Glory plan to make good use of bumper grand final crowd
PERTH Glory players say a pumping crowd will more than make up for the loss of their traditional home ground in Sunday's A-League grand final against Sydney FC.
More than 46,000 tickets have already been sold for the match at Optus Stadium, and the crowd figure is set to soar towards the 55,000 mark by game day.
The record for an A-League grand final is 55,436 for Melbourne Victory's crushing 6-0 win over Adelaide United in the 2006-07 decider.
The record for any A-League fixture is the 61,880 set for Sydney's 4-0 win over Western Sydney at ANZ Stadium in October 2016.
Optus Stadium has a capacity of 60,000, but FFA doesn't expect Sunday's grand final to reach that figure and have ruled out installing extra seats at the ground.
Perth have built a formidable record at their home ground of HBF Park this season, winning 11 games, drawing two and losing just two.
But with the venue able to hold just over 20,000 fans, it was a no-brainer for FFA to move the grand final to the $1.6 billion Optus Stadium.
Glory legend Bobby Despotovski blasted FFA's decision, and club owner Tony Sage also expressed concern about his team losing some home ground advantage.
But the players themselves aren't worrying one bit.
"From a player's perspective, the biggest advantage was that we stayed in Perth," Glory defender Jason Davidson said.
"We didn't have to travel. We like playing at home in front of our fans.
"Playing in front of 60-odd thousand Glory fans is going to be something to cherish. And hopefully it will be a great grand final and hopefully a great party on Sunday night."
Glory veteran Dino Djulbic agreed.
"All I can think of is 50 to 60 thousand people being there," Djulbic said.
"For me that's enough. It's good that it's in Perth.
"I thrive when there's so many people there. Even if they're not for us it wouldn't really bother me. For me I'm happy to be playing at Optus."
Glory have already played one match at Optus Stadium - a 1-0 loss to EPL powerhouse Chelsea in July last year.
Perth trained at the venue on Wednesday and coach Tony Popovic said his players were ready to shine.
"There's a lot of bounce in the ground. That's a little bit expected," he said.
"But we got accustomed to it (on Wednesday). We got a feel of the pitch.
"The players now know what to expect, and come Sunday there'll be no surprises."