HARBOURSPORT  
A-LEAGUE
A-League Scoreboard - GRAND FINAL
FINALS RESULTS :
Friday 25th January
Sydney FC 0 Queensland Roar 0
Sunday 27th January
Newcastle Jets 2 Central Coast Mariners 0

Friday 8th February
Queensland Roar 2 Sydney FC 0
Sunday 10th February
Central Coast Mariners 3 Newcastle Jets 0
(after extra time)

Sunday 17th February
Preliminary Final
Newcastle Jets 3 Queensland Roar 2
(after extra time)

Sunday 24th February
Grand Final
Central Coast Mariners 0 Newcastle Jets 1
Sydney Football Stadium
The intense rivalry between Central Coast and Newcastle lifted
to a new level when the two clubs clashed in the A-League
grand final. In perfect conditions for football, a crowd of over
36,000 came to the Sydney Football Stadium and were treated to
a match to remember.
At each end of the field, the vocal support groups made a
spectacle to remember. The Newcastle supporters, known as
The Squadron, populated the southern end end; and with their
giant banner pre-match and jumping during the match put on a
show. Not to be outdone, the Marinators at the northern end
were also in form, with banners, flags and streamers.
It didn't take long for the passions to ignite on the pitch, with a
mellee breaking out in just the second minute, and yellow cards
to Joel Griffiths and Mile Jedinak for shots at each other within a
minute of each other early.
The first half never reached the pinnacle of football aesthetics,
as both sides were struck by nerves on the big occasion and
keeping the spectacle tight. The Jets had the better of
possession, and although the Mariners had a few chances to
score it was Newcastle who were creating the majority of the
opportunities. But none were taken, and it was 0-0 at the break.
The game opened up in the second half, with both sides looking
to break the deadlock. And shortly after the hour it was
Newcastle who got on the board. Former Socceroo Tony Vidmar,
playing in his last match, turned the ball over to Mark Bridge, who
took it inside the area before his shot beat the outstretched arms
of Mariners' keeper Danny Vukovic into the net.
Within a minute, John Aloisi had a chance to equalise, but his
shot sailed frustratingly wide. The Mariners pulled the changes,
bringing Andre Gumprecht and Tom Pondeljak on to create
some attacking flair. This was a plan that looked likely to work,
with the majority of the remainder of the game being played in
Newcastle's half while the Mariners were creating corners and
taking shots from the edge of the area; but the goal wasn't to
come.
But it could so easily have come. Newcastle were denied a regulation time win in the
preliminary final by a penalty in injury time; and it could have happened again. In a final thrust
forward, the Mariners pushed forward into the box; where the ball rebounded off Newcastle's
James Holland. The Mariners immediately appealed for a handball, and replays agreed that
the penalty should have been awarded. But referee Mark Shield, without the benefit of such
replays, kept his whistle from his mouth and the penalty wasn't given.
The Mariners were furious. Keeper Danny Vukovic and striker John Aloisi confronted the
referee, and Vukovic gave the referee a push. During the confrontation, Aloisi was given a
yellow card for back-chat and Vukovic's touch resulted in a straight red.
With the penalty not awarded, extra time was not to be and the Jets' 1-0 lead was to prevail.
Defeated in extra time in the major semi final, the Newcastle side had extracted revenge with
the victory in the game that mattered most.
For the Mariners, defeat was a bitter pill to swallow. Leading the way for most of the season,
the Mariners had qualified for the 2009 Asian Champions League as minor premiers; but as it
was in the first A-League season, the ultimate prize in Australian football was to elude them.
But this was Newcastle's day to remember, and the Jets would continue to celebrate long into
the night. The youngest team in the A-League, and the team spending the least on players,
the Jets had formed a remarkable playing roster to go all the way. Coach Gary Van Egmond,
who took over the club midway through the 2006/08 season when the club was last and
barely 5,000 turned out to his first game, had turned the club around to give the Novacastrians
the highest honour in the Australian game. The season had seen the Jets attract record
crowds, rivalling NRL powerhouse Newcastle Knights; putting football on the map in the
Hunter.
Click here to see Harboursport's photo gallery from the 2008 A-League Grand Final.
Newcastle Jets 1 (M Bridge 64) Central Coast Mariners 0
Yellow Cards : Jets -
J Griffiths 11, A Griffiths 37. Mariners - M Jedinak 12, N Boogaard
90, J Aloisi 90.
Red Cards : Mariners - D Vukovic 90.
Referee - M Shield. Crowd - 36,354 at Sydney Football Stadium.