones Stadium
Round 8: Newcastle 4-0 Victory
Scorers: Barbarouses 5, Georgievski 13, Nabbout 37, 83, Champness 75
Round 19: Newcastle 2-0 Victory
Scorers: Boogaard 31, McGree 70